Why Disney Needs To Rebrand

When I found out that Disney had acquired Marvel and subsequently LucasFilm, my two favourite sci-fi establishments, I found my reaction interesting. Not interesting like I’d write a book on it, but interesting like I’d write an article on it. 



My reactions, both times, were rather negative even though they were 4 years apart. I’m not ashamed, it’s the same way that I wasn’t ridiculously happy when a female Doctor was announced recently for Doctor Who. It’s just that fear of something having been so consistent for so many years changing at the hands of a different boss. It doesn’t make me a bad person, it was just an involuntary reaction to all three situations.

It turns out I don’t like the idea of change, and I’m totally okay with that. However, focusing now on the Disney properties rather than the female Doctor, the acquisition of Marvel and LucasFilm and my subsequent reaction made me think about why I felt the way I did, and I realised it was because I had personal gripes with Disney.

Disney has been around since 1923, a completely different age where homosexuality was illegal, women had only just received the right to vote, and no one knew that Darth Vader was Luke’s father (gasp).

As a result, it is only fair that Disney have had their fair share of cockups over so many years, and some of these cockups, in my opinion, are not completely forgiveable nor ignorable so I’m going to present some of these cockups to you and explain why Disney needs to rebrand.

Now, I’m not going to bore you with another tale of why Walt Disney was anti-semitic and all of the naughty things he did against the Jews like me in Disney’s early days, but a much less discussed stigma associated with Disney is that of sexism, and not only in the classics. Whilst 90 years ago sexism was acceptable and therefore it’s expected to feature in their media, even some of their latest films have fallen victim to sexism.

Linguists have researched this, recording data from a multitude of Disney films from all eras. The instant 2013 classic “Frozen”, for example, was fronted by two strong independent women, but only 41% of the film’s dialogue was spoken by women. 41% for “Frozen”, 32% in “The Little Mermaid”, 23% in “Mulan”, 24% in “Pocahontas”, and a shameful 10% in “Aladdin”. These figures are truly astonishing when you consider that these are films about princesses. Furthermore, every new Disney Princess looks pretty much identical, and they’re always shown to be losing control. It’s very important that in a society getting more and more politically correct by the day, that for the good of the Disney company, they must cut all connections with sexism, as I think we can all agree that Disney would lose a fight with the internet feminists.

A more disputed stigma that Disney have fallen to is racism. It seems that with recent films such as “The Princess and The Frog” and “Moana”, that this problem appears to be fading - and it is; racism is now universally unacceptable, and so it should be. However, this stigma will never leave the name “Disney” as long as it lives because of some of the horrifically racist things that have been in their films.

The Native Americans in “Peter Pan” can’t speak. Aladdin’s skin becomes whiter when he succeeds in his quest, and goes from being a poor boy to a rich prince. The prince in “The Princess and The Frog” is white, showing white dominance over the princess regardless of the fact she’s black. In “Dumbo,” Disney shows black circus workers singing “We slave until we’re almost dead / We’re happy-hearted roustabout" and "Keep on working / Stop that shirking / Pull that rope, you hairy ape." The servant Zebras in “Fantasia” are brown skinned.

The list goes on and on, and it can be noted that the only recent affair on this list is that of “The Princess and The Frog”. This shows that Disney has almost entirely grown out of it’s racist phase, but unless Disney rebrands, this stigma will stay with the company, making any non-white parents uncomfortable with interacting with the company, similar to the effects of the anti semitic stigma.

Essentially, for reasons of past racism and sexism, Disney has to rebrand. Whether that means a new logo, a new name, or a complete rework from the ground up is not for me to decide, but what is undeniably apparent is that something has to be done in order to appease our progressively more politically correct society.

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