Latter-day Saint Life

Disney fandom and religious faith: Why this scholar keeps finding parallels

Mickey And Minnie Mouse Welcome Everyone To Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
The internet is debating religion’s role in Disney fandom after a Reddit post from a “Disney adult” went viral
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It all started with a Reddit post. A couple asked fellow members of the site whether they were bad people for choosing not to serve food at their Disney wedding in favor of paying for Mickey and Minnie Mouse to stop by. Soon, a surprisingly large chunk of the internet was debating the eccentricities of Disney fans who are no longer kids, a group that’s known as “Disney adults.”

Jodi Eichler-Levine, a religion professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, joined the fray on June 6, sharing the Reddit post on Twitter along with some thoughts on why Disney adults deserve more respect. Many people see Disney as an important source of meaning, she wrote, noting that, in some cases, Disney fandom is much like a religious faith.

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Her tweets, like the Reddit post before them, were shared widely—and often mocked. Other religion scholars and plenty of regular people, as well, took issue with what Eichler-Levine had said. Some felt that her comments were heretical, while others accused her of being too protective of Disney adults.

“Twitter is not good for nuance,” Eichler-Levine told me during a phone interview last week.

I had reached out to her to hear more about why a religion professor was studying Disney. Here’s what I learned about Eichler-Levine’s effort to understand the brand.

Kelsey Dallas: How did you end up studying Disney as a religion scholar?

Jodi Eichler-Levine: It’s unusual, but I’m definitely not the first.

Read the rest of the interview with Jodi Eichler-Levine on Deseret News.

Find a more in-depth article from Eichler-Levine on the parallels between Disney fandom and religious faith here.

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