TDC #12: Feminist Disney Guys

In this episode, we discuss our favorite and least favorite male Disney characters from a feminist perspective. We also chat about a well-traveled Ewok, over lunch at Le Cellier.

Download the episode here, or subscribe using RSS or iTunes

Last week we referenced Ted Nugent…this week, we may well have just become the first Disney podcast to reference The Second Shift!


18 thoughts on “TDC #12: Feminist Disney Guys

  1. Being ordered to write in, I am *wink*

    I have to say that your first podcast on this topic a month or so ago, I didn’t agree with alot of your thoughts on the Heronies. But this topic today, I had alot more thoughts and opinions, not sure why.

    When you mentioned the Yeti being a male, I at first went “Well yeah” that makes sense, but then the Wiccan spiritual and Myth and Symbolism teacher side of me stepped in and hit me with a 2×4.

    I think that most people automatically assume the Yeti is male because it is a big, hairy, beast of a creature. It is strong and destructive. But is it really destructive? No. The Yeti is the protector of Nature and the Gaurdian of the Mountain that is aggressive in its role to stop mankind wasteful expansion into the sacred areas of the planet. In most archetypes of Myth and Symbolism – the role of a Gaurdian and a Protector are usually male (but not always), as to gaurd and to protect are seen as active roles and the active is seen as “male”, in a duality concept.

    Nature, Moutains (Earth), and even the Sacred (or Spiritual in most cultures) are all female symbols.

    So with that in mind, why couldn’t the Yeti be female? I think that it can. If we look at the Yeti in a purely symbolic fashion. She is the representative of Nature, and if she views the Forbidden Mountain as Sacred or and something precious to be protected. What would be the powerful thing ever to face on this earth? That would be the Power and strength of a mother protecting her child, from danger.

  2. As for the Princes (Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty). I would tend to agree with you that they are blah. Well more to the point they are in my opinion nothing more than arm candy for the Princesses. I would like to see them have a larger role in the parks and even some more personality but to defend them here, they do have their own personalites when you dive deeper.

    The Prince from Snow White is really just a plot point to get things moving and really just had to be set up at the beginning (the song I’m Wishing) to establish that there is “true love” there between the two, so that at the end it was just some random Prince that came to wake her up and claim her as his.

    Prince Charming from Cinderella. Now here is a bit of a difference. This Prince was a playboy, he had no desire to settle down and get married, despite the meddling and pleading of this father the King to do so. At the ball he was bored and was just trying to get through this Royal Duties so he could go off hunting, and doing whatever Princes do, until Cinderella arrived. A woman who through magic became the most enchanting and bewitching woman at the ball. This bewitching caught Prince Charmings eye and he was hooked. The point could be made that the Fairy Godmother only brought out Cinderella’s inner beauty and gave her a fair playing field with the other nobles, but I think the same point could be made that it was indirect magic (a glamour) that ensnared Prince Charming, into doing something that he didn’t really want to do. Not really a fan of that last point, as I think “Love at First Sight” is more magical, but still a point to ponder.

    Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty, here is the first Princely Hero. Until now all the others have been reaction. Philip is action. We first see Philip as a boy who is told that he will be forced to marry a newborn child. The look on his face says it all. Ew. Next we see him as a handsome grown up man. He is returning to the castle to do his duty and wed the princess, but along the way he meets a young maiden in the forest and falls in love with her. He is willing to defy his father the King, and his royal duties to be with the forest girl instead of a going through with a forced marriage. Then he finds out that the Princess and the Forest girl are one and the same and that she is in danger, so he become the Gaurdian and Protector that is his noble role as a Prince, and takes on the mantle of the Hero in the story. He battles with Maleficent (especially in Dragon form) and with the classic help from the Mentor (the Three fairies) comes to save the day.

  3. Ken, dude, you are so totally blowing my mind!

    Your analysis on the Princes is interesting for sure; I’ll have to think more on this (and I’m sure Lisa and I will discuss on an upcoming show).

    And man, I love your image of the Yeti as protective earth mother. Cause y’know, anybody who believes females are weak and frail might want to ponder the fate of those who stand between a mother bear and her cubs.

  4. Don’t forget the old saying from mothers “I brought you in this world and I can take you out” πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Those Darn Feminist Cats « Broke Hoedown

  6. omg – how i love ken! what great comments – thank you so much! makes me want a do-over! i dissed those princes based on their mainstream good looks and weird affection for cape like attire….

    i still say the yeti is a guy, or it would be yeta. not to be confused with yenta. but i totally agree with the whole woman as protector – think of the lioness!

    the other thing i immediately commented to jennifer about upon hearing the completed podcast, was how, in the flow of the conversation, we really went off on an family/child centric definition or example of feminism – with which i totally agree – but, as a single and childless by shoice woman, there are a gazillion ways in which feminism is expressed through NOT having children or taking a village to do so. but thats fodder for another discussion…

    jenn, your dproduction values are wonderful and my apologies to all for my continued popping! working on a different mic set up on this end. although i must say that it is jennifers computer keys (i think) you can here googling in the background in just about every show… πŸ™‚

  7. OK, IMHO I think sometimes people take a simple thing and analyze it so much that it takes the fun out of life. Animated movies are cartons and are meant to be fun! Yes some do have a message they want to share with everyone. Usually I watch the movies, decide if I like them or not and go from there. Life is much simpler that way!

  8. RichO, I admire your ability to shut off the analytical mind! For me though, for some reason it’s *way* more fun to go ahead and indulge my left brain, delve into what I perceive as the deeper meanings (regardless of artist intent).

    Lisa, I do agree that we incorporated a family/child-centric perception of feminism, but I’m not sure that’s the only one we considered…it seems to me that sexual harassment and gender subversion are not just family issues (thinking here of my comments about Mickey Mouse and WALL-E). I’d love to hear more about how you perceive feminist men, coming from a single/childfree point of view!

  9. Well, I wish I had something meaningful to add to this discussion, but the topic of feminism (with respect to analysis) is just not an area I feel confident in. But I do appreciate and enjoy hearing these perspectives; I agree that on the one hand yes, these are just “cartoons” meant to entertain. But on the other hand, I enjoy looking at films and other forms of entertainment from an analytical POV (especially in terms of narrative and myth), because I learn about our culture, how culture influences art and vice versa, in subtle ways that I may not have realized otherwise. In this way, I learn more about myself and the world around me. I think especially in terms of historical perspective, analyzing film (and Disney animation in particular) you can really begin to understand the mood of the period in which a film was released, and how it may have influenced people during that period. I’m about 2/3 through Gabler’s biography of Disney, and I find it fascinating how important Mickey Mouse and films like the Three Little Pigs were in the depression era, how symbolic those characters were (sorry, I’m way off the topic of feminism so I’ll stop).

    Good show, gals!

    BTW, I find it amusing that the theme song for the “Cats” is a song about a “Mouse”!

  10. Hi Jen and Lisa. It was great to meet you at Magic Meets! I was the woman so thrilled to show you the pictures of my evacuation from Spaceship Earth. I watched “Plane Crazy” on youtube after listening to your latest podcast. I completely agree….Mickey was like Chester the Molester. How frightening for Minnie! So much so that she had to jump from the plane! Keep up the great work on the podcast!

  11. Just watched Sleeping Beauty again last night while sorting laundry. And it got me thinking in a rather jokenly fashion. I don’t know what you women are complaining about…..

    Sleeping Beauty just got to lay there having a nap while the man was out there doing all the hard work escaping from dungeons, fighting evil faires and her minions, dodging arrows, jumping gorges, hacking through razor sharp magical thorns, fighting dragons, and having to climb all those steps…all while she gets to lay on her back taking a nap

    *again just kidding*

    But I do wonder how he found time to change clothes and where did they come from between the time he kissed her and bringing her downstairs. And if he changed infront of her… Shades of Anne Rice’s Sleepy beauty series.

  12. Ken, the more you talk about Sleeping Beauty the more I realize I haven’t given that prince a fair shake. Sure, I prefer movies where the women have *slightly* more agency, but he’s definitely not milquetoast.

    And clearly his ability to make rapid wardrobe changes rivals that even of our dear Lisa!

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