Villains In Disney Films

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When we think about the villains Disney cinema produces, the first image that comes to mind is the powerful women who use their magic to cast spells, summon forces greater than life, and enhance their agency. Often, identifying the villain in Disney films is easy, since they differ considerably from gender conforming characters due to their physical features, abilities, and style of dress. When examining the villain, one of the characteristics that stand out, is the villains’ dehumanization and non-heteronormativity. As a result, the villains’ stories may not adhere to idealistic social norms, but it’s their own just the same. Historically, Disney Animation fairy-tales elevated the triumph of good over evil in a world of magic. Usually, this …show more content…

Within the scope of this discussion, different dimensions of “queer” are presented as emulated by villains. “Queer” can be described as an umbrella term used for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual nor cisgender. Correspondingly, Disney cinema villains obliterate all established notions of gender and sexuality, especially heterosexual norms. Through this frame, Disney cinema villains such as Ursula, Maleficent, and Elsa may be read as queer-coded in contrast with the relatively more heteronormative heroes. Queer-coding is essentially understood as fictional characters, who have not been revealed as queer, but are given traits or are being read as non-heteronormative, because of the style, behavior, gestures or overall appearance. While Disney cinema appears to constantly equate queerness with evil, at the same time, they are opening the door for diverse representations of queerness by blurring the binary oppositions of gender and presenting dynamic expressions that challenge everything that is considered …show more content…

Although this distinction in skin color may build on to Ursula’s villainous and dehumanizing appearance, it also explains the inspiration many Drag Queens draw from villains’ deviant spectacle, as they are famously glammed up dramatically with heavy eyeshadow, contour, glitter, and blush among other coats of makeup. “Drag Queens” are men who perform highly theatrical forms of femininity for the purpose of entertainment. Further evidence that villains inspire the queer community includes Todrick Hall, a well known Drag Queen and YouTube sensation who reimagines and pays tribute to Disney villains through his YouTube videos complete with flair and flamboyant arrangements. As Todrick Hall notes about his rendition of the “Spell Block Tango”, “I have always had a strange fascination with the Disney villains’ side of the classic fairy tales and now through the music of Chicago you’ll get to hear their stories.” No doubt, the diva and unapologetic attitudes of Disney cinema villains is a source of empowerment for queer femmes who are oftentimes ridiculed and ostracized for their flamboyant expression. Of course, Todrick’s not the first and only Drag Queen inspired tribute. For example, West Hollywood, known as the largest gay nightlife district in Los Angeles, hosts an annual Halloween Carnaval parade, where many queer folks

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