Diary of a Mad County

Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

Tuesday, Oct. 3
releases a new version of The Little Mermaid on DVD in that Disney way where they threaten you that this is a limited release and if don't buy this soon it will be gone forever and your kids will then take drugs and shoot you in the back of the head while you eat ice cream in your underwear. Or words to that effect. Little Mermaid is significant because it started not only Disney's impressive animation run—Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin—but made animation a powerful player in the film industry. The thing about the Disney films is that they always featured strong female characters who stood up for themselves. Young girls reacted to this and, in the 1990s, it was a common sight to see them wearing clothing, accessories or Halloween costumes adorned by the aforementioned characters. Those days are apparently gone. You don't see little girls wearing as much Disney stuff. Or wearing much of anything. In fact, they're much more likely to want to emulate other young women—supermodels, party heiresses. Not long ago, I was talking to a woman who arranges birthday parties for kids. Ten years ago, she tells me, girls wanted princess parties that usually involved Disney characters. Now, without a doubt, her most popular theme is supermodels where little girls put on makeup and strut the catwalk. Is this bad? I dunno. It's different. The Disney characters were strong and resilient and it seemed little girls took notice of their ability to stand up to bullying men. It would seem little girls notice that supermodels are terrific at being noticed. What else is there?

Oct. 3: A whole new world. Image © the Walt Disney Co.


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