What, Disney? By Aimee Bea.

I know I shouldn’t but I have come to expect a certain amount of sexist, misogynistic and over-sexualised bullshit from advertising campaigns. I’m not saying that it’s acceptable just that I expect anyone with an ounce of common sense and/or self respect to see through it. The most sensible thing to do with television adverts is press mute, walk out of the room or lay as still as possible in a state of absolute serenity as they wash over you without leaving a trace (my personal favorite ad-avoiding technique) HOWEVER whilst attempting to execute this this morning I was confronted with one of the creepiest adverts I have seen in a long time, perhaps even ever. The offending article was for Disneyland Paris (I wanted to attach a link but I haven’t been able to find one so keep an eye out – you’ll know when you see it.) and begins with the protagonist, a father figure looking into his teenage daughter’s bedroom whilst she – the portrait of teengirl stereotype – is texting and freaking out to 1D (probably) nothing too out of the ordinary there, but things soon begin to take a darker, Lolita-esque turn. Instead of making any attempt to interact with his ‘blossoming’ offspring, father figure is represented as an onlooker constantly watching over his daughter’s shoulder with the quietly brooding stare of a potential psychopath that could challenge Lolita’s Humbert.

Aside from being so creepy it made me want to double lock my bedroom door forever and ever, this bizarre fatherly omnipresence also promotes a discourse of ownership as opposed to love, care or even respect.
Within this struggle for youth and ownership the role of Disneyland is to provide a mecca of youthfulness in order to prolong the Disney princess- like innocence of the female child. So the daughter is whisked away from the privacy of her bedroom/iPhone in order for her father to get his final fix of her girlhood, before a rival male enraptures her and their relationship inevitably melts, as if the dynamic between a child and parent is even slightly comparable to lovers.
My main problem with this is the fetishization of female adolescence. A similar advert would never have been created with regards to the father/son relationship because the bond is so commonly represented as withstanding and mutual as opposed to smothering and outdated to the point of salaciousness. The advert enforces the idea that girlishness is akin to purity, and in its wake creates a patriarchal abhorrence towards puberty (aka: the bloody ruin of innocence) suggesting that there is something defiled about the transition from girl to woman.

After the brief halcyon of the final Disneyland trip, the father figure resigns himself to somewhat carelessly passing over his daughter to (and I QUOTE) “what was his name again?” Relinquishing himself of responsibility as she enters banshee-screaming-monthly-bleeding womanhood. With his wayward daughter safely in the arms of another male, father figure is presumably able to sit back in his armchair and get misty-eyed about space mountain, instead of maintaining a healthy relationship with his daughter not based on some Disneyfied, media-fabrication of family and innocence.

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