In 1994, a book entitled Politically Correct Bedtime Stories became a number one bestseller, says Celia Walden in The Daily Telegraph. “How people laughed” at Cinderella’s fairy “godperson” and Snow White’s seven “vertically challenged men”. But almost 30 years on, Disney is close to making this satire reality. In its latest remake of Cinderella, the heroine becomes a “progressive fourth-wave feminist” who refuses to be scooped up by her prince (“I can walk, it’s faster”). The dwarves in the next Snow White film are being replaced by “mythical creatures”, and there is pressure to make the kiss awaking the heroine from her eternal slumber “consensual”. Disney World Florida has replaced its traditional welcome of “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” with the more gender-inclusive “Dreamers of all ages”.
The hypocrisy of all this is breathtaking. While Disney flaunts its right-on credentials in the US, it is expanding its streaming services into places like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya, “countries not known for their rainbow flag-waving stances”. Indeed, the company has censored gay references from its films to make them palatable to China’s “repressive communist regime”. Enough of this cynical virtue-signalling. Right now, we need the Disney we grew up with – the “madcap, escapist, fun-loving” version – more than ever.