For Your Viewing Pleasure on a Gender Bender Thursday…

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Thanks, Jim, for sending this link my way: illustrations that kill two birds with one stone, to be perfectly cliche. They continue the conversation about the human labeling gene, particularly regarding gender, and expose my old nemesis, Disney. We have history.

Raising two daughters, I always felt it was me versus Disney. I did not want them to be sold into the slavery of gender typification and message moralizing packages Disney style, so I swore they would not see any Disney movies when they were little. They were to be raised on a steady diet of wholesome, no commercial educational programming that public broadcasting had to offer. And this in the middle of a cul de sac in a Southern California suburban neighborhood. Yeah, right.

When I could no longer sequester them and Mattel as well as Disney princesses kicked the crap out of PBS and Amy Tan’s Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, I had to choose the first Disney video I would play for my nearly three year old. Having long, long ago viewed it, I chose Bambi for the nature theme and the great animation I remembered, not the cheesy fewer-celled productions that later emerged or even the digitalized stuff now.

So, on the appointed day of induction or indoctrination, my little one and I were perched in our favorite viewing receptacles, her in a furry, pink (her choice, yes) toddler-sized soft armchair and me on the psychedelic flower power play room couch, enjoying the lisping Thumper and the adorable Bambi, when that scene emerged. The one that starts out benignly in the field…Bambi…his mother…then the dark figure…

And then I remembered, but just a half second too late. Oh right! The mom gets….BOOM! Shit! My heretofore innocent little blue-eyed, tow headed girl slowly turned to me with the look of shock characteristic of someone who just learned that he was accidentally switched in the hospital at birth and his parents were not really his parents–except worse.

“What happened to the mommy?” She asked at first rather calmly. “What happened to the mommy?! What happened to the mommy???!!!!!” she repeated with increasingly feverish pitch.

Yeah, Disney, you owe me one. That was the day I decided to put a dollar a day in the therapy jar for my kids so that when they were 18 they could go off and pay their therapists for such bad mommy moments. I still blame Disney for the sadism of that movie.

So here’s to you, Disney: undermining the world of Disney for art’s sake.