PHOTOS: Si and Am of “Lady and the Tramp” Removed From Disney Cats Trading Pin Set Due To Outdated Cultural Depictions

Jessica Figueroa

PHOTOS: Si and Am of “Lady and the Tramp” Removed From Disney Cats Trading Pin Set Due To Outdated Cultural Depictions

Guests looking for a Disney Trading Pin booster pack to express their love for all things feline have turned to the Disney Cats set since its debut back in 2015. The set features a number of cats from different animated classics such as Oliver from Oliver & Company, Lucifer from Cinderella, Marie from The Aristocats, the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, and Figaro from Pinocchio.

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While the set has always included a sixth pin featuring Si and Am from Lady and The Tramp, recent discussions on outdated cultural depictions across Disney media and merchandise has led to the replacement of that pin for one of Rufus from The Rescuers.

Si and Am, two twin Siamese cats named after their heritage of Siam (currently known as Thailand) made their debut during the 1955 Lady and the Tramp film. They’re sinister cats, making a mess of the apartment and pinning it on poor Lady, but the public’s issue with these minor antagonists comes from their depictions of Asian stereotypes, given their exaggerated squinty eyes and bucked teeth. Seen through today’s social lens, these characters were problematic even during early stages of development for the film, as earlier versions of the storyline had the two cats appear as an evil pair, suggesting the “Yellow Peril.” Granted, this storyline was drafted in 1943, when Disney Animation was well-known for its production of WWII propaganda films in support of the war.

You’ll notice that these two cats were most notably absent from the recent remake of Lady and The Tramp for Disney+. The pair were replaced by female counterparts Devon and Rex, named after a popular breed of cat that emerged in England during the late 1950s.

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The removal of Si and Am from the Disney Cats pin set is a conscientious one, but it sparks an important question of whether they’re just going to retcon them out of all Disney merchandise and media completely. The Aristocats, another relic of 1970’s animation, is rife with cultural stereotypes, not to mention its blatant disregard for class struggles in France during the early 1900s. As Disney moves forward, it will have to consider adding even more content warnings to aging items from its media library, as well as modifying pin sets and merchandise like the Disney Cats set, to better appeal to today’s audiences.

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Me, as a die-hard The Rescuers fan, I’m glad to see Rufus get some love. He’s a rare character that never seems to get much attention, and I’m all for promoting the adoption of elderly cats (especially if they wear spectacles and a tiny red scarf.) However, it seems rather hasty to just pull all of the Si and Am pins as somewhat of a reactionary decision by Disney, instead of retroactively addressing cultural change.

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If you’re a fan of Rufus and need more Disney Cats pins in your life, you can get this set at Pin Traders in EPCOT (or wherever pin sets are sold) for $32.99. If you’re a Si and Am fan, do you think they should’ve been left as part of the set?

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This is why we need House of Mouse on Disney+.

For what it’s worth, the latest Dooney & Bourke Disney Cats pattern did feature Si and Am, but as they appeared in the animated sequels (and my personal favorite, the direct-to-video Mickey’s House of Villains) without overly squinty eyes, and with normally spaced fangs.

Author

  • Jessica Figueroa

    Jessica lives in South Florida with her 15-pound cat Gordo and a small army of Tsum Tsums. You can contact her, ideally with photos of your cats, at jessica@wdwnt.com.

9 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Si and Am of “Lady and the Tramp” Removed From Disney Cats Trading Pin Set Due To Outdated Cultural Depictions”

  1. If you think about things long enough and dig hard enough, you’re bound to find people who are offended by just about anything Disney could do. Maybe people who are visually impaired are offended by Rufus wearing glasses. Maybe PETA supporters are offended by cats being forced to wear hair bows and scarves. I don’t know what the right balance is between being culturally sensitive and preserving animated history the way it was originally presented, but I do know that it’s a very slippery slope once you start pretending like certain characters and scenes never existed. Where does it end?

    • Speaking as a “visually impaired” person myself, no one is offended that characters wear glasses. In fact, it’s great representation. And no one should take the opinions of PETA too seriously; they’re an extremist group.

  2. This was really well written! What a thoughtful article…I really enjoyed it.
    And my Si and Am pin from my own cat starter pack were always on my “traders” lanyard, but I may need to consider moving them to keepsakes now! 🤔

  3. Nooo! I love Si and Am! As a cat person, they were my favorite characters in “The Lady and the Tramp”. I just loved how gleefully mischievous they were.
    I realize now that they played on negative Asian stereotypes, but the film was created a long time ago, when the US was at war with Japan. If Disney plans to remove EVERYTHING from their movies that could possibly offend somebody, we will lose a lot, culturally and historically.
    Poor Si and Am. I hope they won’t be utterly banished from Disney merch from now on.

  4. If it’s true they were removed to stay ‘P.C.’ I’m very upset by this. One of my mom’s favorite character pins to collect are Si and Am. I understand the original stereotyping of them was bad, but is anyone really complaining about how offensive they are? Can we not keep them around as a lesson of how different things were in society decades ago? Erasing them entirely from Disney merch isn’t the right thing to do in order to cover up a past mistake and I hope Disney will change their mind.

  5. I think this is a more ridiculous argument than I can recall seeing. Seriously people need to find something constructive to do with their lives. Cats by nature, are destructive and silly at the same time. The cats look like the real version in as much as any cartoon will look. I love most things Disney, but lately this pushing upon us all these ‘politically correct’ mumbo jumbos is annoying. Real life remakes changing the nationalities, excluding animals because () and they have even adjust Mickey and friends to some ‘new’ type that remind me of Ren and Stimpy. Something I never liked but with Walt saying we muct never lose sight of the fact it all began with a mouse, simply is annoying they changed him. Mickey we love would never act harshly the way the new one does. Ugh! It is annoying.

  6. This is getting ridiculous. You have to have thicker skin. If a pin, or an outdated stereotype annoys you you have a lot more in life to be worried about. If you are that easily swayed you need a checkup from the neck up.

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