WWII’s ‘nasty and aggressive campaign by male pilots’ carried on by Disney’s ‘Planes’ in 2013

Yesterday, I posted about the upcoming documentary on the forgotten female pilots from WW2: “We Served Too: The Story of Women Air Force Pilots of World War II.” From the film:

These women flew over 60 million miles within a 2 year period…However, after a nasty and aggressive campaign by male pilots who wanted the WASPs’ jobs, they were the only wartime unit that was denied military status by congress…For many years the WASPs kept their achievements quiet. Their service in World War II would only be known by a few. They are not mentioned in our history books, nor is their story taught in schools.Their accomplishments of being the first women to fly in the military would even be forgotten.


I haven’t seen the documentary yet, so I don’t know the details of the “nasty and aggressive campaign by male pilots” which successfully erased the stories of these female heroes from our history books. But I am somewhat of an expert on current kid culture, and I can tell you that stories about female heroes continue to go missing right now.

In a recent post about Disney’s transformation of the story of “The Snow Queen” to “Frozen” I wrote:

Thousands of years ago, conquering armies smashed the idols of their victims and stole their stories, an extremely effective tactic to destroy a community and steal its power. Christians did this to pagans, but of course, this act is all over history. Just like the goddess morphed into the Virgin, girls are going missing under the guise of celebration. Right now, in 2013, Disney is stealing and sanitizing stories. It’s an annihilation. How long before we all forget the original story? Will our children ever hear it?


I am reeling from this WW2 story, not because of the sexism of the past, but because of the sexism today. Want to see some sexist male pilots? Check out this preview from Disney’s recent hit, “Planes.”

Plane One: What’s taking this guy so long? Is he really as good as he says he is?

Plane Two: No, better.

Plane One: Whoa! Who was that?

Plane Three: (Descending fast on top of the other two) Well, hello ladies! Ready to lose?


Plane Three goes on to leave the “ladies” in the dust.



When I saw that preview with my three young daughters, I thought the plane who mocks the slow flyers by calling them “ladies,” was having a moment of arrogance. The movie would redeem him when he went through his transition. But when I actually saw the movie, I learned that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The sexist joke is his fantasy, the fantasy of a humble crop duster with a fear of heights who wishes he were a racer. It’s the dream sequence of a “likeable” character. Can you imagine a hero making a racist joke and being likeable? In a movie for little kids? Yet, that’s how much sexism we have to wade through before a female flyer is allowed to win a race in animation.

Yesterday, I posted about a three year old girl in my daughter’s preschool who told a teacher she can’t be a pilot, but she can be a pilot’s wife. You can tell your kids, until you’re blue in the face, that they can be anything they want to be, but if you don’t show them, through images and stories, they won’t believe you. They won’t believe in themselves. Little girls are obsessed with princesses and ballerinas, and later, supermodels, because those are the few times females are allowed to be the star in the show. Everyone wants to be the star in their own movie, their own life, but girls, again and again, are literally, pushed to the sidelines.

If you look at the erasure of these female pilots from World War II, the government obviously participated in the sexism. Allowed it to happen and sanctioned it. This is not an isolated event of the past. How can we, literally, sit back and watch it happen again and again?

On my recent post about WW2 pilots, I got this comment from Abnoba

Lots of women in war have been missing and rarely mentioned in history books, and especially in movies.
There were women fighting in the USA Civil War
There were samurai women
The most powerful pirate of all the times was a woman
and there were female pirates
Even if they have to dress as a man, take the arms of a fallen soldier in a battle or work as a spy, there were women fighting in every war, because they have to defend themselves, their families and their homes, of course that they are not going to stay at home, just waiting and being killed, but you rarely see that in historical movies.


This from Mecano:

WASPs were great but the women pilots of WWII who were truly baptised in battle were those of the Soviet Air Forces.True warriors .I have many books about them.



British women also flew.Check for “Spitfire women”


And here’s a comment from my post on “Planes.”

“The actual race in Planes is totally dominated by male competitors.” How shocking! You mean in real life the actual race is not dominated by male competitors?… This stuff is silly nonsense.
This feminist whine that animated movies for kids should reflect “progressive feminist” values is the kind of thing that gives feminism a bad name. Why? Because it’s silly overreach as usual.
The idea that animators see machines that race (airplanes, cars, dunebuggies, drag racers, etc.) as a male world isn’t an irrational sexist bias – it’s simply reality. Males – and especially boys – are by nature gung ho about machines to a degree that girls are not is obvious to anyone not wearing feminist blinders. That it’s necessary to point this out these days is a comment on the nuttiness of the feminist whiners who are constantly arguing that these natural differences are not natural but socially imposed. It’s B.S. Boys and girls are different from head to toe and always have been and always will be.

Please show this picture to your kids. It’s likely they won’t see it anywhere else.


13 thoughts on “WWII’s ‘nasty and aggressive campaign by male pilots’ carried on by Disney’s ‘Planes’ in 2013

  1. I just wanted to say thank you so much for making this post on female pilots and the lack of recognition towards important female war heroes. As a female pilot in training, hearing about great female pilots is always encouraging especially when aviation is so dominated by males. It’s disgusting with what happened to the WASPs, it just goes to show the existing sexism towards females in our North American society. I’m so sick of it, but I’m really glad I found your blog.

    Thanks again for making this post, shortly after I found it I used the WASPs’ story and made a poem about them for an English Language Arts assignment.

    Oh and regarding the movie “Planes” I tried watching it despite having little hope for the story and characters being any bit original. Let’s just say that I gagged when the one female plane glomped the sidekick male plane, and covered him in kisses after he “whooed” her with music the previous night. It made me sick on so many levels, I’m so glad I only watched it online…

  2. The first time I heard about WASPs was in Carrie Vaughn’s amazing short story “The Girls from Avenger” (it can be found in the collection “Warriors” edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardener Dozois), and it also (and not suprisingly) deals with the sexism these women had to face.

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      • WASPs didn’t fly in combat missions so an actual “war” series like Pacific and Band of Brothers can’t be made.It can still be a great drama series though.I wish someone would make one. In general WWII war films and series with female protagonists are unfortunately very rare,both in Hollywood and in Europe.Ignorance is a problem here, people just don’t know how important women were in WWII and their great contribution to the victory of the Allies over the Axis so it is harder for such a film/series to be made.A small exception is female spies. Spy stories are popular in the film/TV industry and a couple films have been made about the brave young women of SOE and the French resistance.SOE had 55 female agents.13 were KIA or tortured to death.Some end up in Nazi concentration camps and never returned.
        There is a 2008 French film Les Femmes de l’Ombre
        starring Sophie Marceau about five SOE female agents and their contribution towards the D-Day invasions.
        It is a unique film-5 female protagonists in a WWII war film is unheard of.It is a well made spy/war thriller and Marceau gives the performance of her life.Her character is loosely based on Lise de Baissac

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  6. Margot it was not only the story of the WASPs that was erased, the stories of the British women pilots (ATA) and the women of VVS (Soviet Air Force) during WWII are also not well known .No-one has made a movie about them,sadly.US/UK women (ATA /WASPs) flew in non-combat roles, but in combat-like conditions and deserve veteran status just like the men.Nonetheless,unlike them, the Russian women in fact flew in the battlefront extensively ,during the war against Nazis.The Soviet Union was the first nation to allow women pilots to fly actual combat missions.I first mentioned Lydia Litvyak b/c she is a real legend in Russia.It took 8 Bf 109s German fighters to finally shoot down Lydia in her last stand in 1 Aug 1943.She was only 21.Some more to mention are Natalya Meklin (most decorated of the Night Witches) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalya_Meklin
    Marina Raskova famous aviatrix and creator of the three female Soviet air regiments http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Raskova
    Major Mariya Dolina http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariya_Dolina
    Ekaterina Budianova fighter ace second only to Lydia
    Anna Yegorova, expert pilot of the Shturmovik attack bomber .I mentioned her diary “Red Sky Black Death”.It is an amazing read.
    There is a long tradition of excellent women pilots in Russia.A reason for this is the massive size of the country,made aircrafts very important since the 1930s.The best woman pilot today is Russian her name is Svetlana Kapanina
    There is also an elite helicopter squadron, the“Hummingbird”,in Russian Air Force that consists of five female pilots.You can admire them here

  7. A few animal examples of female character erasure include the protagonist of Chicken Little and Krystal of Star Fox.

    Chicken Little was originally female, but he was made male because Michael Eisner thought a male protagonist would appeal better to boys.

    Krystal was originally going to be the protagonist of her own game, but she ended up being a damsel in distress in the Star Fox Games.

    One animal inversion to this female erasure is the three protagonists of Home on the Range. There was originally going to have one protagonist and he was male. The movie ended up having three cows (female cattle) as protagonists.

  8. In Spain, there are buildings and streets honoring the heroines of our wars (And there are lots of wars in the history of Spain, when we weren’t killing other people we were killing each other in some civil war or popular revolt) Like Maria Pita
    Agustina de Aragón
    Mariana Pineda
    Catalina de Erauso
    the milicianas of the Spanish Civil War
    and lots and lots more. Not because they are women, but because they are heroines. And still, there are a lot of people who think that a woman fighting in the wars in the past (and even today) is unrealistic, because they think that women are not strong enough, they couln’t use the weapons, that only men were fighting… In historic films, even in some fantasy films, women are victims, wives or daughters, a lot of times, the only thing important about them is their relationship to the hero. Is infuriating how frequently in historic fiction, men are people, but women are props to help in the narration of their stories; female characters wrote with limited personality, interests and any kind of effect in the story, besides providing “emotion” to the scenes (somebody who is waiting, somebody to revenge, somebody to care about)
    I love Role-playing Games like D&D, Call of Cthulhu or Castle Falkenstein, and convincing other players of what is realistic for a woman, and not playing as a stereotype is sometimes really difficult, because their images of women in the past are from films and books where women have a very limited role.

  9. OMG *facepalm* that commenter! That is EXACTLY what a sexist bias is! And planes anthropomorphized is not reality (is this person delusional?). And do they not realize that the ENTIRE point of your blog is that in the fantasy world ANYTHING is supposed to be possible (within world-building rules), therefore why is there so much carryover from reality to fantasy? >_< I just can't even…

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