(left, author with Minnie Mouse)
For some reason, girls play the male characters at Walt Disney World. For Canadian & American mutants, this was easy but girls from other cultures had difficulties.
“The Chinese girls were berated by the trainers over
and over, and finally they were threatened with expulsion from the
program. Tears and confusion followed. There was no doubt about it –
they were girls.”
by Grayling Barraclough
Recently I did the Walt Disney World college program. I worked at their Florida theme parks over a summer holiday season, as a “character performer.”
Like everything they do, Disney takes their characters very seriously indeed. After going through the standard interviews and a dance-based audition, I got the job.
Then began the training. I have always thought of Mickey Mouse as a male the mascot is usually played by a Mexican or Chinese – girl. I have never met a male Mickey Mouse. Regardless of who is in the suit though, they all have to act the same. That’s where the training comes in.
My core training group consisted of me (a British male,) two Chinese girls, a Mexican girl and a Canadian girl. After two weeks of intensive training with these girls, I was able to make the following observations.
The Chinese girls were extremely feminine. Although friendly they were timid, giggly and had a soft rounded energy about them. Although they were full of the joys of spring and a pleasure to be around, they were rather too childlike to be of any sexual interest to me. The Mexican girl was very quiet; her English wasn’t brilliant; she seemed very shy, but she was unquestionably feminine.
I sensed she was intimidated by me and wanted to avoid me. She was very physically attractive and perhaps she sensed that I was attracted to her.
She sensed what I might want to do, given half a chance to seduce her and she kept me at a safe distance. She never once looked me in the eye, and I respected her for it. And it made me want her all the more. This is how a young lady should behave faced with a male who is sexually interested in her.
The Canadian girl was a different creature altogether. I wouldn’t even call her a girl. She was more like a hybrid boy. She looked, and spoke, and dressed like a boy. She was surely, brattish and discontented. One of her phrases was “FML” which apparently meant “Fuck my Life”. Even though she was working at the self proclaimed “happiest place on Earth” she was constantly whinging or criticizing something. She was old for her years and bitter.
I was attracted to her about as much as I would have been attracted to a boy i.e. – not at all! Honestly, I wouldn’t have touched her with a ten foot pole.
It soon became clear though that the Canadian girl was the top student. Given that several of the Disney characters are male, that meant acting masculine.
I was told privately by a trainer that the American girls, the few that are small enough to fit in the costume, have no problem acting masculine. (I thought to myself – it’s acting feminine they have the problem with!). It didn’t take long for the Chinese girls to start experiencing problems.
Even though their English was good, they just couldn’t come to grips with the male characters. Their wrists were too limp, their hips tilted at the wrong angle.
They were berated by the trainers over and over, and finally they were threatened with expulsion from the program. Tears and confusion followed. There was no doubt about it – they were girls.
The Mexican girl did OK, she managed to play the part, even if it was through gritted teeth.
I was lucky — all of my characters, Goofy, Baloo, Captain Hook, and the Beast (from Beauty and the) were male. I can’t even imagine playing a female character.
The New World Order think tanks and corporate structure would rather we completely abandon our gender roles, and accept their androgynous version of reality, where we are all just genderless ‘persons’ (slaves).
What’s interesting though is when it suits them, i.e. when it affects their bottom line, as in the case of selling the traditional Disney characters to paying guests; then they are forced into absolutely accepting that men and women are eternally and irreconcilably different.
How long this will last is uncertain as Disney will doubtless have to bow to pressure for more and more androgynous characters. The Lion King springs to mind. How appealing androgynous characters will be is debatable.
In the meantime we all passed the training and got let out in the parks as characters.
I bumped into the Chinese girls a few times, they were always bubbly, giggly and pleased to see me. The Canadian girl kept turning up like a bad penny, always miserable, always griping about something. I never saw the Mexican girl again… unfortunately.