If I had Children, they Wouldn't Know the name, Disney
What do broken shoes, 16.6 million tons of emissions, a strict dress code, objectification of women, and deadly alligators have in common? These are reminders of why I dislike Walt Disney. I'm not obsessed with disliking him or his brand, and I don't get mad at others for supporting Disney. I simply realized that every ten years, his name comes up and I recall why I don't like him. I recently learned that he's more of a polarizing person than I thought. People either love him or hate him and do so for different reasons.
My first experience with Walt Disney was at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. I'm guessing it was 1983 ish when I was 14. I had a great time, but the memory that sticks out to me was an incident most friends don't believe actually happened. I visited the theme park with several dozen overprivileged young girls. One of these lame girls must have decided it would be fun to repeatedly stomp on a mascot's tail. As would be the case for much of my life, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when this occuurred. The creature believed I was the tail-stomper and punched me in the arm. Despite several pounds worth of fleecy paw-covering between its hand and my forearm, it hurt.
Ten years later, I would have another distasteful Disney experience. It happened while volunteering at a hardcore animal rights shelter called Farm Sanctuary. They still exist today, educating people on veganism and rescuing farm animals in upstate New York. The sanctuary was made up of very progressive individuals, unlike any other people I had met before. They were vegan before anyone knew how to spell it and were responsible for the first legislation regarding factory farming.
Once while wearing my Mickey Mouse shirt, the same one purchased years prior, my friend Rob scowled at Mickey's face and then mine. I couldn't imagine how a friendly mouse with a wide grin and charming yellow shoes could offend anyone. Rob then explained that Walt Disney was singularly responsible for wasting a staggering amount of land and displacing people and animals while doing so. This short conversation left a lasting impact on me. Rob was way ahead of his time, seeing as Disney's environmental footprint was likely not close to where it is today. The only data I could find suggested their emissions are 16.6 million tons, which are the equivalent of the annual emissions made by 3.6 million passenger vehicles. This would take nearly 300 million tree saplings growing for ten years to offset this. Disclaimer: I'm unsure if these numbers are for all Disney's collectively.
Recently I watched an episode of Google Zeitgeist guest Alain de Botton on "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" and learned about the seventies German philosopher Theodor Adorno. I don't even have a significant other and I'm already worried that he will be the wrong person. This could be why I'm clinically depressed. Adorno considered
Walt Disney, "the most dangerous American of all time." He studied the working class and unlike Rob, disliked Walt Disney not because he wasted land, but because he wasted people's time.
Adorno believed the working class should spend their free time figuring out how they could improve themselves. He resented Walt Disney for creating an empire that relied solely on recreation. If Adorno were a woman he would have realized that entertainment and self-improvement aren't mutually exclusive. I can be having lunch at the Country Bear Jamboree whilst thinking about my last therapy appointment.
TikTokers and YouTubers love Walt Disney because they have recently found a way to create content for their social media and get free merch while doing it. Disney has been fighting an epidemic of women wearing clothing considered inappropriate to wear in the happiest place on earth. Offenders are told to leave the property or they are given a new Disney shirt to wear for the remainder of their stay.
It didn't take long for opportunists to learn they could get a free tee-shirt by showing less skin than the average bathing suit reveals. When Disney employers learned their being used for social media fluff they quickly changed their policy. Instead of free merch, Disney dress code offenders are now told to leave the premises or buy a shirt. I believe the reason for having a strict dress code at Disney has nothing to do with Mickey Mouse being sexist. Instead, it becomes a safety concern when women wear shirts with spaghetti straps.
My dislike for Walt Disney can be blamed for his creating what is called Disney Princess Culture. Brigham Young University family life professor Sarah M. Coyne conducted a study that revealed young male and female children are more apt to believe in gender stereotypes when subjected to Disney movies and toys. My distaste for Disney films has nothing to do with gender roles. Ms. Coyne said it best "Disney Princesses represent some of the first examples of exposure to the thin ideal. As women, we get it our whole lives, and it really does start at the Disney Princess level, at age three and four."
Disney hasn't helped women either by giving the world's worst dating advice. If a single women in her fifites cries in dispair, a fairy grandmother won't appear. Unless I'm lighting my farts on fire in a viral video, no one will materialize because I'm shedding a tear. Likewise, if I can't even get a Uber to show up, there's no chance in hell a carriage with mice-horses or rat-coachman will. If I can't find a normal man in thirty years of dating, I think I can rule out the possibility that kissing a frog will do anything other than making me violently ill.
There's nothing funny about this next example of Disney's irresponsibility and I considered not including it. However, it's an example of how a company's determination to rule the world can be deadly. Lane Graves was a 2-year-old boy killed at Disney's Grand Floridian resort when an alligator pulled him under the water by a lagoon on June 14, 2016. Two months after his death, Disney intern Shannon Sullivan told a Floridian newspaper about posted signs that reminded employees of the appropriate response to give guests who inquire about alligator attacks. The response to guests worried about recent attacks was “None that we know of, but if we see one, we will call Pest Management to have it removed.”
The fact that I haven't been to a Disney theme park since I was 14 has more to do with economics than my morals. However, after the avoidable death of Lane Graves, it became hard for me to consider giving money to a company that was not only liable for this death but perpetrated mistruths to continue to make a profit. I should note that Disney did build rock structures meant to separate the alligators from the property.
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