• Tue, Apr 19 2011

Disney Thinks Women Can Run About Half Of A Marathon Because We’re Like Fairies

Ladies, you’ll be happy to hear that we now have our very own marathon at Disney. It’s called the Tinker Bell Marathon, and guess what — it’s only half a marathon! That’s right, because it’s geared towards our subpar athletic ability.

OK, I’m kind of kidding. Kind of. But you’d think that there would be a better way to announce it than what’s in the OC Register:

Disneyland Resort is set to hold a new half marathon event geared for women in January, the company announced Tuesday morning (today).

The first Tinker Bell Half Marathon events are scheduled for January 27 to 29 in Anaheim. Men are allowed to register, but the half marathon is mostly targeted for women.

Aside from the fact that that is poorly written, it also announces it in such a way as to suggest that really, men can do the Tinker Bell Marathon, but why would they want to? This is for girls.

Oh yes, and that’s the other thing; women who run marathons aren’t Tinker Bells. They aren’t flitting around and pouting because their manchild crush is helping Wendy learn how to fly. They don’t need you to clap for them so they don’t die. All they need is a good pair of sneakers.

So maybe next time you create a new marathon for the double X set, you could name it after…oh wait, there aren’t any strong female Disney characters. I guess that’s why they think we can only handle half a marathon.

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  • Jamie B

    I am not offended by Disney sponsoring a Women’s Half Marathon. A half marathon is a much more attainable goal than a full marathon, and a lot more women can get involved and participate in it. I didn’t get the “women are inadequate and men shouldn’t bother with this girly thing” vibe from the announcement, either. I actually think it’s good that they are aiming this at women – considering that women are often overlooked/underestimated in athletic events. “Men can join in but they aren’t going to be center of attention like they usually are” is how I read that sentence. Sorry, but I feel like this is an overreaction.

    (Also, Tiana was pretty freaking awesome…)

    • Eileen

      I totally agree with the “Men can join in but they aren’t going to be the center of attention” vibe – and I think that if you’re going to aim an athletic event at just one sex, you’re better off making it something that more people are likely to do so that you’ll still have lots of participants. As another commenter noted, it’s not as if there’s a Tinker Bell Half Marathon and a Prince Philip (or whoever) Full Marathon aimed at men.

  • Kelly Hays

    Agreed, Jamie B. To say that they’re aren’t any strong Disney women is a joke in itself. just because the stories themselves are predictable traditional slightly unmodern love stories, doesn’t mean the heroines aren’t strong role models. I think of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, who was more interested in literacy than the hunky Gaston, or Mulan who saved China from the Huns at this risk of shaming her family, Tiana from Princess and the Frog who wanted to be a respectable business owner, or Ariel, who wanted to break the mold from her father’s expectations. Yeah they’re all archetypes, but they’re not weak just because they end up falling in love at the end of the movie.
    If you’re going to get mad at this, then get mad at Komen too, for using PINK to celebrate boobies and gearing their marketing towards women as well. (Seriously, Komen is amazing, I was just saying that if you pick apart things that are geared towards women, they ALL rely on some level of gender stereotyping to sell. It’s life!)

  • theComplex

    Well… I like this idea and see TInkerbell more as fiesty and vindictive.

  • Ally

    Were you this outraged when the Disney Princess Half Marathon started at Disney World in 2009?

  • Hannah Beth

    I imagine they chose Tinkerbell because she is both feisty, and a Pixie, meaning small, and half marathons, though no small feat, are certainly smaller than full marathons.

  • Meghan

    Well, I’m offended. Even if it were a full marathon named after Tinkerbell, it would probably still sound condescending to me. And where did they find the picture for this article? Tink looks like a stripper posing for her MySpace profile picture. But, what do we expect from Disney, it’s not like they’ve had a long-standing tradition of respecting women…or gays…or Jews…or moustaches. I’d like to think that the REAL women are running full marathons through national parks or supporting worthy causes with their fully capable athletic abilities.

  • Rowany

    I also beg to differ on not having strong female Disney characters. Mulan was no-holds-barred kick-ass, and as while Simba was eating bugs in the Lion King Nala was doing the actual hunting. Just sayin’, although I agree they are rare in Disney, as is having a living, loving mother (in which these two movies are also exceptions).

  • Goldie

    Yeah, I really don’t see the “women are inferior” angle. Perhaps if they advertised a full marathon for men. . . but I don’t know if that’s the case or what, if any, other marathons or athletic events Disney sponsors. Tinker Bell wouldn’t be my pick either, but like other commenters said, it’s Disney, what did you expect?

    Also, Disney did not just invent the half-marathon. It’s a major athletic feat in itself. marathon : half-marathon is not like “boy” push-ups : “girl” push-ups. gah

  • Caro

    I agree wholeheartedly, Jamie B! I’ve ran two half marathons before (one of them the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January) and now I’m setting my sights on a full marathon. 13.1 miles is a much more doable, injury-free distance than the full, and I know I would not even consider doing a full marathon without having successfully completed a half. It’s a stepping stone to the full distance for those who choose to see it that way, and for those who don’t, running 13.1 miles without dying is nothing to scoff at! Also Disney is responding to increasing female participation in long distance running. It’s nice to have our own race!

  • Jesse

    Disney does numerous runs throughout the year which are advertised to all sexes. Their advertisements for the full marathon in Disney World is usually about 50/50 with men or women models. Disney has only one full marathon that they do a year and numerous ones smaller than that. The reason Disney has included multiple races geared just to women is that women make up more than half the number of runners in a given race and there’s a demand for this type of race. I’m assuming they used Tinker Bell because there are numerous female (and male to be honest) runners that dress up in Tinker Bell costumes for every race.

    I feel that based on the tone of this article the author potentially finds sexist remarks in their alphabet soup…