"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Monday, July 28, 2008

1930s Sexism: Disney Edition

A while back, Feministing pointed out this unfortunate example of sexism from Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s.

Remembering that and how disappointing I found it, my fiancé Dan (an animator) just showed me this recent post at Cartoon Brew as evidence that Disney apparently wasn't all sexist all the time back in the 1930s. It seems they at least tried to make an effort to stop sexual harrassment in the workplace:


(Click to enlarge.)

This Disney Studios inter-office memo from 1939 states:

Attention has been called to the rather gross language that is being used by some members of the IBT (Inbetween) Department in the presence of some of our female employees.

It has always been Walt’s hope that the studio could be a place where girls can be employed without fear of embarassment or humiliation. Your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated.
Being the junior feminist that he is, Dan pointed out that the memo still referred to female employees as "girls", and that its format only allowed writers to address each other as "Mr.".

I'm sure I would have seen that, too. I was just too busy noting the misspelling of "embarrassment".


Anonymous said...

That "girls" really stuck out to me. Maybe I'm not a male anti-feminist troll, after all!

Rachel said...

That's more like it!