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Marketing Fail: Princess Tiana for Watermelon Candy

7 Mar

From clutch:

This week’s failure at good common sense in product marketing comes courtesy of a batch of Disney princess-themed Valentine’s day candy that pairs Sleeping Beauty‘s Aurora with vanilla flavored sugary dipping dust and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog with the watermelon flavor.

Wondering why this is a problem? Colorlines and Sociological Images (warning: disturbingly racist imagery) have the scoop for you, far better than any explanation I could try to provide.

Gorgeous Cakes and Marriage Equality: 2011 Disney Wedding Awards

13 Feb

Sometimes a girl needs a little boost on a Monday morning. And I must say I got choked up a bit looking at the nominees for the 2011 Disney Wedding Awards on the Disney Wedding Blog, and seeing a number of same-sex couples among the honorees. It doesn’t feel all that long ago that we were fighting for same-sex couples to have equal access to Disney Fairy Tale Weddings. I especially loved the series of engagement pictures for Joaquin and Ruben (the full set of photos is separate from the voting page).

And of course, I’m thrilled that my BFF’s nominated as well! Lisa and Trace are in the running for Best Wedding Cake, for their Haunted Mansion-themed grooms’ cake.

Gay Characters? Disney Channel Needs a Lesson from Buster Baxter

15 Feb

AfterElton has a fascinating interview with Disney Channel President Gary Marsh, on the topic of gay characters on Disney Channel shows. The topic is introduced by this quote from Marsh, from 2008:

“Well, just to speak sort of in the 30,000-foot level first, we don’t deal with sexuality on the Disney Channel in general. That’s just sort of not where our audience’s head’s at. They’re really a pre-sexual audience, for the most part, and so sexuality is not how we look to tell any kind of stories.”

I’ll echo AfterElton’s sentiment: It’s not meaningful to talk this way about same-sex couples. For example: How is it not sexual for a kid to know he has parents of opposite sexes, but somehow sexual for him to know that some other kid has parents of the same sex? And hey, why isn’t it sexual when Zack and Cody are ogling all those girls?

The article goes on to make it clear that Marsh is okay with characters on the Disney Channel being widely interpreted as gay, but that those characters won’t ever be coming out in any way.

We leave it up to our audience to interpret who these characters are and how they relate to them. It’s great that this child has interpreted [Shake It Up! character] Gunther [as gay] and that it speaks to him in a way that makes sense for his life. And that’s what we’re trying to do — create a diverse cross section of characters on television that kids can have different access points and entry points to connect with.

It’s like the Hays Production Code all over again: You can have gay characters, they just can’t be identified openly. (Of course, Disney’s moved quite a bit forward from Hays, in that gay characters don’t have to die horribly at the end of the story, or suffer in silence — they can go on to Julliard instead.)

I can’t imagine the Disney Channel budging on this issue anytime soon, due to what I’m sure they perceive as market pressure. So, is it better to have coded gay characters like Ryan Evans, who’s widely interpreted as gay but may convey the message that it’s not okay to be out? Or is it better to only have clearly heteronormative characters on kids shows? I’m not satisfied with either option.

When my home state began recognizing same-sex marriage, many people felt that the world would fall apart somehow. But as the years have rolled by, it seems like less and less of a big deal (except, of course, for those whose marriages are now recognized, for whom it is enormously important). If mainstream television networks like the Disney Channel had an openly gay character now and then, perhaps the social order wouldn’t really be rocked for all that long? After all, glee‘s been pretty darn successful (in some part because of a fabulous openly gay character), and many parents already shun Disney Channel for being a bad influence on their kids, and ban it from the living room (just look at these google search results).

Yeah, an openly gay character on the Disney Channel would probably make executives and stockholders a little nervous. But I can’t help but wonder if people were nervous when my grandfather was lobbying for Bill Cosby to be cast in a leading role in I Spy. Sometimes change makes you nervous. Too bad.

And hey, if you’re looking for an example of an excellent (and thoroughly non-sexual) portrayal of lesbians in a children’s television show, this clip from Postcards from Buster is for you:

“Boy, that’s a lot of Moms!”

Wall-E Postcards from Comic-Con

30 Jul

Lounge in Luxury!

Kung-Fu Rodeo has posted scans of great Wall-E promotional postcards, which were distributed by Pixar at San Diego Comic-Con. Another visit to the future that we dreamed about yesterday! (Hat tip to Upcoming Pixar. . . if it’s not in your blogreader, it should be.)

Disney Does the Right Thing, Sort Of, in Racial Profiling Case

28 Jun

From NBC News, an update on the possible racial profiling at Downtown Disney:

Late Thursday, Disney reversed its lifetime ban on the four players and made it a one year ban at Downtown Disney only.

This is of course good news . . . especially for the teenager whose mother is a supervisor at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort (a lifetime ban would have been awkward on Take Your Child to Work Day, wouldn’t it?). But it’s not enough. Nothing I’ve read justifies any ban at all. These kids deserve not only a complete lifting of the ban, but also an explanation and apology.

Just as important, many of us will still be waiting for answers about what exactly has gone wrong recently with security at Downtown Disney, and assurance that the problem has been addressed.

The blogosphere of course has been ablaze over the story. Disney geeks like myself have probably already seen More Thoughts on Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney on The Disney Blog, but may not have seen the Essential Presence blog (great stuff, it’s now in my blogreader), which I highly recommend, especially for those who wonder what all the fuss is about. The author’s commentary on a recent Orlando Sentinel article is spot on.

More Details on Possible Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney

27 Jun

The Orlando Sentinel has more on the story this morning:

Walt Disney World ejected four of Florida State University’s top football prospects from Downtown Disney last weekend under its anti-gang, no-loitering policy.

The four, including the son of a Disney manager and the son of a Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer, were banned for life from Disney World property late Friday.

A Disney spokeswoman said the youths were expelled because they had been loitering for an extended period and refused to leave when Disney security told them to.

Parents of the youths wonder whether there’s another reason: They’re black.

(I’d wondered why my blog was suddenly getting so much traffic today from a web forum for football recruiters . . . I guess I have my answer now.)

Wondering whether there’s really anything wrong with racial profiling? Amnesty International has an excellent report on the topic.

When law enforcement officials focus on what people look like, what religion they follow, or what they wear, it puts us all at risk.

The Daily Show: Disney vs. Anaheim Housing Dispute

22 Jun

Not recommended for Disney purists or the easily offended, it’ll just get yer hackles up. (Though I’m guessing none of those folks read this blog anyway, now do they?)

And hey, don’t watch this one with the kids either, unless you feel like explaining what fellatio is.

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