HOW DISNEY HATED WOMEN
Walt Disney joked that he prefers Mickey Mouse to all women in the world. Animator Ward Kimball, who invented the cricket Jimini from Pinocchio and the cat Lucifer from Cinderella, jokingly declared: “Disney did not believe women and cats.” After several losses at the Oscars, Disney stopped taking his wife Lilian to the ceremony because he was sure that she, like any woman, could jinx him. He forbade his daughters to watch their cartoons, fearing that they would not laugh out loud enough.
Walt Disney with his wife at the Oscars,
The specific attitude towards women was manifested not only at home, but also at the studio: Disney officially forbade the employment of female animators, because he was afraid that at the crucial moment they might become pregnant and quit, putting the entire project at risk. In addition, according to Disney, this specialty required a sense of humor and the ability to draw, and neither the first nor the second is characteristic of women. Before the war, the only place in the studio where women were received was the technical department, whose employees transferred the drawings to film. But with the entry of the United States into World War II and the beginning of mobilization, the number of employees fell sharply, and Disney had to hire several women – but even that only married, with children and to the posts of assistants.
The History of Menstruation, 1946 The History of Menstruation, 1946
Distrust of women and their attitude to them as a separate biological species was manifested not only in labor discrimination: little contributed to supporting gender stereotypes like Disney cartoons, which proclaimed the woman’s best destiny to be a saved man and become his wife, that is, to continue his gender . However, in art cartoons about the birth of children was not mentioned because of censorship, but in the educational shorts that the studio released, it was directly declared that the woman’s function is to cook, clean, look good, but first of all give birth to children. Cartoons commissioned by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies in the mid-40s, such as “Caring for a Baby” and “History of Menstruation”, in which the word “vagina” was first spoken in the movie, reduced the woman’s life to two events – the birth and birth of a child. However, conservative American society clearly did not see a problem in this: the “Menstrual History” was shown in schools until the end of the 60s, and in 2015 it was included in the National Register of Films of the Library of Congress for “cultural, historical and aesthetic value”.
HOW DISNEY WAS GOING TO REMOVE ANTI-RACIST FILM AND REMOVED THE RACIST
Demonstration against the film “Song of the South”, New York, 1946 Demonstration against the film “Song of the South”, New York, 1946 Photo: The New York Public Library
The first racially motivated Hollywood scandal was launched by Walt Disney. More precisely, the indignant spectators of his “Songs of the South” (1946), one of the first feature films with animated inserts, which took place in Georgia immediately after the Civil War, and the main characters were a merry former slave uncle Rimus, white children and cartoon brother Rabbit. The film was based on the collection of African American folklore, “Tales of Uncle Remus” (1880), which Disney loved very much, although it had long been customary to scold him for maintaining stereotypes about the black population. Disney and its producers realized that the material was controversial and even risky, and hired two screenwriters for work – Southerner Dalton Raymond and leftist Maurice Rapp, who were supposed to “strike a balance between black haters and black lovers.” Disney himself was equally indifferent to the aspirations of both segregationists and fighters for equality. However, after winning the Second World War, the idea of racial equality was in fashion in the United States, and Disney was always attentive to the current agenda. Not because I wanted to influence her, but rather to take advantage. One of the most influential African Americans of the time, Harvard professor Alain Leroy Locke, whom Disney turned to for advice, argued that studios could fundamentally change the mass attitude of African Americans by abandoning scenes like the one where a former slave sings songs against the backdrop of an idyllic plantation landscape. But Disney did not want to change anything, he wanted to like it, and his instinct told him not to get involved in politics and be closer to the spirit of the original.
Of course, there was a scandal. Even before the premiere, African-American newspapers warned that Disney idealized the slave system and supported racial stereotypes, and called for a boycott of the film. Realizing that the location of “black lovers” he could not achieve, Disney made a bet on the “black haters” and moved the premiere of the film to Atlanta. In Atlanta, segregation laws were still in force, so Uncle Rimus himself could not attend the premiere – the black actor James Basket was not even allowed to rent a hotel room. But there were no protesters at the cinemas either.