It’s Good to Be Bad: Resistance, Rebellion, and Disney Villain Merchandise
In the interest of unlocking the process by which the “bad” became the “good” on Disney’s Main Street USA (as a substitute for how the marginalized becomes accepted in mainstream USA), this essay explores examples of historical counter-readings and reclamations of villains such as the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Captain Hook (and other Disney pirates), which manifest themselves in contemporary theme park merchandise, attractions, and events. Mandracchia examines how Disney guests perform their affinity or “fandoms” for villains. Tourists enact counter-readings of these characters, performing against the prescribed script, identifying with villains, and reclaiming villains as positive figures who represent American values. The records of guest interactions with souvenirs, attractions, and events are artifacts, which serve as testaments to the endurance of the historical villain counter-readings explored throughout this study.
KeywordsDisney world Villains Fan culture Otherness Big bad wolf Evil queen Pirates
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