ok, I'm going to do something that I've never done here before.

I rant a lot in real life. I like to yell and laugh at the same time, whilst making what some might consider a witty observation. I consider myself somewhat of a more hormonal, less political, lady Rick Mercer.

I usually don't put these thoughts into writing because the humour doesn't really come across and I tend to curse. but I will make a special exception for a topic that has ticked me off on several occasions.

if you would like the go on reading this, please forgive the mild language. there. you have been warned.

my issue, dear friends, is with pictures and statements like this;

comment underneath: This may be where it starts for little girls. Parents, think about the messages your children receive.

I would like to entitle this rant "fuck off and leave Disney alone."

disclaimer: yes, I am probably biased. this is an opinion. on a personal blog. please no ridiculous freak-outs. no one's making you read this.

I'm sick of hearing things from "concerned" members of society about how Disney movies, specifically Disney princesses, perpetuate the idea that a girl can only get ahead in this world by being beautiful and subsequently finding a (preferably rich) man. 

so many problems with this pathetic accusation. 

first, if you have ever seen a Disney movie, you will note that the princesses are not only renowned in beauty, but are kind, loving, honest, friendly, hard-working, talented, and humble. (you can make the argument that their only talents are domestic perfection and singing, but fuck off. they're not going to be accountants. no child is interested in a girl who lives in the woods, talks to deer, and is keen on math. not even if she's frackin' hot.) 

they also remain remarkably cheerful, optimistic, and caring even though there's usually some asshole majorly messing up their lives. obviously one major flaw in the "Disney is polluting our daughters" campaign is that people completely overlook the fact that the princesses actually seem like decently well-rounded, good people. so stop being so shallow and only seeing them for their beauty. ***IRONY ALARM***

second, let's not be retarded here. your six-year-old girl is not looking in the mirror, rueing her very existence because she doesn't look like Cinderella. know why? cause IT'S A CARTOON. cartoons in no way confuse children enough to make them believe this is how you are supposed to look. if they do, you have bigger problems because your child may be stupid. it's frigging paint on paper. do you avoid bringing your children to an art museum for fear they will scorn themselves in shame for not looking like a Picasso painting? no? and why not? because no little kid has their self-worth depleted by a bloody painting. it's not real. it's not the same as the mass media circus a girl (or boy) will be exposed to when they're older, where unrealistic expectations are made to look like real humans. it's the Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez-types that parents should worry about, not a conjured image that can essentially be described as artwork. 

third, as much as no one has the nads to say it, no one wants to hear a story about an ugly princess. no one even wants to hear a story about an average-looking princess, or an average-looking middle-class gal who's pretty nice (but sure was a bitch to that girl in biology), who can play the oboe decently well, is of average intelligence, and never has any major heartaches or achievements. because that's normal life. stories are not about normal life, they're about entertainment. stories in all forms, be it movies, novels, musicals, whatever, are all about exaggerating normal life into fantastic situations. that's why it's a fantasy. all people, not just little girls, want to be entertained by something extraordinary, something unusual, something ideal. we WANT the princess to be pretty. sorry. 

and moving into the fourth point, how can we judge lighthearted childhood fun for something that adult forms of entertainment are EVEN MORE NOTORIOUS FOR. here's an idea; you wanna stop your kids from comparing themselves to an unrealistic, unhealthy idea of beauty? be a fucking example. 

don't let your daughter constantly hear you say you wish you looked like Jessica Alba or Angelina Jolie or whoever. don't always want to be that little bit skinnier. don't only compliment girls on their looks. that's not to say you shouldn't say women or girls are pretty; girls should learn to appreciate the beauty in one another, not be intimidated by it. but don't let it always be those certain girls that you comment on, because children catch on quick, and eventually they will start to think beauty has a "type."

the fact is, whether you censor your daughter's cartoon intake or not, she's going to be exposed to society's expectations of beauty. sad, but true. girls who are dubbed conventionally beautiful are treated differently than those with unconventional beauty. often times they are treated better, but sometimes they're treated worse. either way they get more attention. so while Disney movies tell a girl that persistence, a good heart, and a little karma will always get you through, society tells her she should be outgoing, popular, and an attention-whore or no one will ever notice her. which is more harmful?

the bottom line is Disney movies aren't supposed to be so ridiculously over-analyzed. they're kid's movies. they're supposed to make little girls smile and dream and believe that someday there will be a happy ending, no matter what they are going through. I think that's a pretty fucking wholesome message.

if you want to instil a positive self-image in your child, don't expect a cartoon company to do it. tell your kid she's beautiful. tell her she's kind and smart and tell her when she's good at something. make her feel like a Disney freakin' princess. cause as a person who knows first hand what it's like to have low self-esteem, I know it's not the cartoons that make you feel like crap. it's the real world. 

(I could go on about how Ariel promotes the idea of self-sacrifice and overcoming differences, Jasmine gets to marry for love, and Pocahontas isn't even mentioned... but I feel this is a better place to stop.)



Anonymous said...

A little off topic... But did you ever wonder why they all have dead mothers?

Unknown said...

I agree! I always hate when people rant on the disney movies. They're just cartoons and they make a lot of people very happy. Little kids don't analyze those movies like an adult can. If your kid is comparing their looks to a cartoon movie then they got those tendencies from somewhere else (aka the parents.) Love this! Great rant!

Sarah K. said...

they DO have dead/absent mothers! like, Ariel's mother is never even mentioned... it's as if Triton spawned those seven daughters all by himself. I have a theory that it's because you can only have one endearing female character at a time. (also the same reason why the princess' sidekicks/friends are always male).

and thanks! :)