Today is a monumental day in theme park history. Bearded folks of the world rejoice! You may now work at Disney resorts and still maintain your manly prowess…well sort of. Sorry Seven Dwarfs, Dopey is really the only one who still qualifies.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that companies have the right to determine how they want their employees to convey professionalism through their appearance and legally they have every right to enforce this but I still think that Disney is missing the proverbial steamboat on this one.
Currently the LA Times noted that Disney mandates the following:
✓ No visible tattoos of any kind are allowed.
✓ Body piercings are limited to earrings on female cast members.
✓ Extreme hairstyles and hair colors are not to be sported.
✓ Women were finally allowed to wear sleeveless shirts in 2010, but the straps
must be at least three inches wide.
Additionally, the “cast members” as employees are called (because they are “part of the show”), aren’t permitted to date one another either. Sorry Captain Jack Sparrow, the Little Mermaid is off limits. Furthermore, while beards will be permitted – only those shorter than a quarter inch are permitted.
Now aside from wondering who the creeper is assigned to enforce said protocol you have to wonder what time period that Disney executives think they are living in?
Just a friendly heads up to the leadership at Disney, we are talking about what people look like at a theme park. Theme parks are known for their oddities and yours is the king of oddities with a storied list of questionable ethical practices to boot. Now, I certainly understand such enforcement if someone wants to portray a character that doesn’t have a beard or tats or piecing’s – I get that. But, in my opinion, there isn’t much that could make the “It’s a Small World” ride at Magic Kingdom any creepier than it already is – so let’s not blame that crime against humanity on some poor bearded worker who will inevitably be scarred for life by that working environment. If the real concern is to present a family friendly environment then I want to emphasize a very important point to you all: Beards are family friendly.
Want proof? Here is some that is practically undeniable (sarcasm folks).
Beards Foster Relationships
The source of all knowledge, Wikipedia (again sarcasm) tells us that, “Charles Darwin first noted a possible evolutionary explanation of beards in his work The Descent of Man which hypothesized that the process of sexual selection may have led to beards. Modern biologists have reaffirmed the role of sexual selection in the evolution of beards, concluding that there is evidence that a preponderance of females in the past found mates with beards more attractive than mates without beards.” So see Disney, beards are good for culminating relationships. And this is good news for me too because my wife married me before I grew my beard. So now she can rest assured because, according to Darwin – Oh yeah- I have become even more attractive (either sarcasm or unbridled arrogance).
Beards are Associated with Philosophical Wisdom
Families want a smarter Disney and, call it what you will, but people associate men with long beards as being wise. This obviously has early origins back before the ancients understood the scientific sophistication and power of the triple blade Gillette Mach 3 TURBO. While this is only a cultural perception at best it does prevent Disney from making the generalized stereotypes about cultural perceptions regarding the intelligence of those sporting them. By the way men, I am not suggesting that growing a beard will in any way make you look or actually become smarter. Everyone knows, of course, that having a beard has nothing to do with actually being wise. The famous Syrian – Lucian – is quoted as saying “If you think that to grow a beard us to acquire wisdom, a goat with a fine beard is at once a complete Plato.” It should though be noted that Lucian was a both a famed rhetorician and satirist and is widely known to have been beardless.
Beards are a Visible Sign Against Political Oppression
Families don’t particularly look forward to oppression on vacation. Beards historically fight the power. The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities tells us that the paranoid emperor Domitian once ordered philosophers to be banished from Rome, and many shaved their beards to disguise their profession. It might totally be a coincidence but Domitian was assassinated in the year 96 – So watch Yo back Mickey! Roman men were later “encouraged” to shave their beards to distinguish themselves from the Greeks whom they had so conveniently co-opted much of their culture. So, for a long time, having a beard was thus given the social depiction by the empire of being a person marked with slovenliness and squalor. While a Greek revival in Rome and the flourishing of Christianity overcame this imposed stereotype such ideas came back into fashion in the 15th Century that most European men chose to be clean-shaven as a sign of social status. With the Protestant Reformation though came the re-emergence of the beard in full effect (Word, John Knox). But in the 17th century beard oppression reared its ugly chin once again as Peter the Great ordered men to shave their beards and in 1705 levied a tax on beards! (Don’t even think about it Mr. President!) The beard wearers fought back in the late 1800’s but the advent of Madison Avenue marketing and, you guessed it, The Gillette Safety Razor Company, took its toll on the beards of the world. Then in the 50’s beatniks and hippies began to fight “the man” and Disney imposed its anti-beard policies. If history has anything to say about it, Disney is surely going to have to hire someone to regulate that quarter-inch limitation. My bet is that Goofy gets stuck with that job.
Finally – Families Equate Beards with Morality
It’s true – and if you believe that then I have some swampland in Florida to sell you. Oh wait you already bought that and built the Magic Kingdom there? My bad. But think about it, Moses had beard and he brought down the Ten Commandments. Jesus has a beard and he instituted the “Golden Rule” and welcomed the little children. Even famed preacher C.H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying that growing a beard is “a habit most natural, scriptural, manly and beneficial”. So WWJD? Well we know now don’t we? So be like Jesus Disney, and permit your male “cast members” to grow a beard and to welcome the little children. This of course is infallible theological logic.
In All Seriousness Though,
The point is that we live in an age where the vast amount of people who are customers of Disney are no longer threatened by beards, piercings or tattoos. In my opinion, it’s time to for Disney to get with the times with regard to their work force at the Magic Kingdom/Empire. Because a Disney experience shouldn’t be about what people look like on the outside but should instead be about the thrill of imagining a world set free from worldly concerns…