Fun with Feminist Flickr (Disney sucks edition)

disneysucks.jpg
Disney sucks. Click here for a full view of this employment rejection letter, and you’ll see why.
Thanks to Charles for the link.

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56 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Guess this one is making the rounds — I just got it from my sister this week.
    What I particularly love is the reason the letter gives for not hiring women: because women don’t do those jobs! Well, DUH.
    I think the term I’m looking for is “circular.”

  2. UltraMagnus
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I saw this a few days ago and thought “what assholes” but it’s also a product of the time, hopefully they’ve moved on.

  3. utsusemi
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Heh, I like how the letter-writer’s signature is accompanied by a picture of the movie’s bad guy. No kidding!
    Circular reasoning indeed. Things may not be perfect now, but I’m still glad not to live in 1938.

  4. audrey
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    That can’t be real! The witch by the signature is too funny. Sad thought that it appears to be written by a woman.
    I love the reasoning though:
    We only have men doing the work now; therefore, only men can do the work. Brilliant! Of course, it makes perfect sense.

  5. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    A. That’s messed up.
    B. I need cooler paper for my memos. That memo paper kicks ass.

  6. m
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I love how Snow White is up by the recipient’s name, while the wicked witch is down by the author’s name. “*Cackle cackle* Artistic talent is for BOYS, you ninny!” That’s what the wicked witch would say.

  7. annajcook
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I was going to say, “Does anyone else find the Snow White stationary disturbing?” but you beat me to it m!
    My favorite line is: “Women do not do any of the creative work . . . as that work is performed entirely by young men.” It’s such blithe, blatant discrimination.
    And what’s with cartooning only being done by “young men”? And the inking done by “girls”? Is Disney, like, summer camp for high schoolers? Or does joining the team mean you never have to grow up, just like Peter Pan?

  8. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Maybe this helps explain how Disney got started on the whole “heroines that look like barbie dolls” thing

  9. Posted June 29, 2007 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The important detail you are all missing is that Mary had to type her own damned letter. If a man had written this it would be signe “Big Important Man” and the MEC on the bottom left would be BIM:mec (Big Important Man: typed by mec, the not very important girl).
    If you’d taken typing class in 1970 you’d know that ;-)

  10. Andrea
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Is it bad that I find the bald-faced descrimination somewhat refreshing? I mean… at least they were bloody up front and honest about why they weren’t going to hire her for the job to which she applied, and were bloody up front and honest about her prospects for the jobs to which she possibly could be hired?
    Please dont’ misunderstand me — the blatant discrimination here is horrible, but hell, at least at that time they were honest about it… now you’d get some nebulously-worded letter about how, in spite of your qualifications, you’re jsut not the right fit…
    Also, I do feel the need to point out that the letter is dated June 7, 1938. While the Disney Company has some major problems today, you would never receive that kind of letter from them in current times … unless you’re asking to marry your homosexual partner in the Carnation Pavillion on Main Street during park operating hours…

  11. Posted June 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    It is true that this letter is an artifact from another time. But it is sad to see it all the same.

  12. AlaraJRogers
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Is there a reason why the text of the link says “Disney suck*s*” (present tense) while referencing a letter from *1938?*
    This is like saying IBM sucks because it sells to the Nazis, and you shouldn’t buy anime or other products from Japan because the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor.
    There may be modern reasons why Disney sucks. This letter is not one of them.

  13. aquacat
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    To Lee, re: blaming Disney now for something that happened in the past.
    Who is blaming the current Disney corporation for this letter? I believe the post, and those who have responded to it, are merely trying to show it for what it is – a historical text displaying blatant sexism.
    However, I think it is relevant to claim that this text is representative of the kind of mentality the company has long had toward women and minorities. Disney himself was a noted racist. Disneyland was established as a nostalgic white-man’s dreams of what American life “should be” (aka, white, middle-class, homogenic and scarily clean). Disney films and products to this very day continue to traffic in rather blatant forms of sexism, racism, ethnocentrism and ableism (if you want some brilliant writing on this very issue, you might read some of Ariel Dorfman’s work on Disney). While it isn’t really fair to assume that this historic text represents the company’s explicit mentality today, anyone with half a brain and a critical eye can look at what they still produce and see that such sentiments haven’t gone away but have instead simply become subtly embedded throughout Disney’s body of work. Though you may not get that letter today, young children are still being indoctrinated into a Disney-view of life that convinces little girls that they have to be “princesses” in order to be valuable human beings. How are the messages of Disney films really different in
    their ultimate intent than that letter? The ideology behind each is the same.
    And finally, I worked at Disney for 5 years. The company blows in more ways than you can imagine. So yes, Disney sucks. Pass it on.

  14. Amanda Marcotte
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Considering how that movie is functionally patriarchal propaganda, it’s no wonder they didn’t want any women on it. Probably thought they were spies.

  15. MiddleageLiberal
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, and Shakespeare sucks because he was sexist and supported patriarchy. Hell, he didn’t even let women appear in his plays. What a sexist pig. I’m surprised he hasn’t been totally banned from civilized discussion.

  16. Cola
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Right, because women aren’t just, biologically speaking, physically frailer than men, we’re dumber and not as creative either.

  17. flyinfur
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I am not surprised; what’s in that letter is pretty ways found Disney’s short cmuch embodied in every Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck cartoon ever made; Daisy and Minnie simpered and sighed and were pretty much nonentities.

  18. flyinfur
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    I am not surprised; what’s in that letter is pretty much embodied in every Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck cartoon ever made; Daisy and Minnie simpered and sighed and were nothing more than nonentities.

  19. Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    As the letter gets further in to the rejection, the subject moves from women to girls.

  20. anorak
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    I wonder if this letter had been written say, 4 years later, whether it would have contained a different response.
    Once women started to be “manpowered” in WWII, the correspondent might have had a better chance at getting a job…
    I like to think of this young woman in Arkansas dreaming of moving to Hollywood in the 1930′s, and then maybe getting her chance a few years later. I wonder what actually happened to her.

  21. Barbara P
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I didn’t find it on snopes, but I have a really hard time believing this is a real letter. Not that people didn’t think that way (or even that these mentalities are gone now). But even then, no one would phrase it as “the only work open to women…”. Plus, the silliness of the witch at the bottom really gives it away.
    We don’t need a letter like this to prove that there’s sexism from Disney (historical or otherwise).

  22. Posted June 30, 2007 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I believe the letter is real and that even then people would talk openly about the “only work open to women.” I was told things like that when I was a child–and i’m not THAT old LOL. My mother was a teacher, but she lost her job when she got married–not got pregnant, got married. that was the rule and everyone knew it and very few thought a thing about it. NEVER made sense to me.
    Anorak–i, too, would love to know what became of the young woman from Arkansas.

  23. Peanutcat
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Holy fucking shit. We women of today sometimes forget how bad it was back then.

  24. Flower
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This was during the Depression. Disney was being very progressive to let women have ANY jobs.

  25. EG
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Really, the images should be reversed. The witch was creative and imaginative, while Snow White was a miniature housewife in Disney’s version of the story.

  26. SweetZoeJane
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Umm… is that signed by a woman? Mary? Hmm.. interesting. Though I’m sure she just typed up the letters or something. *rolls eyes*

  27. ambidextrous amazon
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    How fitting that snow white and the witch-queen are on the letter (I know, it was probably the only Disney film that had yet been made). You know, since, as mentioned above, snow white was the sweet, naive, always-upbeat housewife and needed protection and the breath/kiss of life by men (dwarves included). And the witch, well, she was powerful, and thus murderously jealous and evil. The latter was a lesson to us all to be like the former, or else!

  28. sarahtheresa
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Last night while babysitting my cousin’s daughter she decided she wanted to watch Peter Pan. Never before had I noticed what sort of messages are mixed in this story. Right at the get go Tinkerbell is examining the size of her hips in the mirror and shakes her head in disapproval. Later on when Captain Hook is talking about finding Peter’s hide out he thinks to use Tinkerbell to tell him where Peter is because ‘you can make a jealous woman do almost anything’ or something that that effect about how jealous women are easily persuaded. I turned it off after she fell asleep but i’m sure there’s more. Just thought i’d share since we’re on the topic of disney.

  29. annejumps
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t just Disney. At this time, Warner Brothers and MGM, to the best of my knowledge, had women (sorry, “girls,” as they were known) doing the highly repetitive, non-creative inking and painting while the men did the more interesting animation work. I think WB had one “woman animator” but I can’t recall for sure from my readings back when I wanted to be one myself.

  30. annejumps
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I seem to remember something about a character designer or background artist who was a woman during the ’40s at Disney, but don’t quote me on that.

  31. Liza
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s always good to remember how much worse it was. While things today may not be perfect, at least no one can blatantly reject someone because “girls don’t do that kind of work.” At first I read this without looking at the date, and I was like “that’s so illegal!” then I realized it was from 1938.

  32. Kate 21
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you Liza.
    Speaking of Disney, I currently work on the Jungle Cruise attraction in the CA park – which not too long ago was solely operated by men. The sad part is that we female skippers often get pretty serious flack from guests because they “remember” when only men were allowed to be skippers and preferred those times.
    I even had a guest once explain to me that letting women become Jungle skippers was what started to “ruin” Disneyland and that attraction specifically.

  33. Posted June 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    My daughter just graduated from college with a major in art and is trying to find work as an animator. Difficult as it is for her and other young women, I’d like to think that the industry has evolved since 1938. (It’s interesting that the letter was signed by “Mary Cleane.”)

  34. Posted June 30, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Hey, give them a break! At least they discouraged her from picking up and moving to Hollywood with inking/painting stars in their eyes. Sigh.
    Also, if Mary Cleane really existed, I’d be very surprised.

  35. Posted June 30, 2007 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Ok, fess up, who let out the troll food?

  36. Barbara P
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Just to clarify – it’s not that I doubt Disney had this policy about women and men’s jobs. I’m sure they did, because I heard of it before, and it seems in line with people’s thinking back then. Merely questioning this particular letter in no way invalidates any claims of Disney’s sexism!
    I’m just surprised at the exact wording of the letter. People may have verbally said things like that, but the writing seems more like something someone outside of Disney might say while reporting on their policy. It also seems like different statements pieced together.
    Other reasons I doubt its authenticity: I find it very strange they used the animated characters on their formal letters. That seems a bit like something a more modern Disney might do, but odd for 1938. Plus, the paper itself doesn’t look too aged.
    I dunno – I could be completely wrong. I just don’t like to be taken in by hoaxes (or let other people be fooled), so I’m more likely to be a skeptic about such things. If I turn out to be wrong, I still won’t feel like I was wrong for questioning it.

  37. Pickleberry
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Yeah…I haven’t liked Disney since I saw Bambi when I was 4, but this letter doesn’t look too real. I know too many people who could have come up with that in photoshop.

  38. annejumps
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Well heck, here is the photo page if you want to comment and tell the guy you’re skeptical of the letter’s authenticity.

  39. ShifterCat
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Forwarded the page to Snopes.

  40. SarahMC
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    You just want to complain and play the victim.

    You don’t have to “play the victim” when you’ve been sufficiently victimized, marginalized and othered, Lee.
    Though I bet it’s hard to identify or empathize with us women when you’re so busy drowning in your own privilege.

  41. Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  42. Posted July 2, 2007 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Could we trade Lee in for a concern troll? Those are at least coherent.
    In the meantime, I’d propose we stop engaging him. His entire purpose here seems to be autoerotic thread derailment.

  43. Posted July 2, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Don’t feed the trolls!!!!!!!

  44. Anne (in Reno)
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    This was the flickr caption. So she DID become an animator after all!
    “This letter originally belonged to my grandmother. After she passed away we discovered it and were surprised at how well it was preserved for being nearly 70 years old. She eventually became an animator during WWII for the war effort.
    The letter speaks for itself and it remarkable to note how times have changed since then.”

  45. anorak
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I saw that too Anne. I was stoked (that means happy in N.Z.)!
    I feel really cool because I had hypothesised upthread that WWII might have changed things for her and it did!
    I guess it’s good that something cool came from the deaths of millions of people ;o)

  46. mhothatch
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Disney (as far as I know) is still homophobic and sexist (probably racist as well) in many of its policies – including their dress code and requirements for hire to even work at the parks. However, feminist that I am… when i went to Walt Disney World when i was 5 i was seduced entirely by the “magic” and haven’t ever been able to grow out of it. ah to smoke and drink in the magic kingdom with hairy arm pits and legs… nothing better

  47. mhothatch
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Disney (as far as I know) is still homophobic and sexist (probably racist as well) in many of its policies – including their dress code and requirements for hire to even work at the parks. However, feminist that I am… when i went to Walt Disney World when i was 5 i was seduced entirely by the “magic” and haven’t ever been able to grow out of it. ah to smoke and drink in the magic kingdom with hairy arm pits and legs… nothing better

  48. Posted July 3, 2007 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    mhothatch, I’m with you. I have a Disneyland annual passport and every time I go, I sneak in a bottle of Special “Gatorade.”
    You ain’t ridden Space Mountain ’til you’ve done it drunk, far as I’m concerned.

  49. thisisendless
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Kate 21:
    YOU HAVE MY DREAM JOB!
    I have always, always, ALWAYS wanted to be a skipper on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland and when I was a little girl I noticed that there were no women skippers…
    And now there are! Yay! I am so jealous. :)
    Good for you for keeping on despite flack from people. That is really stupid that people actually complain to you about that. People really need to enter the 21st century.

  50. thisisendless
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    Sorry I didn’t read the whole thread before responding..
    As far as being “homophobic”.. I thought Disneyland just recently included same sex marriages as being eligible for their “princess wedding” package, or what ever they call it.
    And don’t they actually support some other LGBT causes? Such as “Gay Days” and the like that ended up being protested by a lot of right wingers? I seem to recall Disney receiving quite a bit of flack for giving it’s support to the gay community.

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