Ratigan xxx

Ratigan, (1986) The extremely theatrical Ratigan’s love for champagne, caviar, and the finest in designer rat threads already mark him as different from the other rats (or mice, as it were, as Ratigan tends to lose his shit whenever anyone calls him a “rat”), showing that he is of an entirely separate rank, at least in light of the caste system of the rodent underground.But it’s his desire to take over for Queen Mousetoria–to essentially “become” the Queen–that truly marks him as an other–especially if you take that goal somewhat literally.And you will certainly never get the girl—in fact, the girls will laugh at you while fawning over your ripped (and equally idiotic) friend.

Now, true, these are the extremes, and there are some in-between figures here; for example, Genie from 1992’s (1942) Flower, the “pretty” boy skunk with the dainty name who lives and breathes the concept of “shy and retiring.” These characters fall safely in the middle ground, and so escape the deadly consequences of villainy and/or the ridicule doled out to the femme sidekicks.

Added to that is the great deal of stereotyping in the development of many of the classic Disney characters–most particularly in the characterization of the females, an issue particularly reserved for the simpering, helpless, sometimes bodily useless princess figures.

And while these issues bother me quite a bit (with that last one in particular being the crux of an epic post I have been working on for the past two weeks regarding 1991’s , a lovely film with some not-so-lovely implications about gender roles), these are subjects for another day. Well, not the outright gays–because homosexuality is about as welcome in a Disney film as a bear to a honey party (unless that bear is Winnie the Pooh, of course)–but the way in which some familiar characters are drawn to appear “othered” in comparison to so-called sexual norms.

Disney has had a presence in my life for as far back as I can remember.

But as I have gotten older, and watched these movies from the perspective of a (somewhat) jaded adult, I’ve realized that there are some messages embedded in these films that are not exactly what you might call “progressive.” Especially in the older films in the canon, there are issues of insensitivity, bordering on racism, that makes modern-day viewers squirm uncomfortably–issues that have, to this day, prevented the home video release of 1946’s here in the United States.

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