It started as far too many modern trainwrecks do: with a tweet.
A branch of Planned Parenthood in Keystone, Pennsylvania blasted out a message of perhaps well-intentioned inclusivity that immediately misfired. Riffing on an outdated meme about Disney princesses, the since-deleted tweet read:
“We need a Disney Princess who’s had an abortion
We need a disney princess who’s pro-choice
We need a disney princess who’s an undocumented immigrant
We need a disney princess who’s actually a union worker
We need a disney princess who’s trans”
It’s doubtful that the social media manager who wrote this tweet thinks the world actually needs all of these movies right now. While an immigrant Disney princess might put a humanizing face on the nightmare experienced by many children whose parents are being deported in ICE sweeps these days, calling for a child-friendly Obvious Child reads like ironic exaggeration to the Extremely Online eye. Unfortunately, whoever did write the tweet must not have realized that this is exactly the wrong time to feed Extremely Online conservatives a straw man to chuck a pitchfork through.
Kermit-voiced YouTube philosopher Jordan Peterson, who is enormously influential with college-age MAGA-bros, has made it a pet project to convince his minions that Disney movies are liberal propaganda. Frozen, in his estimation, only exists to demonstrate that men are Bad; whereas in Peterson’s preferred Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, the titular character “is raised out of her unconsciousness via a delivering male.” This Planned Parenthood-affiliated tweet is exactly the kind of thing Peterson and his ilk would pounce on. Although this particular champion of male grievances has been silent on Twitter thus far–YouTube is his preferred medium–others have already taken up the cause, including the president’s son.
We need Disney Princesses that let kids enjoy childhood rather than subjecting them to never ending identity politics. #DisneyPrincess
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 28, 2018
This budding talking point, destined to be trotted out as “proof” that this is the future liberals want, has no right to exist. It stems from a single tweet that reflects the point of view of exactly one employee of one branch of Planned Parenthood. It doesn’t reflect some vast shady conspiracy to get abortion-related content in Disney movies. In reality, most left-leaning Disney lovers understand that such grown-up topics do not belong in animated family movies—and most are more focused on whether it’s even remotely possible that Elsa could get a girlfriend in Frozen 2. Unfortunately, the original statement is already being amplified as “a Planned Parenthood tweet,” even in neutral-skewing media outlets like USA Today, as though the entire organization stands behind it. That’s a problem.
The reporting on this non-story, and the way it’s discussed online, will determine whether it’s cited for years to come or eye-rolled away. Hopefully, the majority of media outlets choosing to report on the deleted tweet will cover it responsibly–as the misguided dispatch of one rogue branch staffer. False representation is how social progress remains a fairy tale.
Have a look below at the entire statement from Melissa Reed, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Keystone, regarding the tweet: