Friday, August 27, 2010

oh oh.

As frequent Disney passholders, as well as a mama with girls who love the Princesses, I struggle with the underlying themes in the movies, versus the fun and magic that my girls are drawn to.  Pretty sad when you stop and get all philosophical about it...
But something to think about, perhaps talk through.  
Parenting is complicated.
Beautifully, wonderfully, complicated.

48 comments:

  1. I agree. I love these movies and can't wait for my daughter to get into them, but at the same time I am worried about what she will take from them. I guess I need to stay on my toes. :)

    ps I am a LONG time follower but just never comment. I really love your blog. We have similar stories, the sad one, so I relate to your blog in a different way then other blogs. Thanks for such a beautiful blog for me to read. :) You can find me at My Junk Drawer.

    http://kristensjunkdrawer.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. i TOTALLY AGREE but i've always been a Disney Princess lover myself as well but I never read into them as demeaning or degrading but i can see the stand-point now...but i know shelby will just love them for the reasons I did :)! Little mermaid is STILL my fav! this did make me laugh :) lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh whatever- we all want a little wish fulfillment and fantasy. i think it's all pretty harmless. anything can be turned on its ear if you try hard enough (i graduated from a top law school, and that's one of the things i learned there! ha!)

    i just wrote a post on my blog last night about disneyland and what it means to us...you know, it really can be magical and so healing.

    after my identical twin daughters were stillborn, i went to disneyland almost every week, and it was one of the few places where i could forget (for a few seconds) about my grief...

    so i am grateful to that place.

    here is the post:

    http://www.theurthmama.com/2010/08/its-small-world_26.html

    xoxo,
    erika

    ReplyDelete
  4. So, does anyone realize that these movies are based off of stories written hundreds of years ago? It's not Disney's fault for the themes of these movies.

    Also, if we as mothers are so worried about what our girls will take away from it, there are a couple of different options... You could not let your girls see them (because we all know they won't have a decent childhood if they don't watch them) OR we as moms can reaffirm what we want our girls believe as they get into the awkwardness of growing up and dealing with the standards of this world.

    If a daughter did start to believe these things, I don't think it's fair to blame Disney or even the Grimm Brothers or any of the other original authors. We as moms have the most important role in our daughters lives and have more influence on how they will view their worth in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So true. So true. Parenting is complicated. It is a toss up on so many things. I would have to say what I say and do seems to leave the biggest impact these days though. If I am frustrated and find myself yelling and getting upset more often my boys have been doing the same. Then I get frustrated at them for doing it. Hmmm...I am thinking I am the real problem here. Man it is so hard. If I dress appropriatly then when my boys see other women Not dressing appropriatly they think it is wrong. Interesting. I have actually really been thinking about this lately. Seems to put pressure on me...but also make me realize how much they really do learn at home. I know my boys are young so that may change. But, I guess it also means I better stay on my toes too. Sigh. Thanks for the thoughts today. You always get me thinking. Happy Friday to you Friend.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You know, I never thought of it that way. But that makes sense. I love to let my daughter watch the princess movies, but right now Tinkerbell is her favorite. Of course, I'm not sure how good of a roll model she is with her temper...

    ReplyDelete
  7. As mothers, we want to protect our little ones from all that is negative. Far better, we should strive to provide them with strength and good tools to fight against what is evil. We must teach them love and kindness and Truth, little by little, as they are ready, like a baby switching from milk to solid foods. We must help them learn to walk in this fallen and imperfect world because (all too soon) it will be their turn to enter the world of adulthood.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You know what. Here's my thought on those movies. First, young girls are too young to see those underlying ideas. The films are not created for people our age they are created for young girls. To them they only see the magic, fun and enchanting stories.

    Secondly these themes are themes that have been present in fairy tales since the beginning their existence. In older fairy tales women are meek, somewhat stupid, and nothing more than trophies. In contrast the Disney princess are often intelligent, witty, caring, generous and have strong values.

    Thirdly they teach other important lessons. For example in Beauty and the Beast young girls learn about honesty, loving someone for who they are, understanding, being yourself and tolerance. In the original story Beauty is a brat who demands a special flower and throws a temper tantrum to make her father break into into the beast's castle to get it. I much prefer that kids get the Disney version.

    And fourthly, these films inspire girls to be creative and use their imaginations. I can't tell you how many hours I spent as a child pretending to be Ariel. I think I turned out just fine and with a healthy amount of feminism.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes! I totally agree. I've thought about that for years. Especially, The Little Mermaid. We actually don't own that one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh dear.

    Sad how accurate those are...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Another long term follower with a first comment!

    I have a 6yr old who can spot a Disney Princess a mile off. She has already told me that when she grows up, she will meet a handsome prince & live happily ever after (why spoil the dream with tales about Princes not picking up their pants?)

    She also likes Barbie - who I thought was a bit trampy, however watch a Barbie DVD. Girlie yes, but she always wins the day, girl power style. I have to admit, Barbie rocks!

    Lx

    ReplyDelete
  12. julie gets dark.

    this is so true.
    and it's so sneaky and easily accepted by everyone.
    interesting.

    the other theme in all disney movies....dead parents!
    one or both.
    always dead.
    what is that about?!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree too.
    I do love Mulan! Although it kinda makes you think you have to be manly to win the show right? lol.

    That's why I like disney movies like 101 dalmations, fox and the hound, and lady and the tramp. And well anything mickey.

    It's really hard, we just got back from the most amazing trip to disney, and my daughter (2 yrs) got to meet mickey and minnie... the only charachters she recognised! She doesn't really watch tv or movies though (she was born with hearing loss and is learning to speak with hearing aids -- tv isn't very helpful with that).

    I worry about the prince saves the day/happily ever after stuff. The reality is, even if you find a prince marriage is hard work and we have to let our children know that life isn't all roses, but it's worth it. It's hard that the most popular disney movies don't show this at all.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a problem with them. Some of those barbie fairy books were almost worse though. I was just glad my daughter seemed to outgrow it pretty fast once she got into school.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I personally agree with you. I think the messages can be troubling at times and not just in princess movies. But I think it also gives us the opportunity to talk about these things with our kids, to reflect our values and what we believe. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. great post
    i love those writings and yes, i agree with you

    ReplyDelete
  17. My beef is how they define beauty. I have no problem with the stories per se, but I'd rather my daughters define their own beauty than be shown that the package only looks a certain way. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Okay, I have to disagree here. There are things that bug me about Disney movies (why oh WHY do they only ever have one parent. I mean Aurora has both, but she is raised by fairies in the forest, None of the woman pictured have mothers (unless you count the wicked step variety).

    Belle is really smart and chooses to be smart even though people in the town only care about her looks.

    Jasmin wants to find someone that she loves, not someone that wants to marry her because of her status.

    Cinderella is kind and thoughtful and humble even in less than favorable conditions.

    Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were definitely made in a different time and I think that the messages in the movie really show that. But personal cleanliness (Snow White) and Dragons are bad.

    I think that everything we watch or listen too is going to have more than one message. It is just our job to help draw out what message it is we want our children to learn and teach that lesson to them!

    ;D

    ReplyDelete
  19. I loved princess movies as a little girl. And I don't think I ever looked that deeply into their relationships. I just liked the singing, bright colors, fun characters, and action.

    My daughter loves these movies. She says Belle is her favorite because she loves to read and loves her yellow dress. Maybe it really is just that simple.

    ReplyDelete
  20. i agree. in fact, we don't watch any of these movies. am i going to hide them forever? no...but honestly, we've tried a couple before & the girls were seriously disturbed. OF COURSE we can pull out the good parts and emphasize the positive character qualities, but right now? they aren't missing it & i'm okay with that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I totally understand where you're coming from,but do you think some of these thoughts are more modern than the movies themselves? I know that sounds confusing but what I'm trying to say is this-I thought Cinderella came out long enough before thoughts like this became part of our society(ie womans rights). Sometime I wonder if we(and I'm not pointing out you in particular)don't go a little deeper into things than we need to. Take Barbies for example. Now we say things along the lines of "they give girls unrealistic goals of perfection", but Barbies have been around for much longer than the whole "to be beautiful you need to be 20 pounds under weight." I guess *I'm* the one going too deep now but the post made me thing!

    Btw,I love Belle and Cinderella! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. agreed...i struggle with this as an adult! although, belle's always been my favorite because i feel like she's the least...um, ridiculous?

    ReplyDelete
  23. My daughters (now 8 and 10) always joked about how useless some of the princes were, in particular Erik from the Little Mermaid, and Charming from Snow White. Erik moans and groans most of the time. I guess he has a moment at the end...and Charming? What does he ever do? We liked the prince from Sleeping Beauty whose name now escapes me. At least he goes AFTER his princess!


    The evil step mother/no mother theme worried me a little too, but I have strong Disney-raised girls who love me!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I guess I'm more of a cup half full kind of gal and tend to see the more positive messages that come out of these stories than anything. I would have to say I'm more worried about my daughter reading Twilight when she is older. Talk about sending wrong messages about love. But that is a whole other can of worms!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I couldn't agree more. I struggled with even letting my daughter see these movies at first, but once she did, it sort of took on a life of it's own. She is also CRAZY about Barbie, which she discovered at a friend's house. Barbie has a lot of redeeming qualities, but the super skinny, beauty thing really gets to me.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I agree! I agree, It's tough and complicated and as much as I don't like princesses... truthfully, I really wanna be a princess when I grow up. I really do. I can't help it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I totally agree with you. I've been a bit conflicted on the whole princess thing too. And when we saw Princess and the Frog I felt that was their darkest movie yet. Lots of new age themes in there to talk about (which we did).

    ReplyDelete
  28. Stories on the whole...are FLAWED. You can't get away from it! Hansel & Gretel..loved it as a kid! Hmmm..two small children lured into the forest to be abandoned by their parents and picked up by some old lady with a candy house who wants to eat them...DREAMY!
    I think as long as we're not letting these stories and fairytales RAISE our children..and we're still the most prominent voice influence in their lives...a little princess talk and fairy dust won't hurt :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. if everybody thought THIS hard about every single thing...we would go crazy and find flaws in everything

    ReplyDelete
  30. true. but, all I can say is that I grew up LOVING (as in: I requested to watch Beauty & the Beast {or, as I simply called it: "Beast"}) Disney princesses (and, well... I still adore Disney) and I was not at all affected. I wan't looking for these "hidden messages" ;)

    ...then again, I continue to be shocked by what some kids are allowed to watch!! I have a kindergartner in my class this year that watches all of the twilight movies... they're playing in her mom's minivan when I put her in the car!!

    still - this cracked me up. (love it, Julie...you're awesome)

    ReplyDelete
  31. As a grandma of 4 and 5 year old grand daughters who love to watch Disney, I am disturbed by the cynical, hopeless comments you have for the "Disney Princesses". My daughter sent me this site and so I took a look. Yes not many of us are born "beautiful" by the world's standards, or smart and pretty but our inner beauty I believe is nurtured in hope. God tells us if we believe in HIM, HE will give us the desires of our heart. And your comments don't leave much room for hope in anything. Let them be children and play make believe. Give them the love, attention and kind words that make them feel just like a princess. Tell them how much God loves them and wants their happiness in His service. There is enough of the harsh realities of life in this world to kick the box out from under most of them eventually. But they can then know God is their only hope for true happiness. I am an independent woman, a believer in Christ Jesus as my Savior, who picked her prince charming 45 years ago. We have our ups and downs, but we love each other and accept that we are not perfect looking, or thinking people.That maturity comes with age and experiences. I was that little girl who when I saw Cinderella when it first came out, believed I would grow up and marry my prince and I did. There is just too much going on here to make the innocence of these movies into some horrible influence. I am sure the feminist movement would applaud you for your comments. I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom and loved it and was happy to do so. It did not bother me or diminish me to hook my wagon to my husbands star. I am his support and helpmate. I was very involved in my children's lives since their father traveled a lot. So beautiful, or not, let the girls have hope in their futures. They don't have to do as I did, but they will find away and have more self esteem to face their future. It is a lot better than Miley Cyrus and some of the other worldly role models.

    This is all my opinion, but I wanted to speak to giving the girls hope, in themselves, and in God. As parents we are remiss if we do not.

    Thanks and be blessed.

    Mamaw Martha

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh Julie you never disappoint. I totally see you heart and agree. I dont think any of what you said was false and I don't think it was reaching either. However I do see both sides. My Hubby and I are always on a constant journey to letting our kids be kids and shielding them from the junk of the world. There are SO many things in EVERY genre that is just junk (don't get me started). I simply say in all things glorify Christ and live by the motto of 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' That being said I DON'T thinks there is a clear decision about Disney or any other 'fad', but I do know when we (individually) seek the Lord and find his path for us we are NEVER disappointed. And as always, as Christians we aren't supposed to look like the world, sometimes doing what he has called us to is awkward and uncomfortable, but it's worth it. As my husband and I always say bring on the criticism, because we only get ONE shot at raising our kiddos and WE are the only ones responsible. {{{HUGS}}} <3 Jenni
    PS I'm always SO annoyed with the underlying themes in kids movies!

    ReplyDelete
  33. julie,
    i love this:)
    smiles,
    gina
    ps-i left you a little sumthin' sumthin' on my blog:)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You ~Ron

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have 2 girls, and so this kind of stuff sits funny with me too. I remember just adoring Disney movies as a kid, the songs, the colors, the stories. But as a mom I don't like them, but do I make them the wierd kids that never watch these movies? Hard call, huh?

    Instead of abolishing these movies entirely, I try to point out real love and the true beauty of a woman every chance I get to my girls. I did a Beth Moore study on Esther over the fall and it really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to build up my girls because our culture will try its hardest to tear them down. Sigh. Good thing I don't have to rest in my own power to do it!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Too bad they left out Tiana from the Princess and the Frog. There is some sweet Voodoo theology in that movie.

    But it is not really complicated at all - those chicks have hot, realistic bodies. Size 18 waists? Such a great goal.

    My daughter loves those princesses and so far she is not completely messed up from them. But yes, we have to talk through some stuff and I am sure there will be more talking as she gets older and starts to process more of it. Almost every Disney movie has a dead parent or evil parent or absent parent, too. Why Disney, why?

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is so ironic...I have been pondering similar ideas for the last few weeks also. My girls both LOVE princesses, but I have been struggling with the underlying messages of the movies they always watch. I'm glad they also love Princess Petunia from Veggie Tales!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I just want to say that I grew up watching these movies and I loved them! BUT....I have ALWAYS hated my size 9.5/10 feet. I look back and realize how I have always wanted small cute feet (cinderella) and not have ugly huge clown feet (step sisters) yes I truely think these movies affected me deeper than I thought. Just a little input...:)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think it's sad and ironic that today's adult women are worrying about how Disney movies and pop icons are negatively influencing their daughters, when almost 50% of marriages (both non-Christian and Christian) end in divorce. Seems like we should be sitting around writing blogs about how WE as modern-day women are negatively influencing our daughters, by teaching them that it's okay to leave our husbands, their daddies, when life gets too rough. As a teacher and counselor, one of the most significant traumatic events in a child's life is a parents' divorce. Talk about trust issues, body-image issues, forever searching for "mr. right," the constant pursuit of happiness (which in our society equates to money), etc... Perhaps our generation should look in the mirror and recognize what we are doing to our children.

    ReplyDelete
  40. OK so I am just catching up on my reading but the comments are hilrious. (Though they would make me cry bc I am hyper-sensitive and many are very very rude.)

    I love that people bring God into this. You did what you thought (I assume) was a light-hearted post and people make it about religion and all sorts of dramatic over-the-top stuff.

    You made a point. A good one,I might add. If people disagree and can't say so in a respectful way, then they need to keep it to themselves. I think people get high from leaving nasty comments. What Disney princess would ever do that?!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Loved this...thanks for posting.
    Parenting=educating children
    My girls and I talk about what we see, and how our values fit in-that's the key.
    LOVE your blog, your heart, your message!

    ReplyDelete
  42. All I know is that the Litte Mermaid really bugs me. At least in the story she dies and doesn't get what she wants after disobeying and selling her soul. I am glad that I didn't run away from a loving father and family to be with the boy I was in love with at age 16.

    ReplyDelete
  43. all the drama is too funny for such a lighthearted little picture.

    I'm the mama who won't let her daughters watch most Disney movies. But we're not partial, they don't watch hardly any movies or tv. And yet, my girls LOVE the Disney princesses and Tinkerbell. go figure!

    ReplyDelete
  44. LOL, I love when my 4 year-old points out the craziness in the movies!LOL!! My question is always "Where are their mom's?"!!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'm way behind and it's likely no one will read this, but just to answer the question so many had, "Where are the mom?" I lost my mom at a young age. I never told anyone because once they found out I was treated differently. I didn't want to be treated differently. I wanted to make it in this world on my own merits. But my point is that the mom's are gone on purpose because it automatically endears you to the little girl. In real life you would feel sad for a little girl with no mom. Anyway just because I'm already typing I will add that Disney movies never hurt anyone. My husband and I laughed hard when we read the descriptions. So funny. I'm going to repost it on my blog so my friends can laugh at it too. www.behrendfamily.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

I love sunshine, happy people, and the power to delete. Sparkles! Rainbows! Unicorns!