Why Disney Villains Are Actually Drag Queens

Why Disney Villains Are Actually Drag Queens

Everyone knows that Disney reinforces unrealistic beauty standards, but did you know that Disney appears to constantly equate gender ambiguity with evil?
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Everyone knows that Disney reinforces unrealistic beauty standards (perfect hair, tiny waistlines) and is often historically inaccurate (let’s not pretend the Native American genocide resulted in the settlers and indigenous people living happily ever after), but did you know that Disney appears to constantly equate gender ambiguity with evil? The same can be said of race and other physical distinctions, but those are a whole other story entirely.

Before I get into the details, I want to say that I recognize that Disney isn’t the only company guilty of perpetuating these kinds of prejudices, nor am I saying that it necessarily has some sort of racist/sexist/homophobic agenda. Like all other cultural entities, Disney was and still is a product of its time and continues to evolve accordingly. I am pleased to say that it has improved in respects to diversity and not demonizing “others”. However, it is no secret that both Disney and society at large still has a long way to go. So let’s take a better look at Disney’s faces of evil and see what they have to say about our culture.

Think about it: Ursula, Maleficent, Cruella, Madame Medusa, The Evil Queen, Queen of Hearts, Yzma, etc. What do they all have in common? For starters, all but one of the villainesses have harshly angular facial structures and masculine facial features accentuated with heavy, if not drag-esque makeup. “Drag queens” are men who perform a highly theatrical, or campy, form of femininity as part of their personae — a performance that has been read by some as a biting critique of stereotyped gender roles.

In fact, according to an audio commentary by John Musker, Ron Clements, and Alan Menken, members of Disney animation studio's leading director teams, "The Little Mermaid's" Ursula was actually based on the legendary drag queen Divine, who also donned signature white hair, arched brows, heavy purple eye-shadow and a bold red lip. Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" sports similar arched brows, dark purple eye makeup and red lips.

Madame Medusa from "The Rescuers" and The Evil Queen from "Snow White" also meet these three criteria. Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians" and Yzma from "The Emperor's New Groove" share these same features with the exception of Cruella’s eyeshadow being swapped for green and Yzma’s lipstick a dark purple. As mentioned above, there is always some incorporation of the color purple into the villainesses’ makeup or wardrobe.

Could purple in itself is purple, not quite only a “girl” or “boy” color (literally a combination of pink and blue), be illustrative of both gender non-conformity and evil? Curiously, very few of the Disney Princesses incorporate the color purple into their appearances. Although many utilize drag in order to challenge gender roles, Disney doesn’t give me the impression that their villainesses are meant to convey the same messages.

In contrast, the “good” Disney princesses and heroines like Ariel, Aurora and Snow White almost always have round and either cosmetic-free faces or very minimal make-up. With the villainesses, however, it feels as though you could prick your finger on any of their jagged features, which appear to be saturated with make-up.

The exception to the make-up rule is the Queen of Hearts, whose lack of heavy makeup also emphasizes her masculinity. However, the same effects are achieved - because she doesn’t display traditional feminine features or beauty, we are subtly conditioned to associate her with evil. Unlike those who criticize gender clichés with visual satire, Disney is only encouraging them — “true women" are youthful and beautiful (and naturally so).

Consequently, when the antagonists in films are continually fashioned to be “ugly” by conventional norms, audiences may begin to subconsciously comprehend those who may share similar physical characteristics in their own lives as synonymous in terms of morality. In other words, the perpetual combination of Disney Villainesses’ malaise and “ugly” aesthetics reinforce that those who don’t fit the criteria for traditional beauty also reflect an unnaturalness and perhaps, evil nature.

Now think about the male Disney villains: Hades, Jafar, Shere Khan, Governor Ratcliffe, Scar, Shan Yu, Dr. Facilier. What do they all have in common? You guessed it - deviance from gender norms. With the majority of Disney villains, this means physically appearing somewhat “feminine” or maintaining the “sissy” (and other traditional gender conflicting) archetypes . Hades from "Hercules" is a caricature of the, well... (literally) flaming gay man archetype.

In addition to his sassy sense of humor and conventionally effeminate mannerisms, Hades also possesses darker colored eyelids and lips reminiscent of eyeshadow and lipstick. When compared to the heroes, the “good guys” have little to no lipcolor, and if they do have lipcolor, it is almost always restricted to just the upper lip in order to “retain” masculinity.

"Aladdin's" Jafar, the only male to be dressed in a gown instead of pants and a shirt is also clad in full-on shoulder pads and, in addition to dark eyelids, wears black eyeliner. Shere Khan and "The Lion King's" Scar, although not human, also appear to wear “eyeshadow” and exudes the same effete aristocratic energy as Jafar and "Pocahontas'" Governor Ratcliffe. They all use precise articulation, draw out their s’s, and rise inflection at the end of their sentences - qualities society has decided sound “effeminate."

Accounts of anti-aristocratic sentiment likens male aristocracy with “delicate” women. This is similar to how gay men, due to assumptions that they were sexually docile, were synonymous with “delicate” women. Evidently, we see the same sex-related chauvinism displayed, but with somewhat differing logic. They also have “limp wrists”, something often associated with the “sissy” trope.

Voices aside, these Disney villains don’t look or behave in a way that aligns with masculine stereotypes. In addition to his refined English accent and mannerisms (he even lifts his pinky when drinking wine), Governor Ratcliffe wears pigtails with hot pink bows, a hot pink cape and appears to wear purple eyeshadow. During his very theatrical musical number, he’s also clad in a sparkly gold outfit.

Although the other male lions in "The Lion King" also have a slightly darker eyelid color, Scar’s is much more severe and he also appears to have dark “eyeshadow” that extends to his bottom lid like eyeliner. "Mulan"'s Shan Yu, quite possibly the scariest looking Disney Villain, also has a haircut indicative of femininity, as he is the only male character in the movie to wear his long hair down. His unnaturally yellow and black-colored eyes (he should probably get those checked out) appear to be heavily lined in black eyeliner, emphasizing that Shan Yu may not be as masculine as his male, and possibly even female, counterparts.

Dr. Facilier from "The Princess and the Frog" also has similar mannerisms to Jafar, has the same kind of voice as Hades, and has dark eyelids and lips. His attire includes a necklace and tight crop top, two things contradictory of traditional “masculinity”. Again, purple, not quite only a “girl” or “boy” color (literally a combination of pink and blue), seems to be the color of both gender ambiguity and evil.

So what can we take away from this? Do villains and villainesses look the way they do primarily in order to emphasize the hero’s masculinity or femininity and therefore, goodness? If this is true, does this teach young children that conventional male and female attractiveness and behavior suggest whether a person is morally upright or not? That someone in real life who doesn’t conform to or meet these standards are inherently evil? That there is no room for shades of gray (or purple?) in gender?

Furthermore, the main goal of many Disney princesses seems to be to meet her “prince charming” and live happily ever after with him, and the gender non-compliant villains always threaten this dream with their evil agendas. Does this reflect society’s irrational anxieties about the fabricated “gay agenda”? Certainly, one doesn’t need to be gay to present in a way that doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles.

Gender presentation has nothing to do with sexuality. However, because many have made the gross oversimplification that divergence from traditional gender roles equates to being gay, it leads me to believe there may be value to scrutinizing the minutiae tucked away in the pages of the fairy tales that is Disney, as they may have much to say about how society processes gender.

I don’t know if this stereotype stems from society’s disinterest in exploring complex characters or if we are so simple-minded that we need to make sense of the world in binaries. Regardless, I am hopeful that with proper exposure and education we will be able to overcome such cultural and ethical hurdles.

The next time you watch a Disney movie, a movie targeted at youth, or any movie for that matter, pay more attention to what physical appearances, voices and mannerisms have to say about each character, their relationship to traditional gender roles and their morality.


Cover Image Credit: Movie Pilot

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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The Zodiac Signs As Bath And Body Works Scents

Just in case you want to know what scent you are!

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Bath and Body Works fans could be considered to be part of a cult. The scents draw you in as if calling your name, if you ever
wondered what your scent should be based on your zodiac sign, here it is!

Aries: Country Apple

The rather impulsive Aries takes their time picking and choosing the scents from Bath and Body Works. The soothing scent of a fresh apple orchard is just what they need on a daily basis to keep up with their shenanigans.

Taurus: Japanese Cherry Blossom

The personality of a Taurus is stubborn, or what I like to say, is stuck in their ways. When they first discovered this scent in middle school, this was it. This is the only scent you will find anywhere around a Taurus.

Libra: Pink Chiffon

Pink Chiffon is another cult classic. This best selling scent went out of style for a hot second but is back and bigger than ever.

Leo: Thousand Wishes

Thousand Wishes is a purr-fect scent for a Leo. The light scent adornes the wearer just the right amount to get the desired reaction from those around them.

Aquarius: Be Enchanted

The rather cold personality of an Aquarius is counteracted by the loving scent of Be Enchanted. The scent is just enough tenderness for the wearer to be relaxed.

Gemini: Moonlight Path

Gemini's constantly change their favorite scent and are in and out of the store almost weekly to by new lotions, candles, and body washes. You will never see a full empty bottle of anything, however, Moonlight Path is the scent they keep coming back to again and again.

Virgo: Sea Island Cotton

The clean personality of a Virgo must be matched with the clean scent of Sea Island Cotton.

Capricorn: Cucumber Melon

Another clean scent of Cucumber Melon is the exact thing a Capricorn needs. The balance and calming scents are what make this scent so attractive to a Capricorn.

Scorpio: Paris Amour

The light scent is what you would expect from an extreme sign like a Scorpio. The scent lightly washes over the wearer in almost a cloud that

Sagittarius: Cashmere Glow

Cashmere Glow is a perfect scent for the winter sign. The vanilla and golden peach scent is just the mixture that creates the perfect accessory in the chilly months.

Pisces: Warm Vanilla Sugar

This lovely scent accentuates the lovely personality of a Pisces. They can never get enough of this scent so they just keep buying and buying until they have a full stockpile.

Cancer: Velvet Sugar

Velvet Sugar is the perfect blend of red velvet and strawberries and a Cancer is always changing their mind. The wearer can tell if it is a more red velvet or strawberry kind of day, and that is the balance that they need in their lives.

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