- The Washington Times - Friday, July 3, 2009

Disney’s ‘hetero’ bias

A pair of researchers at the University of Michigan say Disney films make opposite-sex romances seem too special and magical, giving children narrow and misleading ideas about love.

Many of Disney’s most popular musical cartoons follow a compelling yet predictable storyline that features a beautiful young woman who pines for love from a handsome man and encounters struggles from outside forces that must be defeated before they can be together. Disney movies such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Little Mermaid” and “Pocahontas” and others follow this model.

“Characters in love are surrounded by music, flowers, candles, magic, fire, balloons, fancy dresses, dim lights, dancing and elaborate dinners,” Emily Kazyak and Karin Marti wrote in the latest issue of Gender & Society. “Fireflies, butterflies, sunsets, wind and the beauty and power of nature often provide the setting for - and a link to the naturalness of - hetero-romantic love.”

The analysts also complain that the films use “overtly feminized women and masculine males” and market toys such as dolls and fairy costumes that do the same.

Ms. Kazyak and Ms. Marti examined G-rated Disney films that have grossed more than $100 million between 1990 and 2005 for the study.

A press release about the study contained a White House-themed political message as well.

“President Obama may have declared June to be Gay Pride Month, but entertainment for children therefore continues to perpetuate a less inclusive message, leaving those outside its confines with little to build their own dreams of happily ever after,” it said.

HIV travel ban

A notice from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shows the Obama administration is seeking to lift a rule that forbids those infected with HIV from entering the country.

If the HIV travel ban is lifted, the virus that causes AIDS will be removed from the list of “a communicable disease of public health significance” that disqualifies foreigners from passing customs.

In the late 1980s, Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina was a proponent of the ban, leading the effort to get it codified into law. Since then, it’s been of particular concern to the gay advocacy groups who recognize the policy disproportionately affects gays and lesbians. These groups have urged lawmakers to repeal the ban, gaining support from some such high-profile Democrats such as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Government agencies, however, can repeal the rule without any action from Congress, although it would be a lengthy process. Although OMB posted its notice last week, lifting the ban would take at least several months as the Department of Health and Human Services goes through a required public review and comment process.

‘Gayby boom’

Add this phrase to the ever-expanding lexicon of made-up politically correct terminology: “gayby boom.”

The phrase, which refers to the increasing number of same-sex couples who are adopting children, has turned up in mainstream press outlets like CNN, the Associated Press and USA Today, among other publications.

The number of children adopted by same-sex couples is not officially counted by the government, but a 2007 study by the Urban Institute estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent. More than 16,000 of them, according to the study, are living in California.

Quotable

Sen. Roland W. Burris, Illinois Democrat, offered his candid thoughts on the purpose of marriage during Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade on June 28.

“My concept of marriage is a male and a female for the perpetuation of the species, for children to be born and identify the bloodline and the heritage,” he told WBBM, a Chicago radio station. “But I’m pretty sure, as things are moving along, that that will probably change.”

Although Mr. Burris appeared at the Gay Pride Parade, he says he does not support gay marriage. He favors civil unions instead.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected]

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