TINKER BELLES AND EVIL QUEENS by Sean Griffin

TINKER BELLES AND EVIL QUEENS

The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Disney emerges as half evil stepmother, half fairy godmother in Griffin's analysis of the corporation's relationship to its

homosexual customers and employees.

Griffin (Film and Media/UC Santa Cruz) begins with the metamorphosis of Mickey Mouse himself, noting the rodent's bawdy

beginnings and subsequent apotheosis as the mythic mouse of the American dream. Tacking between Disney's increasingly

homogenized depictions of animal sexuality (including the bowdlerization of Clarabel Cow's udder) and spicy studio scandals

(such as an animator who tricked female co-workers into undressing), Griffin uncovers the subtexts and secrets of the Disney

studio, that allowed queer figures to establish a homosexual discourse within Walt's idyllic hetero-family world. From Mickey

Mouse to Maleficent, from Cruella de Vil to Captain Hook, queer touches imbue the realm of Disney with a smattering of

possibilities for the homosexual audience to appropriate as its own. Turning from Walt’s paternalism to Michael Eisner’s

corporate-style leadership, Griffin addresses Disney's nascent concern for its gay employees and the depiction of homosexuality

in its recent films, both animated and live action. Tales of homophobia and discrimination, including child star Tommy Kirk's

dismissal for being gay, are set against significant advances for queer employees (e.g., the founding of Disney's Lesbian and Gay

United Employees) and customers (gay days in the Magic Kingdom). For all this raw material, however, not much magic

develops: Any intelligent filmgoer can decode the queer subtext of Disneyana without a reader's guide, and Disney's corporate

history (save for the odd scandal) reveals itself to be mostly as dull as any other company history.

Queer Disneyphiliacs will delight in Griffin's sturdy analysis and ample anecdotes, but readers lacking a passion for all things

Disney will find little of interest. (20 b&w photos)

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8147-3122-8
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: New York Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2000




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