The Disney Fetish

The Disney Fetish

The Disney Fetish

The Disney Fetish

Synopsis

Long considered a figurehead of family values and wholesome adolescence, the Disney franchise has faced increasing criticism over its gendered representations of children in film, its stereotypical representations of race and non-white cultures, and its emphasis on the heterosexual couple. Against a historical backdrop of studio history, audience reception, and the industrial-organizational apparatus of Disney media, Sean Harrington examines the Disney classics through a psychoanalytical framework to explore the spirit of devotion, fandom, and frenzy that is instilled in consumers of Disney products and that underlie the fantasy of the Magic Kingdom. This compelling study demystifies the unsettling cleanliness and pretensions to innocence that the Disney brand claims to hold.

Excerpt

In picking up this book, one might be curious about the slightly provocative title. Perhaps more specifically: what is the Disney Fetish? Those for whom this may suggest that this book will include latex Mickey Mouse costumes, or perhaps furries or paraphillic infantalists that really enjoy their Disney films, I can only offer apologies, as you are partially correct. While these excitingly prurient elements are absent from this book, I will be addressing the more abstract and structural questions of Disney as a fetishistic practice and more specifically what composes the fetish in structure and form. To best accomplish this I have endeavoured to paint a picture of Disney based on a selection of the multitude of signifiers which compose Disney as the vast socio-cultural institution we know today. The Disney ‘Thing’ within this text is formed of pseudo-mythical psycho-biography, film analysis and critical theory. It is a frozen image of Disney’s classic era, its foray into propaganda and its industrial disputes. While any attempt to distil such an established institution as Disney will be left invariably incomplete, this book attempts to synthesize a perversely delimited entity that we can refer to as Disney for our purposes. In doing so it seems that this research has inadvertently created a fetish of Disney itself; a simplified and seemingly encompassing form that at times disavows a more expansive irrefutable reality. So for those that are curious as to what the Disney Fetish is, we can surmise that this book is itself a Disney fetish. Vulgar pretensions and perverse disappointment aside, this book is essentially an attempt to address how we consume mass media and the broader question of whether our consumption of media is itself problematic.

This text seeks to provide an account of the subject as a consumer of mass-media. Within this consumption it is argued that this consumer must interact with commercial entities (the producers of mass-media) as socio-cul-

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