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Those Darn Feminist Cats

30 Jul

Have you ever heard discussion of The Second Shift on a Disney podcast? No? Well then, Lisa and I may have been the first podcasters in Disney Fan History to reference that book on the air. This week, we discuss our favorite (and least favorite) male Disney characters, from a feminist perspective. We also are a tiny bit demanding about getting some listener feedback this time…and my buddy Ken in Atlanta has started off the conversation with some thought-provoking comments on our blog.

Last week’s show was kinda fun too…Geoff Carter of Your Souvenir Guide was kind enough to join us for a discussion of Disney’s California Adventure. That man is a hoot.

And hey, this is as good a time as ever to remind everybody that Those Darn Cats is not necessarily a family-friendly podcast. Sure, sometimes it is…but sometimes it’s not. Consider it rated PG-13, just like Broke Hoedown.

Let’s Hear from the Disney Fangirls!

25 May

How very kind of Mr. Matt “Outstanding” Hochberg to provide me with a little soap box over at StudiosCentral! I must say I like to step up on it from time to time, and have done so this week with a little ditty about the need for more women’s voices in the Disney Digerati. A brief snippet:

I’m not sure what exactly would be different if we were hearing more from the babes. After all, women aren’t exactly a monolithic group . . . we’re quite heterogeneous in fact, and hail from all sorts of different backgrounds, and points of view. Gender is just one of many factors that influence the way every person sees the world, and any individual person’s perspective includes a mash-up of influences. As each of us view the world, the way we see it will be influenced by all these factors, and each of us is able to see certain bits and pieces hidden to others. I do believe there are things that we as a community can’t see as clearly if some influences aren’t heard as clearly as others.

In response, I got a nice email from a reader who encouraged me to think about the notion that women tend to have more diverse sets of interests (and therefore may not tunnel down specifically into just one area of expertise), which in turn made me think about the buzz over women’s non-linear career paths. I do believe the research bears out on this one (though right now I’m too lazy to do the literature review) . . . women do tend to make more lateral career moves than men do, and oftentimes also have a long absence from the workforce due to child-rearing responsibilities, which has tons of repercussions when they return.

And what does all this have to do with the Disney fan world? Well, echoing my Jentasmic column above, none of us live in a vacuum. It’s not like we leave the rest of the world behind when we talk about Disney, or when we walk under that railroad station on our way to Main Street USA (as much as it may feel like we do!). The world (including our Disney fan world) is a richer place because we are not all the same person.

Most and Least Favorite Disney Heroines, From a Feminist Perspective

10 Mar

I cannot remember a time that I didn’t identify as a feminist. Now, mind you, I grew up in the 1970s in Marin County, California, an epicenter of cultural revolution. I was raised on Free to Be You and Me, didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t join the co-ed youth soccer league (which was inexplicably almost exclusively male), and fought back hard when, after moving to New England at 14, my guidance counselor told me that I shouldn’t take electric shop class (a choice which seemed to transcend both gender and class barriers).

The word “feminist” hadn’t yet been so strongly stigmatized, or at least not in the corners where I ran. We believed in equal pay for equal work. That girls could play baseball, that boys could learn to bake. Nobody told me I couldn’t play with Hot Wheels. All these things feel rather ordinary . . . but in retrospect, it was revolutionary.

So of course it’s only natural that when I look at the world, Disney and otherwise, I experience it all through feminist-colored glasses. And as it turns out, Disney heroines (including but not limited to princesses) are a rather fertile ground for discussion. In a couple recent MouseGuest weekly podcasts, my BFF Lisa, my 11-year-old son the Wachamacallit, and I discuss our most and least favorite Disney heroines, from a feminist perspective. We don’t always agree, by any means! But I think some of our comments might be surprising, and hopefully thought-provoking.

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