There are many articles covering the “Queer-coding of Disney Villains”. If Disney can be used as the bench mark for reductive plot lines, it is indeed an interesting and not always positive occurrence that quite so many of the “Bad Guys” are crafted with mannerisms that are stereotypically associated with LGBTQI+ culture (flamboyant dressing, effeminate hand gestures, elaborate turn of phrase). For example, Scar from the lion king who exemplifies the ultimate Sissy Villain or Ursula, from the Little Mermaid, who was in fact based on the drag queen Divine. Regardless of the motives here (as aforementioned I think it’s a double-edged sword) Disney did craft some fabulous Baddies. I’ve often heard people talk about their early film icons as a clue to the person they grew up into; both in who they found most identifiable or who they found most crush-worthy. I think our early preferences do provide hints to what the future holds in a playful way and this isn’t just about orientation but career path, clothing style and everything we align ourselves with. The films we respond to are all clues to the personality we’re building and I’d go as far as say this situation is absolutely analogous for kink.
A few weeks ago I was watching a re-run of Oliver the musical on television. It occurred to me for the first time that I’d always had an inextricable draw towards the character Nancy, I liked her bawdy boddice and accompanying tavern sing-a-longs. I’m sure this is cultural blasphemy to many who love this firm family favourite but my interest went further than that. I remember liking the interaction between Nancy and Bill Sikes, his brooding quietness and unpredictable violence contrasted against her unwavering affection. There is something coded within their paradigm that stirred the mini-masochist in me long before I had the language to express what that was. Equally s, (and I don’t think I’m alone in this one) Princess Jasmine trapped in the hourglass had a seminal intrigue for me. I used to walk around the house pretending I had been captured by Jafar in a red belly dancing outfit. This doesn’t surprise me at all as an adult who still enjoys parading around the house on a leash.
And I’m not the only one; Slutever talked on her blog about fancying the “wheelchair kid” in The Secret Garden, which went on to inform a lifelong lust for emaciated boys with aloof attitudes. When asking around amongst friends, there were several other hotties mentioned including Hades from Hercules for his androgyny and cutting remarks and Splash the mermaid for her wayward brattiness and underwater kissing. The list goes on.
I think it’s interesting to note that lots of the U rated adventure films that we watch growing up have fairly innocent scenes of bondage that are seemingly inherent in fighting the force of evil.
I’m just going to say it with an image here:
Additionally, I saw an interesting forum post on Disney Dungeons, which cited a very long list of scenes from Snow White, Peter Pan and Pinocchio amongst others. The images included shackles, cages, ropes, chains - a veritable Smörgåsbord of BDSM paraphernalia.
My intention here isn’t to pass comment on the smut we’re showing our kids, far from it! What I mean to say is that sometimes looking back on our early intrigues helps us unravel the complicated adults we’ve become. Potentially it could inform the kind of playing we might like to try out as grown-ups. Say you always enjoyed reading about the Weasley twins maybe there’s a threesome in your future. In any case what better way to spend the bank holiday than firing up a few classics and revisiting those first pangs. Enjoy!