I have a bone to pick with Disney. Here I am, single mother of two kiddos, trying to instill discipline, structure, rules, boundaries and all the other ‘mean mom’ amenities to their lives, and Disney is walking behind me one movie at a time slowly undoing all my mommy work. I love Disney, I love Disney World and I love all the movies. But their movies are giving my child some wacky mixed messages. Kylee already has to decipher different rules under different roofs every other weekend. But now she is left to translate why Thumper doesn’t have to listen to his mom but she has to listen to me? Apparently the answer “because he is a rabbit and you are human” doesn’t suffice for Kylee. So I am turning to Disney for some answers. Please explain:
1) The Lion King. The lesson here is what, exactly? I suppose Disney is trying to demonstrate that we all have responsibilities we might not like, but we can’t run away from our problems….What I got from it was even your own family will be jealous of what you have, potentially try to kill you and your dad, all for the sake of success and control and that its all ok because the ends justify the means. What Kylee learned is not to trust any creepy uncles.
2) Cinderella – Ok I love love love this one. This was actually one of my favorites growing up. Being a single divorced mom of a 4 year old daughter, you might know where I am going with this. This fairly tale engrains a very unrealistic fear of step parents into children’s minds. Growing up I assumed all step moms and dads secretly held their kids captive like Jaycee Lee Dugard. Kylee likes to use her magic wand and bippity-boppity-boo her shoes into the closet. Sure the fairy godmother hooked Cinderella up with a sweet ride, a fantastic gown, very breakable and blister inducing shoes and got to work her A-game on the prince and was ultimately rescued from her illegal captivity and lived happily ever after. I guess the message here is supposed to be Dreams really do come true…. The actual message that is received, sit in your terrible situation, do nothing to help yourself and eventually everything will work out for you. Oh, and the first man you meet will be THE ONE. Awesome!
3) The Little Mermaid – Another one of my favorites. I used to splash outta the pool like Ariel and flip my hair back and bowing my flat chest out just imagining I had knockers like hers…at 16…Well apparently this spoiled rotten golden child wanted more than she had, she makes a deal with the sea devil, her father’s arch enemy, trades her voice for legs, gets on land, acts like a mute retard and still seems to win the prince over (refer back to knockers). But realistically, Ariel never would have met the ‘man of her dreams at 16’ had she not sold her soul to the devil, figuratively speaking. And does anyone notice that she is only 16 and getting married?!!! Please explain to my 4 yr old the difference between a license to drive and license to wed! No Kylee, you can’t get married at 16, I don’t care what Ariel did, now go watch the Disney channel…wait, wha?! So the intentional message was true love conquers all… But what I saw was a little compromise with the devil, disobeying your father is all justifiable as long as it all turns out okay in the end.
4) Beauty and the Beast – Ahhh nothing better than a Disney movie to support abusive relationships. It’s ok if he has an anger management problem, stick around and try to change him, make him better, for you. There’s probably a prince underneath all that wrath anyways. I am assuming the message here is to treat others the way you wish to be treated. But was I the only one who saw that the beast held her captive in his castle? (what is it with Disney and holding people prisoner?) nothing says ”I love you” quite like kidnapping. So be patient girls, if your man forces you into things against your will, snaps at you, growls in your face, just be patient because in the end he will transform into a sexy, romantic prince.
5) Aladdin – Spoiled little princess Jasmine is so sick of being rich and pampered and living the life of luxury. Bless her little heart. Let’s teach our youngsters early on that no matter how good you got it now, if you sneak out at night there is bound to be something better in the streets. And by George she found it! Her true love, who turns out to be a THIEF and a LIAR. Buuuuut, he had a good reason to lie, and steal, and cheat his way to the palace. Right? The youngsters take an unsupervised carpet ride to a few different countries, wearing next to nothing, make out, destroy the evil politician, Jafar and his annoying bird, free a genie and live happily ever after… OH, the thief and liar ultimately becomes a prince, because they somehow deemed him worthy of the title… The message here was….I’m actually completely lost on this message. Ohhhh wait, was it something about Aladdin being a diamond in the rough? Yes, that’s it. Go get your diamonds girls! They are out there in the “rough”
6) Alice in friggin Wonderland – Acid. Enough said.
This post doesn’t mean I don’t adore Disney, because I do. Every time a movie comes out of the vault we are next in line at Target. I just believe some of their messages are difficult to explain to my child who seems almost hell bent of finding every loop hole possible to break the rules and disobey authority. Look no further Kylee, pop in a Disney movie and take notes.
But it would mean the world to me if Disney could make a movie about a supermom who, even though she has to discipline her children, still loves them more than anything in the world, and the child magically becomes obedient and respectful, and the family lives happily ever after. Yes, No, Maybe?