Saturday, January 24, 2009

Disney and the Feminine

Disney's princes appear as resolving rescuers, often by the grace of powers beyond themselves, as if with Walt Disney, the only characteristic to define manhood was innate, transcendentally designed heroism. To be a man is a question of virility, and virility is cut and dry either/or. It is either what settles and exorcizes, or nothing at all. When the masculine element is more developed, the characters are either ridiculed villains (captain Hook) or comic and somehow dependent figures (like Tramp, the dwarves, Jiminy Cricket) or yet not fully-grown, such as Peter Pan, whose immaturity is often contrasted with Wendy’s integrity. Not counting Disney’s humor oriented characters, one could think, from the feature animated films alone, that Walt Disney was fascinated with the feminine as much as he was unforgiving and exacting regarding the masculine. The profusion of curves and circles in his signature expresses a graphic symbolism of the feminine element, along with its side of maternal like generosity: Disney takes detours of the necessary lines to add circularity, and to especially round corners. The “W” of Walt evokes women’s as well as baby’s forms.

No comments: