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Is anyone else disturbed by this? - Page 3

post #41 of 88
Really interesting discussion. It occurred to me that the conversation, understandably, is about literature and films from a Western culture and tradition. Our culture has an undeniable cult of the individual and celebration of libertarian ideals. The rugged, independent individual is favoured, and naturally this is reflected in our stories, even stories for young children.

I'm not too familiar with children's literature and films from non-Western cultures. I wonder if there's a difference in cultural attitudes about co-dependance, collaboration and collectivism that translates into a primacy of family in these stories.

OP, looking outside of Western culture may provide you with more examples of family stories. Or maybe not - I really don't know.
post #42 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Really interesting discussion. It occurred to me that the conversation, understandably, is about literature and films from a Western culture and tradition. Our culture has an undeniable cult of the individual and celebration of libertarian ideals. The rugged, independent individual is favoured, and naturally this is reflected in our stories, even stories for young children.

I'm not too familiar with children's literature and films from non-Western cultures. I wonder if there's a difference in cultural attitudes about co-dependance, collaboration and collectivism that translates into a primacy of family in these stories.

OP, looking outside of Western culture may provide you with more examples of family stories. Or maybe not - I really don't know.
A lot of the traditional Yup'ik (Alaska Native) stories I've heard also include a theme of separation from the group... and pre-contact Yup'ik society was VERY collaborative. I'd guess that exploring self vs. society is a pretty common theme across cultures, with each culture of course putting its own spin on things.
post #43 of 88
in real life (ideally, anyway) parents -- and mothers in particular, it seems -- keep everyone safe -- and thus boring parents are the ones who avert danger and solve the problems and handle the strange grown-up stuff that happens. there is no story when the parents are around, you know?
post #44 of 88
Quote:
the reason for disney not having mums in movies especally the early ones is walt disneys mum died when he was a little boy hence the theme of bambi etc being without a mum i have walt disneys auto bio
Um, no, Walt Disney's mother lived well after her son grew up -- he bought her a house in Los Angeles and moved her out to be close to his family. He was devoted to his mother (and had a problematic relationship with his dad). Sorry to be pedantic about this, but I had to write about the topic professinally so have a lot of trivia at my fingertips!
post #45 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
Um, no, Walt Disney's mother lived well after her son grew up -- he bought her a house in Los Angeles and moved her out to be close to his family. He was devoted to his mother (and had a problematic relationship with his dad). Sorry to be pedantic about this, but I had to write about the topic professinally so have a lot of trivia at my fingertips!
And Bambi was a book before Disney turned it into a movie -- the mother dies in the book, too -- it's an integral part of the story, not something added on by Disney.
post #46 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
A lot of the traditional Yup'ik (Alaska Native) stories I've heard also include a theme of separation from the group... and pre-contact Yup'ik society was VERY collaborative. I'd guess that exploring self vs. society is a pretty common theme across cultures, with each culture of course putting its own spin on things.
I suspect that's true. Which goes back to the universality of the theme and the need for stories to explore and express the experience of growing independence. It was just a thought for the OP if she's searching for other sources for entertainment.

We enjoy watching international children's films, although we haven't seen a huge number, and most of what we've watched are from Western cultures. The Scandinavian countries, Germany and Japan all seem to have thriving children's film industries. If you're looking for something aside from Disney/Hollywood, I recommend them, even if the themes of separation and independence are part of the plot. See if your city has an international children's film festival or perhaps the library or cultural centres.
post #47 of 88
Before you dive into "Cheaper By The Dozen" be aware that the dad *does* die, of a heart attack. It's based on a true story and that's what really happened. I can't remember if his death is in "Cheaper by the Dozen" (IIRC it is) or in the sequel "Belles on Their Toes."

I distinctly remember reading that book in 5th grade (as a class) and the teacher warned us that the next chapter was really sad and suggested we skip it. We chose to read it instead and I was devastated. It's still one of my all time favorite books but certainly not without loss.
post #48 of 88
I agree that exploring independence from one's parents is a universal theme for children, but children don't write those stories. I thought they were intended as morality tales about the dangers of running off or talking to strangers?

Here's wiki on Little Red Riding Hood. It's pretty disturbing, and was originally meant to warn young girls about the advances of strange men.

I let DS watch Finding Nemo for a while. It was his favorite just because he loved all the colors and the fish, but after many many many times watching it with him, I decided that it's not really a kid's movie at all. I could write an analysis on it if I wanted to, but it seems to be a character piece. We actually stopped watching it after I got pretty upset about the scene of the seahorse dad spanking his kid HARD for...not doing anything wrong. Those movies are actually pretty violent for a 3yo anyway.
post #49 of 88
All the Disney movies start off with killing off the mom.

I think also, it tries to show the child that they don't need their parents and it is perfectly ok to rely on strangers for much. They clearly need SOMEONE, it just is not the parents. That is the message it sends.
post #50 of 88
When I watched Finding Nemo with my twins (then age 4) and nemo's mom disappeared from the movie because she was eaten by a shark, I lied and told the boys she was out grocery shopping. Then we were watching Lion King and when the father died, I turned off the movie and said, ok, now they just have to take him to the hospital and the movie is over.

So yes I find it disturbing and cant bear to think of my boys being sad because someone lost his mommy! But I stopped trying to change story lines after a while, it became too difficult.
post #51 of 88
I have issue with many of the TV shows that are geared for preschool children that have missing parents... and most of these are on Nick

Wonder Pets - the animals usually have to save some baby animal who has gotten into trouble via negligent parenting and they have to help

Dora - We rarely see her family, and she goes on these wild adenventures alone

Max and Ruby - Ruby, the sister, takes care of her little brother as if she were a parent, and we never see their parents

Strawberry Shortcake - No parents there, she has to raise her sister, Little Apple Dumpling

Backyardagains - Although we assume the kids are playing in the backyard together, we never see the parents watching them or interacting with them

Even Harry Potter is an orphan

I just don't get it...I would like some shows based on real families, like Ramona that was on PBS or Little House on the Prairie. I guess Little Bill's family is around too. It's hard to find shows that have real parents around where something catastrophic hasn't happened and I don't like the message that kids don't need parents.
post #52 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

I think also, it tries to show the child that they don't need their parents and it is perfectly ok to rely on strangers for much. They clearly need SOMEONE, it just is not the parents. That is the message it sends.

This is what I'm talking about. And the message of not needing the parents really bothers me.
post #53 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leilamom View Post

I just don't get it...I would like some shows based on real families, like Ramona that was on PBS or Little House on the Prairie. I guess Little Bill's family is around too. It's hard to find shows that have real parents around where something catastrophic hasn't happened and I don't like the message that kids don't need parents.

I don't know how to quote multiple posts, so I'm posting again. I'm glad to hear some people are concerned about sending the message that kids don't need parents.

Has anyone read Hold on to Your Kids? If so, do you think that these types of movies are being used to encourage kids to become more peer oriented, or is it just a coincidence because no parents makes for a more interesting story(as asserted by most upthread posters)?

I'm really interested to hear what everyone has to say and this has been fascinating to read.
post #54 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post
Here's wiki on Little Red Riding Hood. It's pretty disturbing, and was originally meant to warn young girls about the advances of strange men.
Thanks, that was interesting!

I also like this:

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004...withwolves.asp

Quote:
I think the traumatic thing is, quite honestly, sorta a lazy "hook" into the story.
This reminds me why I lost interest in Speilberg's movies. I felt manipulated by one gut wrenching tragedy after another. It felt self conscious and almost unseemly.
post #55 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
What bothers me more is the disrespectful attitudes of characters in many movies and TV shows.

I think the lost theme has been going on for decades - Bambi comes to mind immediately. If you think about it, kids movies have pretty harsh plots.

Tjej
I agree with this. The separated from family movie theme was too much for my dd until she was almost seven, but it isn't something that bothers her now. We talk about the attitudes we see and I limit the ones I have big problems with. I think the themes of independence and working with friends that are seen in many kids shows (Strawberry Shortcake, Dora, Wonder Pets, etc...) are good themes. I am fine with my dd having adventures with friends in the outside boundaries with her good friends. There won't be any real going over a mountain or going through snake tunnels in the boundaries my dd has available to her so she will need her imagination, but I think it is still fine to watch shows that give empowering messages that aren't to sad or immoral.
post #56 of 88
What's always bothered me about Disney is that the characters are either 100% good, or 100% evil (or the evil ones repent and become 100% good). I think that creates really unrealistic expectations in kids. No one can be perfectly good all the time, and it's unfair to consistently show role models who never veer off the straight and narrow.

In real life, kids do things they shouldn't--but that should be part of learning and growing up. Instead, Disney movies make it seem like doing wrong is equated with being bad.

Actually, I'd say it's a very North American trait--to pit one set of ideas/beliefs against another and label one as "good" and the other as "bad"... as if there always has to be a side. But that's a totally different subject altogether.
post #57 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelandmisha View Post
Has anyone read Hold on to Your Kids? If so, do you think that these types of movies are being used to encourage kids to become more peer oriented, or is it just a coincidence because no parents makes for a more interesting story(as asserted by most upthread posters)?

I'm really interested to hear what everyone has to say and this has been fascinating to read.
I've read it, but I kind of tune out a bit because...I thought there were interesting and valid points in that book but they were drowned out by the hysteria. I really found it to be one of the most fear-mongering books about parenting that I *wanted* to like.

But then I grew up in the 70s/early 80s and have vivid memories of parents tossing everyone outside to play with their peers and the parent sphere and the child sphere didn't really intersect that much really, so the nostalgia for some perfect nuclear family didn't impress me. I was much more drawn to Mary Pipher's The Shelter of Each Other as a model for connected and strong families.

On the consumer end I find Robert Bly's The Sibling Society, about how parents/adults are pressured to stay adolescent in their thinking to be much more compelling a view about cultural pressure.

Anyways...no I don't think it's anything newly peer-oriented on the abandonment side of things. I do think there is cultural pressure around a kind of rudeness, but it's not through these kinds of classic tales. If anything, most of the kids want to achieve family in some way, even if adults are curiously absent.

It's more the Simpsons kind of thing that I think represents a shift in parent-child relations. (Not that I don't love Matt Groenig.)

Even though I'm not a Disney fan, Disney also brought 101 Dalmatians to the screen, and Peter Pan. Pinocchio even, although he doesn't have a mother, unless you count the Blue Fairy.
post #58 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
And not to get all conspiracy-theoryish (I get paranoid at 3am when I'm suffering from pregnancy insomnia... sorry about that), but I do worry that the "hooking" of very young children onto this sort of emotional roller coaster at such a young age sets them up for a need for more and more extreme forms of entertainment as they get older. I don't think that it's good for very young kids to be exposed to such artificial emotional extremes... most preschoolers are good enough at coming up with their own emotional extremes just based on day to day experiences! Don't even get me started on what happens in our household if DD gets the wrong spoon!

I have no proof, no study, not even any anecdata... but I still can't help but feel that if your 3yo is watching Finding Nemo (sorry to keep picking on that one movie... I really just used it as an example of what I think happens in a lot of kids movies) then where do you go from there? How could it NOT work to desensitize children to real emotions when they're exposed to such extreme artificial emotions at such a young age as entertainment?

I'm sure others don't agree with me, and as I said I have nothing to back that up. But I do have to say that it concerns me just how violent and emotionally exploitative movies and TV have gotten, and how younger and younger children seem to be the audience for these sorts of things. I don't see how things like the Saw movies can't desensitize a young teenager to the real violence of the world. Even if they logically know that it's not real, our brains work in weird ways and process new information by relating it to old, even in a subconscious way.
Me, me, me! I agree with you completely! I find that we are exposing our kids at increasingly younger ages to stuff that it's not really necessary to be exposed to, in general, when it comes to media and entertainment. My husband brought home Finding Nemo and my 3 yr old DS was scared to death about 10 minutes into it! I definitely decided it was not for little ones.

And don't even get me started on the stuff for teenagers and adults. I am really just not that big on tv/movies for littles in general. If it wasn't for my DH, we'd probably be tv-free with our little guy. But DH is not on board.

OP, I agree with you that I am really disturbed that there are no parents around in these movies or tv shows. Rarely there are, like the Incredibles, but that is definitely not a movie for a 3 yr old either, IMO.

Actually, the whole trend in the past 20 yrs or so of making cartoons into shows for adults bugs me. I know LOTS of people disagree with me, DH included, but I think that when we do that, and it LOOKS less realistic, we allow things to happen in those cartoons that we wouldn't allow to happen in a "real" show with actors. Does that make sense? That's kind of veering off topic though.

Anyway, I DO think that it is, well, maybe not a conspiracy, but definitely a mindset in our society now that we're teaching our kids to rely on peers or strangers and not the family unit. I think we've become SO politically correct that nobody wants to portray a family unit with parents, because then you might offend single parent homes, or GLBTG homes, or homes where kids are raised by grandparents, or whatever the situation. And so what ends up happening is, the kids in the shows are raising themselves, or depending on peers, or society, to take care of them. Which, for me, is a negative thing. I want my kids to come to my DH or myself in a crisis, if at all possible. And I think that is okay for us to teach that. I think we should have more movies with families, not just kids running around by themselves.

I haven't read Hold On to Your Kids but I might look it up..I enjoyed Protecting the Gift a lot though. I have no idea if it's similar or not.
post #59 of 88
yeah.. they did it with Bambie, with Snow White, and ever since..
pretty much they are recycling the same plot as this sold once and
so it keeps selling..

It is mostly about missunderstanding the concept of times that changed and parents being ready for less-stress and less-violence in the stories.

Disney just goes for easy way out and simple conflicts of a hero against the circumstances as they trive on conflicts bad.. good etc..

Clearly movies like Caillou prove that there might be a movie for kids that have no conflict but just be aobut kids for kids and it also sell..

wish more people understood this and produce violent free products.
post #60 of 88
This is a fascinating thread! I wanted to weigh in on the other end of the spectrum, age wise, with an interesting note. It builds off one PP's reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
In some ways, a traumatic separation may convey a healthier family situation. The underlying message is that a parent would intervene and solve the problem if they could, but they've been prevented from getting involved. In stories where parents are present but don't get involved, I think you can read in a more distressing message about family bonds and parental roles - if you wanted to. Honestly, though, I don't, because I think tales about children having independent adventures are archetypal stories in our culture.
I teach high school language arts, but the above observation is very much coming true in lots of young adult fiction and also film and tv. Rather than the (albeit disturbing) theme of the "offed" parents and independent, adventuring kids, more frequently media and books have included "needy" or "oblivious" parents that children and teenage characters "take care of" in a manner that is out of sync with what a healthy parent-child role should be.

Interesting article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/bo...ew/Just-t.html
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