When I was little, a relative I’d never met used to send us BHS vouchers every Christmas, which our parents exchanged for cash and then used to buy socks. My sister & I developed a tradition of buying Disney videos with this money – not the movies, we bought Chip & Dale and Ducktales. I loved Chip & Dale!
But in recent years, Disney’s popularity has skyrocketed! When I was a kid, it was a kid’s thing. You didn’t have teenagers starry-eyed over it or adults clamouring to go to the Disney Store or collecting DVDs (or videos). I guess what I mean is that people liked Disney but there was no mania about it.
I like it well enough. I’ve seen Tangled and Brave and Frozen. I have the Frozen soundtrack in my car. But the point at which I realised quite what an international obsession it is came when we tried to put yet another Disney-themed evening on our programme at Guides. That was when I started to question why we’re helping to promote Disney, why it’s ok to idolise this particular multinational conglomerate and why we want our Guides to spend so much time identifying their songs in endless quizzes.
It would be weird to have a Sony-themed quiz, a Paramount-themed camp or to welcome potent new members with a 21st Century Fox-themed evening. Why is it completely normal with Disney?
My problem is not Disney itself. It’s cute and it’s trying to move its themes into this century. My problem is its ubiquitousness – that XY chromosome owners are seemingly expected to be slavishly devoted to it from the moment they’re old enough to be conscious of the world around them until they die, surrounded by a sea of pink and DVDs with a specific corporate logo on them all. Why? And why do we go along with it? Do we all secretly want to beautiful princesses marrying perfect princes after all? Is it an escape into a perfect beautiful world where giving birth means you’re now on a short countdown to your inevitable death? Is it a love of sanitised fairytales? I don’t really understand and it kind of makes me feel left out.
In the meantime, I’ll be over here with my newly-ordered Chip & Dale DVDs.