Gender Parity in Disneys Tinker Bell Game
Disneys website Pixie Hollow is set to become even more popular with its surprise addition of a male fairy in its list of fairy personas based upon Tinker Bell. Kids can enter this online world and create their own fairy personas in order to play games and to interact with each other. Until now the only option that children had was to wear a pair of virtual wings and be a female fairy.
Disney has now introduced a boy names Slate who is a variation of the Tinker Bell character so that boys too can have a chance of playing the various games on the site. It also gives girls the opportunity to step out of their female personas, if that is what they want. This might come as a surprise to most parents, but girls who wanted to bend the gender rules on this site have always done so, albeit by making their fairy personas taller than the average and with shorter hair.
Needless to say, Disney has not gone so far as to term Slate a fairy boy because he is called a Sparrow Man.
Well built by Pixie Hollow standards, Slate is still very elfin and slim in comparison with other Disney male characters.
Tinker Bell was first introduced in J. M. Barries novel Peter Pan and Wendy. She has been one of Disneys most enduring characters and has captured the imagination of countless little girls since she first appeared in the Disney 1953 blockbuster Peter Pan. She has since appeared in TV features, and even in starring roles in movies under her own name.
Disney has long capitalized on her immense popularity by selling toys, dolls and games featuring her. That Tinker Bell also has her own section of Disneyland called Pixie Hollow is a tribute to her popularity. From a business point of view, she is Disneys way of retaining their hold on children that Mickey Mouse would have created.
It is obvious that her attractiveness is not limited to little girls. Parents of little boys have had to come up with creative ways to let their little boys play in Pixie Hollow. The most common way that they could blend in and participate in the fun was to create a person with very short hair and a name that could easily be a boys or a girls.
That the addition of a boy persona was very overdue was revealed by the comments of visitors to the site. It is certainly about time that Disney opened the doors of Pixie Hollow to little boys as well, and not assume that only girls would like to play there. Children are surprisingly pliant and they do not follow the same hide bound conventions as adults do. For them, this is just another great way of playing online with their friends of all genders; the same was as they play in the classroom or in the playground. Adults could do to learn a little from children now and again, and Tinker Bell is just another case in point.