Monday 21 December 2009

Disney damage?

Oh, Disney.... What are you doing to little girls? How is my daughter to grow up to be self-confident, self-assured and INDEPENDENT watching your movies? Don't get me wrong. I love the Disney movies. Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin.... They are all wonderful movies with great music.... but.... the message.... Oh. The MESSAGE!!

I took Baby Girl to see Disney on Ice: Princess Classics yesterday. She is now 5. Very impressionable and trying to figure out how she - and everything else - fits into this world. It's a black and white world right now. As we were sitting there thoroughly enjoying the show, I'd have these little jags of worry about what Alexandria was actually absorbing. As princess after princess got herself into an awful predicament, prince after prince was there to save her! What would those poor princesses do without their knights in shining armour?! No one else around them could possibly help them. And heaven forbid they have their own strength, courage and intelligence! How would they ever go on without a man to protect them, lead them, RESCUE THEM?! And, of course, most of their goals were to somehow find a price to live happily ever after after.

Now before you get all over me about positive role models in Disney, I know there are some. Belle does a fairly good job. Sally, the female lead in Cars, is a good example. She's the town lawyer. She's doing fine on her own. She's not looking for someone to come and save her. She doesn't fawn all over Lightning McQueen, in fact he has to pursue her a bit.

What prompted this post? Being hit over the head again and again and again with the message that a girl needs a strong man to come a take over so that things will be ok. Princess Classics was a microcosm of female weakness and dependence - dressed up in pretty, frilly, flowing gowns.

Now, reading this you will likely assume I didn't like Disney on Ice: Princess Classics. On the contrary. I absolutely loved the show. They did a great job with costumes, effects, timing, music, sound. The set was amazing. Alex loved how the castles changed. It was a wonderful experience. Alexandria and I both intensely enjoyed ourselves. And we had cotton candy and popcorn for lunch . Good mommy? Bad mommy? Depends on your perspective, I guess.  :)

Alexandria even commented how wonderful our seats were (we were seated in the second highest row). "Mommy, I can see everything from up here!"

These little twinges of concern surfaced only once in a while and made me wonder about the bigger picture. How much of this really sinks in? When my 5-year-old is trying to make sense of this world she inhabits, what is being burned into her brain? How much of that message is being subliminally reinforced every time she sees the princess being saved? I don't know. What I do know is my husband and I make a conscious, concerted effort to make sure BOTH our kids know they have the power within themselves to do whatever they want to do, like whatever they want to like, and be whatever they want to be.

I was very pleased when, on the way home, our subway had a shift change and a new driver came on board. Our new subway train operator was woman. And it was noticed by our daughter. I added, "See? You do anything you want to do."


mom2peaches said...

cool last paragraph... :-)

AbsolutCJ said...

My 5y.o. son asked me if I'd fixed the light in my bedroom. I said yes, that I changed the lightbulb. And the look of shock on his face was quite funny. Then he said "I didn't know girls could do construction!" Where do they get these ideas from? I guess from us - his dad did all the handy work - and would "involve" DS in that. Me? I would just go do it. We'll, now that I'm on my own he's going to see me do more of that kind of stuff! It's time I role model different things for him.

JackiYo said...

It's amazing what they pick up, isn't it? I'm defintely much more conscious of things since having kids - or at least I try to be!!

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