My daughter caught me yesterday. She said,
"You know those Mexican dancers at school? They had some questions about that king of the lions story, you know, acoomba mataya? I was the only one who had the book! It seems like most kids watch movies at home."
What could I say? It's true.
She has a book of The Lion King story. We don't own any Disney movies. I am well aware that most god-fearing Americans let their kids watch Disney movies all the time. I don't. It's not that I have officially banned them, we just don't do that. My grandmother gave her some books. Sometimes I change the stories a little bit when I read them to Little Z.
It's not that I hate Disney movies. It's just that I hate sexism and racism and repetitive motifs of mothers dying when their children are very young, and I hate how the "evil" people are always dark skinned and fat, and the "good" people find happiness through being impossibly skinny, wearing skimpy clothing, and finding a ridiculous "true love" who makes them "happily ever after". So, that leaves a few movies. Winnie the Pooh is good.
Consider one of my favorite childhood movies, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
1. Snow White's evil stepmother wants her dead because she's pretty (and white is basically synonymous with pretty in this movie). What does this teach a kid about how women behave?
2. Snow White goes to hide in the woods and stumbles upon a filthy cabin full of little men. Immediately, she sets about cooking and cleaning for them. WTF? These are complete strangers!
3. Look at this clip. Outwardly, if you listen to the words of the song, Snow White is dreaming of her Prince Charming- basically saying she would be happy if only this other person came and made her happy. (And we all know that our happiness rests entirely upon meeting our soul mate, right? And the other person makes us happy, right? That's a healthy belief, yes?) The funny thing is, if you really watch the first half of this scene, just enjoying the music without listening to the words, this is about a young woman completely comfortable with her own company. Look at her body language. Look at her interactions with the natural world. Snow White is absolutely content, a full person unto herself. She requires no one and nothing. She is living in the moment, enjoying her own wonderful singing abilities, experimenting with echoes in a well. Then a stranger comes out of nowhere, ruins it all, and scares the crap out of her!
And then she falls in love with this potential serial killer who just popped out of the woods.
I know this is just one movie from a long long time ago, but they really haven't changed much. Now the Disney princesses are more impossibly skinny and snottier looking.
Little Z isn't missing out. There are better things to watch.