The other day I got into a convo with a friend of a sibling (my family is very share and share alike with friends, which is awesome) about Disney (follow the link to see some snippets).  It was fun.  I mean, I am absolutely a member of the Disney generation (My first movie memory? Grabbing my dad’s hand at Beauty and the Beast because the Beast frightened me SO MUCH.  My dad’s favorite Disney movie?  The Little Mermaid because it was the first movie his daughters could really sit through and enjoy.), so I kind of love Disney no matter what . . . almost Stockholm-esque love, really.  Because, as you can see, I KNOW they are flawed.  I so know it.  Furthermore, I don’t like it.  I don’t like seeing my friends who bought into that schtick, who are waiting for some Prince Charming or Handsome Stranger or Magical Deus ex Machina to come and save their life from loneliness, boredom, or meaninglessness.  I don’t like that Disney managed to convince practically a whole generation of women that love and life are these kind, sanitized faerie tales that make it all better.  Because we all know faerie tales are creepy and wrong and that’s why we love them.  I don’t like that it took nearly sixty years to have a Princess of Color (and even then, Pocahontas was NOT a thrill).  I don’t like that they sold love as the meaning to life, the universe, and everything (FORTY-TWO!) .  I don’t like a lot about Disney.

But that’s kind of why I love Disney.

Bear with me for a minute.  All will be revealed.

So, as some of you may or may not know, faerie tales and mythology is my chosen field of study.  That’s where I’ve been headed since basically the third or fourth grade.  Seriously, ask my poor beleaguered parents and local library staff.  And, as some of you may or may not have seen my note just above, faerie tales are creepy and wrong.  Sorry, people who bought into the princess hype.  It’s true.  And they’re so much better for it!

So why do I love sanitized Disney?

Because it’s reflective.  Yeah, it’s racist and misogynist and riddled with inaccuracies and pro-colonial and anthropomorphic and pretty much any accusation you want to lay at their feet.  It’s true.  And it’s true of us.  And it’s true of our faerie tales and folklore and mythologies, even if Disney did do it’s best to ruin them.  I apologize if I offended anyone with that last assertion or this coming one, but we are no better than Disney.  We like to think we are, but we aren’t.  We are why Disney is all those things because we are the market they cater, very specifically, to.  We pretend it’s because Disney is run by persons who are a, b, c, or d.  We pretend that Disney is hopelessly backward.  We pretend we are not the reason Disney has been so successful.  But we are just pretending.  The culture Disney serves is as broken as the company.

But you know what’s wonderful about that sad fact?

WE ARE GETTING BETTER.  And so is Disney.

It’s taking more time than it should.  It’s taking decades and generations and major paradigm shifts to something that should have been blatantly obvious in the first place.  But we, as a populace, and they, as a company, are improving.  They are reflecting our improvement.

It gives me hope.  It allows me to see dreams slowly come true.

Isn’t that kind of what Disney was all about in the first place?

So yeah.  I love Disney.  And I think the more of us who are willing to encourage Disney to be better, whether it’s from the advocate or antagonist’s side, the more we’ll see true and reflective improvement.  We’ll see that acceptance and wonder that Disney’s words, if not images, preached.  We’ll be the reason Disney changes, grows, and teaches good things.

Go us.  We’re the ones that make the Magical Kingdom truly magic.

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