I’m not a Disney fan. A good portion of you already knows this about me. I don’t feature their Animated Canon on here or a lot of the live-action stuff (remakes and original screenplays) on Iridium Eye. Of my 4 years of being on this part of WordPress, I have only reviewed 2 movies that Mickey Mouse owns and that’s only by technicality. In case you’re wondering, they are Birth of a Nation (2016) since Fox Searchlight distributed it and Disney bought out 20th Century Fox and Benda Bilili! because they have the distribution rights to the National Geographic video library (why do you think NatGeo’s stuff is on Disney+?). Yes, my mind got discombobulated knowing the fact that the House that Walt built has the rights to a movie based on the Nat Turner Rebellion and a Congolese music documentary respectively. Life is stupid like that.
If you do like Disney, then I’m certainly not going to stop you. With that being said, I’ve noticed how the company and the fandom get away with things that no one else does. When I see other companies or other fandoms do the same thing or less, they get bashed, mocked, or more recently canceled. I wouldn’t put the Disney fandom on the same untouchable bully-proof pedestal as let’s say sports fans, sneakerheads, or even auto fanatics, but I don’t see them getting made fun of for their interests. How is it that I can wear a t-shirt involving an anime character or an obscure movie reference and I get insulted, but people older than me including those old enough to be my parents can rock some Mickey Mouse memorabilia or other random Disney characters on a shirt, hat, or jacket, yet NOBODY says anything about it? Real talk, I was actually made fun of by multiple people for saying I DIDN’T like Disney which is so bizarre and lowkey abusive. Don’t even get me started about the toxic positivity against me or how people thought I was crazy for not liking multiple movies let alone the company itself. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of some bloggers on here, people I know offline, or even other random people for being Disney fans. You’ve got musicians such as Jonathan Young doing metal covers of Disney songs in addition to other types of music, but he never gets trolled for liking the former. There are even indie pro wrestlers such as Alexxis Falcon who talks about Disney a lot on Twitter as well as incorporating references in her wrestling character with some of her outfits or having moves like the Sleeping Beauty kick or the Poison Apple, and she doesn’t strike me as someone who was bullied for liking Disney stuff. I’m not dissing those examples as both are talented at what they do, but I’ve been made fun of for talking about certain subjects less than them online or probably offline. I seriously swear there’s this “Mickey Mouse Uber Alles” sort of attitude where that company and their IPs can supposedly do no wrong in the fan’s eyes and I’m sickened by that mindset.
For this list in my first ever Alternate Disney August on Iridium Eye, I’m talking about examples I’ve noticed that the Disney company seems to get a free pass for as well as the fans who defend or deny some things associated with Walt’s company. Let me make a few notes about this.
-My emphasis will be on the Disney Animated Canon, but I will mention Pixar and some of the Disney cartoons outside of the Canon if it applies.
-I am very passionate about this subject and I’m not going to name specific people to whom certain examples apply. It’s not anyone I follow or follow me.
-Some aspects will invoke my nerd rage mode. You’ve been warned.
Without further ado, let’s talk about these double standards associated with the House of Mouse or a good portion of the fanbase. Turn away right now if you don’t feel comfortable. If people are allowed to criticize other interests including the ones I like, then I’m allowed to criticize the Disney organization and how some fans act. Judge not lest you be judged. I’ve been judged by this fandom, so it’s my time to return the favor. This judgment isn’t about the ones who are aware of these issues, but for the ones who are in constant denial and insecure in their sycophancy.
7: The notion that what they’re watching isn’t “kid’s stuff” even if it’s aimed at children as a primary demographic
This example really annoys me and there’s a reason why I have an image from Phineas and Ferb to prove a point. I know some people in college who admitted to watching the show including an ex-friend who is a year older than me. He complained on Facebook that this Disney Channel cartoon was listed in the “kid’s” section on Netflix. This is also the same person who gave me crap for liking La Dispute if anyone remembers that story from one of my previous Top 7 lists. He has NEVER been made fun of for liking that show. It’s one thing if you’re a parent, grandparent, or some kind of older relative watching with your own children or younger relatives. But for adults to watch and be fans of this stuff without any irony or satire while still being taken seriously as people is mind-numbing to me. Some of these people watch the stuff not just on Disney Channel or Disney XD, but Disney Junior which really makes me facepalm. As someone who likes anime, I’m sick of some people who think it’s all Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! when most of the anime I actively watch is more mature than that and I don’t even bother with hentai. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy some animated works that are family-friendly as well, but sometimes I don’t want to bring it up unless people think what I like is “childish” because it’s not Disney. These same fans don’t get crapped on for liking these shows or movies. Maybe I should try insulting them to give them a taste of their medicine or some pre-emptive self-defense? This ticks me off with whoever considers something only for children, but never does the same for Disney works. These people are out of their godforsaken minds. SMH.
6: Sexism issues in some of their movies
I ranked this very low since if there’s one thing Disney has improved on is female characterization, especially over the past decade. With that said, things get VERY cringey as an adult watches older Disney movies, particularly with the ones that involve the Princess Breakfast Club that I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts. You have several damsels in distress who are so co-dependent that they’re almost childish in hindsight. They ALWAYS need a prince or at the very least a man to help them out with everything. With Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as well as Sleeping Beauty, both princesses get unconscious and a prince’s kiss is able to revive them from their state. Dudes, you do know that counts as sexual assault if you do that, right? Ariel from The Little Mermaid may have agency in her story, but she still begs Eric to save her. Besides the obvious princess issues, there are other low-key examples such as how a lot of the female villains who have positions of power such as Cruella De Vil, Madame Medusa, or Yzma to name a few are all single women and a woman without a man to guide her around with a position of leadership is shown as a bad thing. It does annoy me when the same Disney fans who call other female characters weak or co-dependent seem to turn a blind eye to a lot of characters in the Disney Animated Canon. Like I said, I don’t think it’s as bad of an issue as it was since the 90s for example, but all of that is still part of the annals of animation history and more dated than the animation quality at the time.
5: Tie between a Glut of Adaptations and Plagiarism
I had a really hard time thinking about where I should put these factors on my list, so I thought it would be good to give them a tie for this particular occasion. This could be bias and personal tastes, but originality isn’t Disney’s strong point at all, especially with their Disney Animated Canon. Ask yourself this question. How many full-length movies in the Animated Canon AREN’T based on pre-existing stories? Think about it. At the time of this review (I’m not counting Encanto because it’s not out yet), there have been a whopping total of EIGHT original screenplays or nine if you count Ralph Breaks the Internet if you put sequels on there. The first original screenplay that Disney ever made in the canon is Dinosaur back in the year 2000. No, The Lion King doesn’t freaking count and I’m not talking about that “Hamlet with lions” fallacy that fans cling on to. Strangely enough, Disney has made more original screenplays with their cartoons than they have with their movies such as Pepper Ann, Recess, Gravity Falls, etc. Don’t even get me started about the whole remake issue that’s been happening for years. Sure, I have no issue with Disney or anyone making an adaptation of a public domain work or buying the rights to a story on principle, but the thing is they are far too reliant on other people’s stories instead of making their own. If they were so innovative, then why piggyback on fairytales or other books all the time?
Now, some of you are surprised that I didn’t rank the plagiarism issue much higher. Part of me is beating a dead horse given my very strong stance on that issue. Disney fans seem to move the goalposts when it comes to what counts as plagiarism or ripping things off even if the House of Mouse loses a case or the similarities are just so obvious. Just because the plots aren’t 100% identical doesn’t mean there isn’t any infringement going on like how Nosferatu did in regards to Bram Stoker’s Dracula story. The same people who call Anastasia a Disney ripoff are the same people who deny the similarities between Nadia: Secret of Blue Water and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Anyone who bashes Izamura from Patema Inverted for being an anime knock-off of Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (they’re not wrong), but their favorite Disney villain is that shameless and blatant clone of Claw from Kimba the White Lion named Scar, then they’re filthy hypocrites! Oh, let’s not forget that Disney plagiarized The Snowman when they made the Frozen teaser trailer with Sven and Olaf or how “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is a plagiarized song of “Mbube” and actually got sued in South Africa for screwing over Solomon Linda’s family as documented in The Lion’s Share. Don’t even use the argument of Shark Tale plagiarizing Finding Nemo by using that “Nemo came first and that Dreamworks movie stole from it since it has the same kind of animals in the movie” reasoning despite not even remotely having the same story let alone plot points. It’s beyond hypocritical to use that logic when that same reasoning is used by Disney fans when they argue that a certain Disney movie DIDN’T steal things from a very certain old-school anime series. I guess stealing things is okay when you’re Mickey Mouse, but not anyone else in the eyes of those fans.
4: No one admitting that Disney has sexualized characters
Pole dancing in a G-rated movie? Wow, that’s totally appropriate for kids, right? Yeah, I refuse to believe that The Hunchback of Notre Dame was only rated G and I’m not just talking about that particular scene that you see. I get annoyed when Disney fans bash other animated works (mostly anime) for having sexualized characters or elements to them. I’m not just talking about hentai which is totally fine to criticize in that regard, but I mean things that could be aimed at teenage audiences or younger. Before these same people assume that every anime heroine is automatically dressed like a Sailor Senshi, let’s talk about the characters that Disney owns besides Jessica Rabbit (an obvious choice, let’s be honest) or the aforementioned Esmeralda. What about Jasmine from Aladdin? Most of the time she’s in some midriff-baring getup whether she’s in the palace or when she gets kidnapped by Jafar and pretends to seduce that villain. That’s TOTALLY not fanservice-bait, yeah? What about Ariel from The Little Mermaid who wears a seashell bra during half the movie or how she doesn’t have any bottoms on when she first gets legs even though the animators censor it. Are you also going to ignore the fact she’s only 16 in that movie? Keep in mind that she’s only a year older than Orihime from Bleach pre-time skip and the same age as Haruhi Suzumiya for crying out loud. Don’t even get me started about creepy fans thinking Elastigirl from The Incredibles is a hot action mom or even calling her “thicc”. I wish I was making that up. I know this is a repeat from my Mickey Mouse Monopoly review, but it was noted in that documentary where you have multiple female characters trying to flaunt it for their male counterparts or just wanting to be saved. This is a blatant double standard. I even watch anime that has more mature content there where the female characters don’t do this crap and even dress far less provocatively than some of the examples I mentioned. Shoot, when you have anime like Haibane Renmei, Millennium Actress, or even several Ghibli movies for example having far less sexual content or fanservice than a Disney movie, that says more about them than it does about Japanese animation. Of course, that’s just talking about human characters which segues into the next spot on my list that will involve a very uncomfortable truth…
3: The “Furry Issue”
If you want to criticize characters such as Rouge the Bat of Sonic the Hedgehog fame, Krystal from the StarFox games, or Lola Bunny’s debut design in Space Jam to name a few for being furry fuel, then go right ahead since those characters deserve it. But why do Disney fans avoid being called furries when they watch movies and shows filled with anthropomorphic characters? Why do these characters avoid that stigma? For those that don’t recognize the screenshot, that’s from The Great Mouse Detective during the “Let Me Be Good to You” musical segment. Watch that scene and I dare you to tell me that’s not a fracking burlesque show with the mice women stripping down to skimpy outfits in front of very randy bar patrons. This was ALSO rated G, by the way! It doesn’t end there. Just look at other characters like Mirage from the Aladdin TV series or the gazelle from Zootopia and tell me why those characters don’t get the same labels as the other non-Disney counterparts. I’m even disturbed by the fact that you even have fangirls of characters such as Robin Hood (yes, the fox version) or Scar for some inexplicable reasons. This is just bogus how the Disney fandom doesn’t get the stigma for this media. I could go on with how certain characters get fetishized or how some of the shows must have been made by creators with ulterior motives about character designs (I have my theories about what the creators were thinking with some of the main protagonists and some reptile characters featured in Quack Pack that I don’t want to mention here). While I’m not against shows or movies with anthropomorphic characters, I feel as though Disney has their fair share of questionable material despite not being called out for having furry bait in some of their media.
I’m also giving in to using this particular meme involving the Doges out there, but some people in the Disney fandom need to go to horny jail when it comes to animal characters. Wow, I can’t believe I actually used that joke.
2: Inconsistency in dealing with racism and racially coded characters
I REALLY have to go in on Disney and some of their fans for this issue. Yes, some of you already know why I picked the hyenas for this entry which I’ll get to later. Disney is very inconsistent when it comes to dealing with racial issues. As I’ve said before in my Mickey Mouse Monopoly and some of my other posts, Disney has actually been good with portraying the Polynesian community and has improved in positively portraying the Asian community in contrast to racist depictions like the WWII propaganda cartoons or anything involving a Siamese cat (Lady & the Tramp, Aristocats, and Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers). I can’t say the same for other ethnic groups and I can definitely see that with how the Black community is depicted. Some people would argue with me about them making some more Black characters like Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (saying nothing about the severe downplaying of 1920s race relations in the South) or having more Black cast members in some animated films or some of the remakes, but some of them are the same ones who were on that #NotMyAriel bandwagon when Halle Bailey was cast as the live-action Ariel in the upcoming Little Mermaid remake. Even Disney got backlash when they tried to trademark Dia de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead around the time Coco came out and got massive pressure enough for them not to do so (as they should’ve gotten that smoke). It is a double standard and it’s like those same people saying that certain ethnic groups should “be thankful” for getting such a movie or series. I get so infuriated that I just laugh at people who claim that Disney is being woke or racially progressive out of pure acidic contempt. Sure, Disney will own up to some characters as being racist like the crows in Dumbo, the Native Americans in Peter Pan, that one African character in one of the segments in The Reluctant Dragon, etc. Okay. They put content warnings about racism on a bunch of their older movies on Disney+ around the time of the George Floyd protests last year. That’s all well and good, but what about owning up to Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed’s stereotypical Black and Latinx racial coding? How about that company not backing away from trademarking the phrase “Hakuna Matata” like how they got the backlash or even trying to trademark the Day of the Dead holiday name? Shoot, what about the depiction of Tito from Oliver & Company? Do you think King Louie from The Jungle Book wasn’t at least a LITTLE bit problematic? The company’s silence is deafening. Take responsibility for this and other issues. Try using that “But James Earl Jones…” excuse with The Lion King and see how quickly your argument will crumble against me. I know some Lion King fans may be triggered and those who discovered a certain Canadian might try to argue about some Africans with how they’re portrayed in the Kimba manga or Susume, Leo. Those were offensive, but at least Tezuka Productions apologized and stopped doing that crap for their later projects. This rampant denial from Disney and even a good portion of their fans of how the hyenas play up bigoted undertones makes them even more racist if you really think about it. To those of you that fit the description: Quit your activism of convenience since you don’t want to admit how racist the hyenas were or god forbid have the thought that Black and brown people are all like them and deserve to get the elephant graveyard treatment. Real talk, I even saw a review of that 90s Disney movie arguing why the hyenas aren’t racist despite making a joke that the hyenas were “lowering the property values [of the Pride Lands]”. Geez, dog whistles much? That’s a bigoted excuse to say. I’m no sycophant when it comes to the things I like and I will call out things when I see them like how I did with Ghost In the Shell: The New Movie because of a very problematic acronym I saw in the opening credits. If you want to bash other fandoms for different things (in this case, racism), but won’t do it for your own even with the evidence there, then you are COWARDS! Quit moving the goalposts or playing dumb on this issue.
1: Rampant commercialization
Disney fans, I have to keep it real with you. I better not hear any complaints about calling anything a commercial when you like Disney movies or TV shows. Just look at the various theme parks and The Disney Store. I rest my case. You don’t even have to go to anything owned by that company. Just go to any random department store, toy store, or even a comic book shop and you will find merch and memorabilia marketed to all ages whether they are clothes, books, and especially those Funko Pop Vinyls that you adore. Come on. I’m not THAT nerdy since I only own two Funko Pops even though I have different collections in regards to film for example. These same people should shut the front door when they complain about Dreamworks doing this or saying some anime shows are just commercials in disguise. You really can’t talk when your fandom has multi-million and even billion-dollar making movies with a plethora of merchandise. Do you really think those movies are about art and animation? Puh-leeze. Even some of the movies that came out during my childhood can feel like low-key toy commercials in hindsight. I certainly remember a lot of those characters getting forced down everyone’s throats with Happy Meals, a plethora of toys, or so many commercials during my Saturday morning cartoons. Let’s not pretend they’re some artsy company even in the context of mainstream animation. There’s also complacency with them rehashing their Animated Canon and not putting that much effort into doing other things. I better not hear any Disney fan complaining about me buying memorabilia from a movie, anime series I like, or other interests I have which is stupid on their part. Do you really think they care about quality besides having good production in their filmography? You’re delusional. What do I know? You’ll still buy their stuff anyway.
Those are some Disney Double Standards that came to my mind. Any other examples you can think of?
All photos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.
Mickey Mouse is property of The Walt Disney Company. The parody image is from Pinterest.
Phineas and Ferb is property of The Walt Disney Company. The screenshot is from IndieWire and is property of The Walt Disney Company.
Aurora and Phillip are from Sleeping Beauty and is property of the Walt Disney Corporation. The image is from YourTango and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.
The Princess and the Frog, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Mulan, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast are property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The collage is from Pinterest and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water and is property of Gainax and Sentai Filmworks. Atlantis: The Lost Empire is property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The screenshots are from The Review Heap and are property of Gainax, Sentai Filmworks, and The Walt Disney Corporation respectively.
Esmeralda is from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The GIF is from Disney OK Blogspot and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.
The Great Mouse Detective is property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The cel is from Howard Lowery Auctions and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are from The Lion King and are property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The screenshot is from Pinterest and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.
Scrooge McDuck is from DuckTales and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation. The screenshot is from The Main Street Mouse and is property of The Walt Disney Corporation.