Mickey gets stuffed for Pride

A week from today (on the 28th) is Stonewall Day, this year the 50th anniversary of the original event, which helped to catalyze a long tradition of homophile organizations and protests into annual Gay Pride events all over the world: events that are protests, defiant demonstrations, celebrations of community, and parties, all in one.

The occasion has presented the Disney companies with a public relations opportunity — if they play their cards right, they can be seen as celebrating diversity — and a business opportunity as well — they can sell Disney-identified products to the lgbt community (in special locations, for a limited time, not out in the public eye). Which brings us this carefully calculated Pride sale:

(#1)

Pride Mickey. From Randy McDonald on Facebook, this incredibly cute item on offer at the Disney Store in Eaton Centre, Toronto:


(#2) Plush toy Mickey for Pride (not, however, made of plush; explanation below)

Yes, incredibly cute, because it is, after all, Mickey Mouse, created to be cuteness incarnate. But also all-out rainbow Mickey, for Gay Pride. So at the very least, an enthusiastic supporter of lgbt people and their lives. But since the Mickey in #2 is stuffed, I prefer to think of him as an adorable flagrantly gay mouse who loves to get stuffed (in the sexual sense — on which, see my 10/19/15 posting “Rafe on display”). Let’s hear it for pushy bottom mice!

One more item from the Rainbow Disney Collection:


(#3) The Mickey Mouse rainbow icon pin; a circle with large ears is enough to serve as a symbol for MM

Digression on plush toy. From my 12/18/17 posting “The news for mammoths: toy stories”, in a section about Beanie Buddies and Beanie Babies:

On stuffed toys, from Wikipedia:

A stuffed toy is a toy with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and then stuffed with a flexible material. In North American English, they are variously referred to as plush toys, stuffed animals, plushies, snuggies, stuffies, or snuggled animals. In British English, they are soft toys or cuddly toys.

… Textiles commonly used include plain cloth and pile textiles like plush or terrycloth. Common stuffing materials are synthetic fiber batting, cotton, straw, wood wool, plastic pellets or beans.

Note that the label plush toy is a synonym of stuffed toy, and it’s not semantically transparent: the skin of a plush toy isn’t necessarily plush (‘a rich fabric of silk, cotton, wool, or a combination of these, with a long, soft nap’ (NOAD)), but can be any sort of fabric [like the smooth fabric in #2]

An actual plush Mickey Mouse (non-rainbow) from the Disney Store:


(#4) At Disney, Mickey and Goofy wear pants, but Donald and the other ducks do not, nor does Winnie-the-Pooh; at Warner Bros., only the male human characters (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam) wear pants, while the animals (Bugs, Porky, Daffy) do not

Another Disney audience: “normal people”. So far, we’ve been looking at Disney’s appeal to an lgbt audience (largely made out of sight of the larger social world of North America). I suspect that these gestures are mostly business calculations by executives whose private attitudes are those long shared by most “normal people”: that homosexuals are disgusting, sinful, sick, contemptible vermin. (These attitudes are public and vocal for some, for example, spokesmen for the Southern Baptist Convention. Otherwise, because I am generally taken to be straight, I hear quite a lot of what people say when they think they’re behind closed doors, and some of it is truly hair-raising. As for what my straight acquaintances say about me behind my back, I really don’t want to know; I’m amiable and cooperative, but I assume that most straight people are vile and hateful about sexuality, until I have reason to think they’re actually decent human beings.)

These Disney executives spend most of their professional energy appealing to such “normal people”, who are their bread and butter. They manage Walt Disney World in Orlando FL, for example — where there are annual Gay Days, not sanctioned or even publicly mentioned by Disney. Not mentioned, so that the event won’t scare away the “normal people” who would balk at rubbing elbows at an amusement park with faggots and dykes and God knows what else (pedophiles! dog-fuckers!). From Wikipedia:

Gay Days at Walt Disney World is a loosely organized event where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, their families, friends and supporters go to Walt Disney World on a single day each year. It is held on the first Saturday in June (with numerous other events in the area during the preceding week [hence the plural days]).

The first documented event, in June 1991, had 3,000 gays and lesbians from central Florida going to area theme parks on one day wearing red shirts to make their presence more visible. By 1995, the event had grown to 10,000 gays and lesbians traveling for the gay day at Disney. As of 2010 approximately 150,000 LGBT people, their families, friends and supporters attended the six-day gathering (including various pool parties, conventions, festivals, a business expo, activities for kids, etc.) with 20,000 to 30,000 going to Disney on the final day. [I note that this is a very big family event for lgbt people.]

… While Disney does not sanction Gay Days (and officially tells employees to treat it as any other summer day), conservative Christian groups accuse Disney of not doing anything to stop the event. The Southern Baptist Convention boycotted Disney for eight years.

Of course they did, bless their hearts.

Footnote from Wikipedia:

“Bless your heart” is a phrase that is common in the Southern United States. The phrase has multiple meanings. It can be used as a sincere expression of sympathy or genuine concern. It can be used as a precursor to an insult to soften the blow. It is also sometimes used to mean “you are dumb or otherwise impaired, but you can’t help it” by individuals who wish to “be sweet” and do not wish to “act ugly”.

 

One Response to “Mickey gets stuffed for Pride”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    In North American English, they are variously referred to as plush toys, stuffed animals, plushies, snuggies, stuffies, or snuggled animals. In British English, they are soft toys or cuddly toys.

    Whereas in our household, where there are many such, they are called “people”.

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