Disney+ Has Come Far In Improving Disney’s Diversity, But Is It Enough?
A Disney fan examines its levels of diversity.
Everyone watched Disney growing up. If you weren’t up to date on the new Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana or other golden Frankenstein mashup episodes, you simply did not get it. But some people, in this proverbial sense, never had a chance due to a lack of representation that fostered a sense of distance between the viewer and the material. Minorities were usually casted as side characters, or completely excluded. Now, Disney+ has dedicated itself to changing its past and has come a long way in creating a legacy where everyone can find someone to identify themselves with on screen. But have they come far enough?
A statement on the Walt Disney Company website reads:
Our intention is to broaden access and diversity in our industry by adopting inclusion standards across Disney General Entertainment and live-action Studio productions by the end of 2022, with the goal of advancing representation in front of and behind the camera, in marketing, and more.
So far, Disney has done just that by including an incredible range of actors, directors, and team members to be part of the Walt Disney Company. Disney+ is the site that demonstrates just how far Disney has come with diversity, showcasing films and shows with diverse directors like Chloe Zhao and Taika Waititi.
Additionally, Disney+, has Black Pride and LQBTQ+ (during Pride Month) sections for audiences to choose from. Some movies in these sections include Black Panther, Soul, and Love, Victor. the new Buzz Lightyear movie even features a kiss between Buzz’s friend and her wife— which comes as a surprise after the company’s silence on the Don’t Say Gay Bill. Disney is so committed to their diverse casts that the actor Ewan McGregor in the new Obi-Wan show issued a statement across all platforms telling fans to fight for diversity and to stop bullying his castmate, Moses Ingram, who was receiving racist comments on her Instagram.
There’s always a “but”, however. Especially with Disney companies. Although Disney+ has made many efforts to uplift the voices of minorities, they continue to implement stereotypes. It lacks disability representation and they go as far as excluding canonically accurate disabilities. For example, Hawkeye is supposed to be deaf in the comics, but he is not in the movies. Even though Disney celebrates Pride month, LBGTQ+ representation is still insufficient and is always met with extreme backlash with a small response from the company. Not to mention, most LGBTQ+ scenes are cut out entirely just to appeal to audiences— similar to their Pride section in July.
So, if it isn’t about being perfect— what’s it about? Until Disney can adequately provide minority representation for all children, some will be left out. Well, call me Jen Bush, because I’m saying no child left behind.
Gabriella Garcia-Urbay is an online writer for Rowdy Magazine who spends her time reading, writing poetry and playing the guitar when she’s not listening to her hundreds of playlists.