Is Disney’s ‘Onward’ a Step in the Right Direction for Inclusion or Another Example of Blatant Tokenism?

So I wasn’t sure whether to talk about this subject today, but it’s something that’s extremely important to me so I felt I should share my perspective. So when I heard that Disney Pixar was incorporating an LGBTQ+ character into it’s latest film I was obviously very excited by this prospect. Especially when I found out it was going to be a female character. But this is a prime example of expectations versus reality. Whilst I was expecting some beautiful Disney gay princess this is what we got:

So I have multiple issues with this:

The Appearance

Whilst I was expecting some beautiful and gorgeous Disney princess, I got this. I’m not saying this character couldn’t be considered beautiful but I don’t think young girls are going to see her as a role model. Her one eye and manly figure wouldn’t look out of place in Monsters Inc. and just feeds into negative portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Stereotypes

Obviously because the character is a lesbian she had to be very butch because apparently femmes don’t exist in the world of Disney and also a police officer. I mean could you get anymore stereotypical. I’m imagining a few Disney executives sitting in a room and thinking ‘What job would a lesbian have?’ Oh yes a police officer.

The Small Screen Time

Whilst I haven’t personally seen the movie and don’t plan to, I have heard that this character is only a side character and doesn’t have that much screen time or exploration. Appearing in one scene and casually throwing in a comment about her ‘girlfriend’ to get across that she’s gay. I think if Disney were really going to commit to this cause they could have at least gave us a main character and a little more exploration or character arc. Just another example of a brand/franchise throwing in a token LGBTQ+ personality to please both sides of the argument, whilst not upsetting traditional parents.

Maybe I’m being too harsh and other members of the LGBTQ+ community are just pleased to have been included but I feel the character is not an accurate representation of our community and is painted to look like some sort of freak. I feel this is a blatant example of lazy tokenism with a big company just trying to please everyone by I throwing in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ LGBTQ+ moment. Can we please try and do better for our LGBTQ+ characters in Film and Television.

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