Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel--Good for Girls?

Disney has purchased Marvel and Bitch magazine is pondering the effect of this purchase on girls. I am too. Like my students I want to know what this purchase means for grittier Marvel fare like (like Deadpool and Punisher) and like some comics scholars I'm pondering the challenges and opportunties that come from being a part of a large (to say the least) corporation like Disney. But as the mother of two girls who consume a lot of Disney media (the obsession with the Jonas Brothers grows daily; "Squirrels in My Pants" is on constant YouTube loop), I do wonder what this might mean for them.

People seem to want to make a stark divide between girls' and boys' entertainment and read this purchase as Disney's way of regaining market share with boys, market share they've given up by focusing on girls' enterntainment like Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. But what do we do with a girl who likes both Hannah Montana and superheroes? What if Disney, because they're already so tapped into the girl market, recognizes the possibility that girls can like fairies and princesses and rock stars with double lives at the exact same time as they like Spider-man and Ms. Marvel and Elektra?

Obviously I don't think Disney is going to become a bastion of progressive feminism any time soon, and I fully recognize that it is a corporation that exists to sell my children stuff, but I'm also not convinced that the stuff it sells my kid is all bad or problematic. (Which calls to mind thoughts on The Frog Princess, which I will share another day.) This is all to say I think there's great potential in this Marvel/Disney merger, potential that Disney, because it may ultimately serve their bottom line, may very well tap into.

1 comment:

evf said...

I'm very interested to read your view on this. When I first heard about the merger I was horrified. I have a pretty grim view of the Disney enterprise and high regard for Marvel. My girls haven't been ingratiated into the Disney princess way of thinking as I my personal preference leans toward Pixar--and their joint venture with Disney seems to have worked out just fine. I guess we'll have to wait and see.