Disney’s Cruella Adoption Narrative

Cruella de Vil is my guilty pleasure Disney villain. I love that she’s a strong and confident feminist and was not afraid to express her opinions in the 1960s. I hate that she’s an animal killer and wants to kill puppies.

So naturally when Disney’s Cruella premiered I had to watch it ASAP. And wow, it left me with complicated feelings (both good and bad). As an adoptee I felt the adoption narrative and story arch was not needed. It reinforces specific adoption and parent tropes that can be triggering for adoptees and parents who adopt. I know people who have told me this movie is triggering for them. Disney keeps doing this over and over again and it’s never addressed… hence why I’m writing about it now.

We’ve seen the “surprise! You’re adopted! We did it for your protection and look at all you’ll inherit”. We’ve seen it time and again in media. It creates a giant plot twist and blows all of our minds as audience members. Can’t think of examples? Well let’s see… there’s Luke Skywalker (and Leia Skywalker) from the Star Wars franchise, Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, Loki from Thor and the Avengers franchise, most superheroes like Superman, Credence Barebone from the Fantastic Beasts movies, and the list goes on and on and on. Don’t get me started on TV shows…

So I decided to write a blog post elaborating on the adoption narrative and the parent narrative in Disney films. You can read it on my personal blog, The Disney Villain Scholar.

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