Donald and Daisy

Gary Leach bangfish at
Mon Nov 12 17:39:32 CET 2007


> Here, we see Donald beat Daisy to what would be pulp normally.
> And it's not funny.

Fair enough.

> Dr Wertham would have found his job already done for him with this  
> story; he might even have said that the ending shows beating Daisy  
> was not enough; even her true self  is violent at the end, rather  
> than thankful. He would have concluded she (and women, through her)  
> was depicted as evil, and/or that Donald had not beaten her enough  
> (a woman needs a good beating).

This is a more problematic assessment. I didn't take that meaning at  
all. You do say that you didn't think the creators meant to convey  
it, so it would appear were both taking things more subjectively here.

> I'm sorry if  my criticism sounded harsh (towards the authors and  
> Gemstone). If  it were not for this climactic beating, the story  
> would be okay; but I can't find any justification for one character  
> so graphically beating up a female character (or children if  that  
> had been the case) in a Disney comic.

I don't think you were being harsh. You explained your views well and  
honestly. And, as you've probably discerned, your points interest me.

This one in particular: above you venture the statement "…but I can't  
find justification for one character so graphically beating up a  
female character…", which is perfectly straightforward. But I have a  
problem with the object's adjective, which leaves us with the idea -  
my extraction, not your intent - that it is okay for a male character  
to be beaten up without justification.

That's actually the idea that sits at the center of how things work  
between Donald and Daisy. This story may take it a bit farther than  
usual, but we've seen the dynamic in action in countless stories over  
the years, where Daisy has been depicted as a thoughtless, selfish,  
reactionary shrew who thinks nothing of beating Donald to a pulp  
verbally and/or physically on the slightest pretext. It's a horribly  
dated stereotype of the female psyche, yet Daisy is still saddled  
with it, and Donald still takes the abuse with equally stereotypical  
male aplomb.

Here we have a story where Donald finally responds to Daisy's abuse  
in kind...sort of. Donald's justification for beating up the  
possessed Daisy may seem flimsy, but it's still far sounder than  
Daisy's justification for her relentless hammering on an unpossessed  
Donald. More generally, we've got two characters who visually appear  
to be physical equals, assigned gender roles mainly through dress,  
and while the one wearing the ribbon is allowed and even expected to  
express a bullying pathology, the one wearing the sailer hat, though  
similarly temperamental, shocks by doing the same.

I'll be straightforward myself: I've never found Daisy's abuse of  
Donald funny. I accept it as a convention of long standing, the  
wholesale rejection of which would cause unassessed rejection of a  
great deal of material. When a story comes along that actually forces  
that convention out of its usual channels, or at least pokes it in  
the eye, that gives it a leg up in my book (so to speak). Whether it  
ultimately entertains readers is, of course, another matter.


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