Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snow White, Rapunzel, and Jesus (Part One)

This morning, I had a thought.  That in itself is not unusual.  I am one of those people who spends a lot of time in my own head.  Analyzing, contemplating, planning, wondering, hoping; just a lot of thinking going on, in general.  I feel pretty confident that most of my thoughts are not unique to me, but there are times when a thought gets stuck in my head that is counter to the message at large.  In those moments, I feel compelled to get it out of my head and on paper.  Even if no one else ever reads it, I feel an actual physical relief at getting that thought fully formed and written down in some sort of coherent form.

Back to this morning: it was a normal Christmas break kind of morning.  The boys were playing with their new toys, and Sweet E and I were working on making some Christmas treats while listening to the soundtrack of the latest animated Disney movie.  Since two of the main characters are sisters, Sweet E and I each picked a sister and were going through the songs singing the correct parts.  It was silly and relaxing and just plain fun.  Until...

See, this is where all this thinking of mine gets me into trouble.  It was all fun and games this morning...until the evils of the "Disney princess" syndrome crept into my mind.  You know,  the "we're doing our daughters a disservice by letting them watch movies where the princess is always saved by a prince" argument.  When I first read about this several years ago, I have to admit that I took the bait.  I clamped onto this idea like my youngest does an Oreo cookie.  There was no way I was letting go of it, no matter how much I loved the movies.  My daughter was not going to grow up thinking she needed a man to save her.

Time passed and my resolve started to soften, for some good and some not so good reasons.  The inescapable marketing of each new Disney princess movie reached my young girl and pulled her in.  She was so excited.  How could I say no?  (Don't judge.  I was young and didn't know any better!)  At the same time, I started rethinking the whole thing.  Why was it that I didn't want her to watch these movies again?  As a young girl myself, I loved it when I found a book or movie where a girl was the strong and brave character.  But, I equally loved the stories of valiant rescuers, epic battles, and the damsel needing to be saved by someone stronger.  Watching every Disney movie ever made, I didn't turn out thinking a man would solve all of my problems.  So, why had I thought that these narratives would ruin my daughter?  Disney had even turned the tide a bit and had started making their female characters strong and brave.  Was this even a real issue anymore?  A quick Google search told me that it was still an issue for a lot of moms, but being the mature (young) parent that I was, I said "Whatever!" and dove whole-heartedly with my kids into enjoying the beautiful music and epic stories of Disney movies, old and new.  And we loved it.

My daughter is 10 years old now, and with each new movie, there has still been a seed of doubt.  I reanalyzed my decision with every movie that came out.  I wondered if this was the one that was going to send my daughter off the deep end and cause her to turn into some girly-girl who did nothing but sit around and sigh and wait for her prince to come.  I second-guessed my decision everyday...until today, that is.  Now, readers, I have to ask you to hold on for a minute.  Partly because my kids are starving and waiting for me to make them lunch.  But also because this is turning into a way bigger post than I had intended, and I don't want to lose anyone before we get to the good part.  It is just around the bend, I promise.  Stick around for part two!

Part Two

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I for one am a firm believer that you teach your children what is real and what is tv. Now i am sure everyone would think i am a horrible parent as some of my sons favorite moves at the age of three was Freddy Krueger nightmare on elm street. we always talked to him about what just for tv and not real and what was real. when freddy got to be to much or he got scared he made the decision not to watch them any longer on his own. Now he is grown and he is an odd duck but he does not running around killing people and such. Kids need to have an imagination and need to be allowed to dream they need to question why things are the way they are think about how they would do some thing wether it be different or the same as they have seen some where.. On another note i love a good romance book and a happy ending to a good love story but do i love because i need a man no i love it because i love happy endings. I know i can stand on my own two feet because i have been there done that.there is a difference between "needing" and wanting to have a man around. the company is awesome and someone to talk to share things with. You have the most awesome kids and you guys are wonderful parents. Having said that they need to see and learn some of the not so good things in life to know how to react to them. so that you can teach them your values and be able to give examples and why you have the values you have if all they ever see is good they will not have a real expectation of what life has in store for them. I hope this made sense. Love you all and keep in mind they have you and Rob for parents and you guys are awesome.