I don’t think I’m overthinking this.

Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve been less and less impressed with licenced characters like Dora or the Disney princesses. I just don’t like the idea of my paying to advertise some character. It’s hard to find plain toddler wear though. When shopping for items like nightgowns, swimsuits or panties, I discovered that almost all my options involved some sort of character.

Aviana recognizes the princesses, and we do own most of the DVDs because I bought them for myself before I children. But now I find myself becoming diametrically opposed to their existence.

One of my main objections is the Disney idea of true love. I don’t mind Beauty and the Beast because Belle falls in love with the character of the beast. She and he actually have time to get to know each other and learn about each other’s true self.

But in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, supposedly it’s true love’s kiss that awakens them, when they’ve only shared one slow dance or duet together!?

I wonder how much this kind of subconscious indoctrination leads to the attitude so rampant in young ladies that going home with a total stranger after a night out at the bars will lead to true love. This was the experience of many of my college peers; trying to create a relationship from a foundation of one night of passion.

Aviana saw a book of Disney princess stories at the library yesterday. Instead of making an issue of it, thinking that sometimes the forbidden is even more appealing, we brought it home. As a specific example, I present to you one story from it, The Little Mermaid.

Ariel disobeys her father. In her disobedience she sees Prince Eric. She rescues him and while he’s unconscious, falls in love with him. She disobeys her father again! She goes to the Sea Witch. She has three days to make Eric love her and kiss her to prove he’s in love with her. Eric falls in love with a girl who can’t talk. The Sea Witch tries to trick Eric and he falls for it. He is within a breath of marrying the Sea Witch in disguise when Ariel gets her voice back and Eric realizes his mistake. After they kill the Sea Witch, Ariel’s father decides since she’s so happy, he’ll make her a human forever.

I see problems with this on so many levels.

Disobedience to parents. Why in all the Disney stories there is only one parent anyway? Disrespect of family origins. “Love” in three days. Pretending to be someone you’re not to get love. The guy leaving the girl he supposedly loves for someone else. Kissing being representative of love. The father giving in. What’s going to happen after Ariel can talk again? Obviously she’s strong willed, self serving, and doesn’t respect the man in her life (her father); this kind of attitude is going to lead to a happy marriage?

I had even more issues in mind when I was lying in bed last night thinking about this, but I need to go make lunch.

I was really glad when the girls started fighting over the book, giving me the perfect excuse to put it in Toy Timeout.

17 thoughts on “I don’t think I’m overthinking this.

  1. Ooooh! I like that toy time out thing…share more details please!

    AND…I TOTALLY agree with you on the whole character thing and especially with the Little Mermaid. Yesterday, in line at Walmart, Emmy commented that Jasmine was naughty because she wasn’t modest (her pic was on the pull-up box) and she did it ever so loudly. We got lots of stares. But what 3 year old uses the word modest?! Anyway, I think I’m more conservative than my parents were. Glad I’m not the only Mommy out there that feels this way.

  2. We have yet to watch or read any of the princess movies yet. I have noticed that all of those “safe disney movies” i remember watching as a kid, are morally awful!! And I agree about the one parent thing. One thing I liked about Nemo was that at least there was a Dad, a loving caring Dad. And it showed consequences for disobedience. Something we brought up again and again when watching that movie. Def keeping a dialogue open with the kids while watching movies is key, and will be key through the growing up years.
    I don’t think your over reacting…hey I just wrote a post yesterday on why I don’t let my kids watch Higglytown Heros, which I am sure makes me look slightly over the top!

  3. We TOTALLY “overthink” too! Actually, I am ALWAYS using those Disney movies (and so many books and TV shows, too) to interject the impact of their decisions (characters and their own)…consequence (good or bad, usually contingent upon the intent/wisdom behind action) follows action. Likewise (as in the kiss) there are things that are also “just stories”…but certainly gone are the days of (as if there ever should have been days) of movie/TV watching (or even now I am discovering, reading) withour parental awareness and interjection!

    Great post!

  4. oh, i totally agree with you. i have always felt the same way- and our girls know all of the princesses, but have never seen any movies besides cinderella (which isn’t really all about the prince anyway, and has some neat paralells) and beauty and the beast- which is all about being selfless and loving the unlovable, which is totally admirable! otherwise, the other ones are just full of crap.


  5. Hmmm, well I always stress to my kids that what they see on TV isn’t real. I don’t know I grew up watching fairy tales like this, but I didn’t believe that any man or boy rather that I kissed was the one for me.

    Oh and as far as the clothing goes once they get out of the toddler stuff you’ll see less and less character stuff. And let me tell you that was oh so disappointing to my oldest when she could no longer wear Dora. I wouldn’t mind so much if they kept it a little more consistent. I know that once they are into size 6 it’s a huge size range and more older girls aren’t going to want Dora, but they don’t have to have so much when they are little. My girls go through the younger section and wish they could wear some of the clothes not in their size range. Although, maybe that’s better than what I used to do and long to be in the older size range. But can I also say that they have the same style of clothing for your 6 year old as your 12 year old. That drives me nuts because the halter tops that I might be okay with my older child wearing (although I doubt it) are also there for my 6 year old to pick out. I think a lot of these clothes look too grown up.

  6. I think you are so right, Jessica. It’s funny you bring this up because the need to instill purity in my little girls has been on my heart for a while. And God keeps bringing it up in my life (as far as the need to shepherd their hearts).

    I just registered for a seminar at Harvest Bible Chapel this Saturday morning entitled “Raising Pure Kids”. I will send you the link, in case you are interested. It’s $12 for an individual, or $15 for a couple and childcare is provided. The book and and some food is provided too. And I think it’s from 8:30 to 11:30 or something like that.

    Anyways, I think raising children with pure hearts is definitely on your heart as well, so I thought you may be interested in this seminar. I’ll go email you right now.

  7. I totally agree with you! We actually ended up getting rid of our tv, vcr and dvd player. Ezra gets some tv when we’re at other people’s houses, but he’s not into any specific show (well, maybe Reading Rainbow). It’s one of those things that never bothered me too much until I became a parent. Another thing is what about in live action movies, where two people who are married to other people in real life kiss on screen. In any other circumstance, we’d call that kiss cheating, but not when they’re doing it for the sake of tv or movies it’s “entertainment.”

  8. Eek. Thank you for reminding me why my parents HATED Aladdin (rebellious daughter paired with magic), had a slight aversion to Snow White (magic), and got a little antsy about Little Mermaid (for PRECISELY the reasons you mentioned).

    Oceana is in love with Cinderella and Nemo. While watching Nemo this morning I realize that Nemo disobeys his “overprotective” father, suffers the consequences, Dad risks his life to save him, son “does it on his own”, and Dad has to “let go” of his son at the end, then everything’s okay. Never mind that this all happened the week he was supposed to start Kindergarten. Coz you know, parents are supposed to “let go” of their kids and not give them restrictions, like “don’t go in the deep water where large fish might eat you”.

    Grrr. I think we need to seriously invest in some Veggie Tales videos and “accidentally lose” some Disney stuff.

    Thanks for the reminder. I DO NOT want to teach Oceana to be THAT girl. NO WAY!
    Oh, and Toy time out – totally awesome idea!

  9. Can you believe I’ve never thought much about this stuff? I’ve only had boys until now. Boys who have no interest in Disney anything or fairy tales in general.

    But now that you mention it, it’s pretty horrible. What a poor example to be filling my daughters head with. Ugh.

    We need a solid Christian company out there to put out some animated girls fairy tales with a positive storyline!

  10. I had never thought about it either, but when you listed it like this, then yeah, that is just not right.

    My daughter is really not into the Disney princesses, I guess I’m glad for that now.

  11. You’re not overthinking this at all. There are other ‘kids’ movies out, too…like The C.hipmunks, with flesh and sexual innuendo and the ‘party’ scene being peddled to a juvenille market, and where childlike chipmunks are abandoned then totally exploited by the ‘responsible’ adult people in their lives, and in one portion hear ‘Uncle’ Ian say, “There’s only one rule here…and that is that there are NO RULES!” As though this is what all kids should strive for? This is a recurring theme in J.immy Neutron as well. A world without parental rules. Where dad’s are total dorks, and mom’s are nitwits, with the kids knowing it all.

    Then there is L.ady & The Tramp II: Scamps Adventure…where the young boy dog wants to rebel against his parents and become a junkyard dog.

    It’s apparent that the loose morals of Hollywood do come through even in kids TV programming and movies. Part of it may be an agenda/platform (which I don’t wish to support with my dollars, either), but I think it’s mostly a case of it being impossible for adults desiring to live in open, flagrant sin being unable to come up with good ‘moral’ films and programming for children. The truth is not in them, you know?

    It’s gotten to where I don’t care much at all for kids ‘entertainment’. If we watch any movies at all, it’s when they come to DVD, and we can pause it from time to time during the viewing to discuss themes and things in it, especially those that are contrary to our values. Let me tell you, we pick things over with a fine tooth comb most of the time. I openly scoff at the wrong, immoral things, “Oh, riiiight, like THAT would’ve happened…” and then ask questions of the kids like, “What do YOU think would have really happened if Scamp disobeyed his father? What happens to you when YOU disobey?” And then to drive home points like how kids that disobey their parents come out from under the umbrella of their protection, and usually end up hurt. This serves to get the kids to look at things through their own Biblical values ‘filter’.

    My parents didn’t allow us watch lots of things as young children. We had no TV in our home during my childhood. I remember specific instances of not being able to go see the movie E.T., or anything with any hint of witchcraft or the occult in it, and anything with sexual innuendo. I wasn’t allowed to see G.rease.

    It was key that they explained WHY we were forbidden (when cousins and friends ‘got’ to go see them), as it helped to impart the wisdom of their decision to us…to understand that they were protecting us from the garbage that was in them, instead of leaving us feeling like we were missing out on something and then wanting to see it on the sly.

    My husband and I occasionally forbid seeing something (as in going with cousins or friends), but also feel it’s important that we not just hide our kids away from every bad influence, because this old world is full of things that we shouldn’t allow to become part of our thinking and sometimes can’t avoid seeing, and we feel it’s important to equip them early on for that battle, to help them to discern what is right and wrong in everything that comes across their paths, and the things they should turn their eyes and ears from.

    Taking every opportunity to train and instruct in righteousness is SO important with our kiddos…and it IS possible to train them up in the Lord, purity intact in even the moral cesspool that is SoCal. I know because we live here.

  12. LOL, Mandy, my oldest son and daughter have been saying things like that since they were about that age. Good for you, for teaching her what modesty is! Too many little ones have no idea what that even means.

    Jess, I understand where you’re coming from. My family and friends think I’m crazy for not letting my kids watch the Disney movies. I have many of the same objections that you have, and frankly, I think there are too many other great movies out there to mess with ones that are just ok.


  13. I have mixed feelings on this. Too much anything is going to have a bad effect on the kiddos. I think of all the girls who are running around emulating Hannah Montana.. YUCK. On the other hand, as a little girl seeing these movies, I never thought “I’m going to disobey my parents or run off with a boy after one kiss, I thought… “I want to be beautiful and sing songs, and talk to little birdies!” I don’t think an occasional movie that doesn’t line up with your values is gonna ruin your kid… what your children learn daily from YOU will have far more of an impact! Now a steady diet of it… your asking for trouble. ~K

  14. I think most stories kill of the mom cos she represents right/wrong/boundaries and responsiblity.

    A character with no mom has way more ‘scope’ for development.

    I agree 100% with everything in this post, but am pretty sure my Faith is more obsessed with the princess wardrobe than with her moral attitudes!! LOL

  15. You’re so right! It’s taken me a while, too…but the more I see, the more I dislike it. When they’re older, they’re be looking to Hannah Montana with those dreamy eyes, but they don’t need to get caught up in all that stuff…just be happy with who they are!

  16. As a mom and Grandmom (my youngest is 26) I can tell you, your all 100% on the right track. I was raised in the 60’s with Disney every Wed. night and when I was a young teen I was always looking for my prince charming. WRONG. Next time your in a big box store look down the toy isles. The girls isle is all princess pink and the boys isle is dark and grey. Hmmmmm That alone will program kids eh? Keep your eyes and hearts open moms!!!!

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