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Thoughts on Disney movies?

post #1 of 124
Thread Starter 
I searched but didn't find anything on this topic but I'm sure it's been covered so I apologize in advance if this is a repeat topic.

Anyway, I have two girls ages 3.5 and 5. Up to this point, I've avoided Disney movies like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and all things Barbie. I don't care for movies where the only objective is to marry a prince and Barbie - well, I just hate the big boobed, blonde, scantily clad image.

But, my DD just turned 5 and had her first big girl party with school friends. She got a Little Mermaid video, a Cinderella book and some Barbie stuff. The Barbie with the make up and go go outfit "accidentally" disappeared But, my DD couldn't wait to watch the Little Mermaid. So, I let her watch it. Well, now she's obsessed with reading Cinderella books and wants to watch the movies. Her friends talk about Cinderella and other Disney movies and she really wants to see them.

I know I saw the movies growing up, read the books etc... and I feel like I had a good body image, good sense of self esteem and self worth etc.... Am I reading too much into these books and movies?

What do you think? Do you allow them? Try to avoid them?
post #2 of 124
post #3 of 124
I really don't know and have not thought much about it until now, but my dd does watch those movies and seems to understand or is learning the difference between pretend and reality. I would love to hear some other ideas on the subject!
post #4 of 124
I think some of them are wonderful films. I especially like Bambi, Pinocchio, and Beauty and the Beast. Like many things, they don't always express my values, but that's why we talk about the things we watch with our kids.

I really don't like the way that "Disney Princesses" has become a branding opportunity -- that bugs me mightily. But that's external to the films themselves.
post #5 of 124
My DD is just 20mths old, but she likes movies like TLK I and II, Bambi, Cars, Brother Bear, Tarzan etc.
The only princess films that she have seen and that I know she likes are, Cinderalla and The Little Mermaid.
post #6 of 124
Do what you are comfortable with. There are plenty of more gentle movies for little girls. Some Disney is ok, but a lot of it is just too over the top for my household. I have boys and they found the princess movies scary. I remember watching those movies when I was little and enjoying them. I turned out fine, but I do not like the themes in most of the Disney movies. They are just too much for such little people. IMO
post #7 of 124
We have quite a few Disney movies in our collection. Barbie in every incarnation is banned in our house, but DD plays with it some at the houses of children I babysit.

However, the movies stop with the screen. No licensed character toys, clothes, etc. ad nauseum. Oh, a few things have crept in (a scooby-doo plate, a Dora sit n' spin, a few stuffed toys), but in general I hold to it. DH's stepmom gave DD a big book of Disney stories and I read Bambi to her and flatly refused to read any more. The movies at least are of decent quality. The books stink.

Medieval-themed make believe is big in our house. But she has a Melissa and Doug castle, a toy sword and shield, SCA garb--things incorporated into a family activity.
post #8 of 124
Originally Posted by amcal View Post
Am I reading too much into these books and movies?
IMO...yes. I watched Tom & Jerry as a child, and every other cartoon that displays some sort of violence, and I'm not a violent person. I played with Barbie and watched Cinderella like most other girls my age, and I have no issues with my body because of it.
I believe the thing that causes kids to have body issues and whatnot, goes much deeper than cartoons and toys. I DO believe they can aggrivate an existing issue, but I do not believe they cause them.
post #9 of 124
I have been unsuccessful in keeping the princess thing at bay. Too many playmates her age and older are all into it, so I've conceded while trying not to make a big deal of it either way and hopefully she'll outgrow it. All in all she is much more excited about Dora and Diego. The times DD has watched Cindarella, she is mostly into the mice and and the fairy godmother's song, and really doesn't seem to pay much attention to the rest. I read an interesting article that pointed out that the prince thing is of little or no consequence/importance to little girls - its all about the clothes. Hmmm. I don't have the text of the article, but if you're interested in buying it online or looking it up at the library, here's the info:

What's Wrong With Cinderella?
December 24, 2006, Sunday
By PEGGY ORENSTEIN (New York Times); Magazine
post #10 of 124
We went to a friend's house for a playdate the other day and it was princess/barbie/bratz central.

DD has seen Beauty and the Beast, and that is only because we are going to see a live performance soon and I wanted her to have an idea of what to expect.

I'd like to keep her away from the disney princesses and other heavily marketed characters as long as possible. It just seems like the princesses (and other characters) are training the kids for the branding/commercialism, etc.

It is the same reason I try to avoid commercials. She is just too impressionable at this age. I *know* I don't need 99% of what they advertise on TV and I still feel that pull when I see some commercials or infomercials. There is no way I can expect a 4 year old to resist that, even if we talk about why people don't need all the things that are advertised.
post #11 of 124
I don't allow Barbies or Brats in the house. dd2 is obsessed with princesses right now and loves the Disney princess movies. My favorite is Pocohantas (I know I butchered it). Even though it's definitely not historically accurate, it's the only one that the girl saves the boy. She's not a prissy damsel in distress.
post #12 of 124
I like disney films but they usually make me cry especially bambi and lion king, i think i'm just soft though a lot of films make me cry and tv programmes too
post #13 of 124
My DD watches anything she wants within reason (except Bratz, ugh) and I let her have dolls already BUT she also plays with her older brothers matchbox cars, trains, dinosaurs and other boy toys. She loves all kinds of toys and movies and who am I to say they aren't good for her if they are rated G and meant for audiences of her age.

I have never agreed with banning things just because of what self-image it will give my daughter. Seriously now, are you giong to ban your son or future son of watching superman or any type of movies like that or playing with boy toys because they might be too violent (big trucks, cool matchbox cars) or because they might want to grow up and drive a 4WD truck that looks like the matchbox cars they played with at 4 yrs old. Give me a break!

I worry about the real influences like their peers at school, the media, etc. The toys are played with for a year or two and then phased out. Those are the easy things IMO.

I think a lot of women have a feminist reaction to princesses and barbies and they just want their daughters to grow up strong. But how is it making them any stronger if you deny them a simple little toy when they are young. It really makes no sense to me.
post #14 of 124
Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
IMO...yes. I watched Tom & Jerry as a child, and every other cartoon that displays some sort of violence, and I'm not a violent person. I played with Barbie and watched Cinderella like most other girls my age, and I have no issues with my body because of it.
I believe the thing that causes kids to have body issues and whatnot, goes much deeper than cartoons and toys. I DO believe they can aggrivate an existing issue, but I do not believe they cause them.
very well said.
post #15 of 124
Bambi, Pinocchio are probably to toughest ones for me. The loss of the mama deer right off the bat still makes me cry AND turn the movie off! And in Pinocchio the "where bad boys go" scene is appalling. We allowed ds to watch "Bambi" but we fast forwarded it to the part after the mama was aleady shot.

I love some of the films too, but really have only allowed my ds to watch a few of them because he is very sensative to death and loss themes. My favorites are either way too scarey ("Sleeping Beauty") or way too over stimulating "Aladin" and "Lion King".

DS has seen "Beauty and The Beast" which the wolves did scare him a little the first time. The beast never scared him. He loved the beast (I wonder why.....)

My ds loves the old animated Star Trek series and the old "Star Trek" episodes. They do not scare him at all. He and his dad (TREKKIE!) watch them together and have some great conversations about it afterwards.
post #16 of 124
I find that I really dislike Disney lately. They take historical images or events and wildly distort or trivialize them. For example, Mulan. In the "real" legend, Mulan kicks butt. She single-handedly leads the entire Imperial forces against the Huns, is completely victorious, hailed as the ultimate warrior, etc. She never ever reveals she's a woman until after everything is over and the Emperor offers an important ministerial position in his government. In the movie, she's a bumbling, inept fool until some man shows her how to do things. Gag! Others I don't like: Pocohantas (um, not how it happened), Lion King (Nazi imagery), Chicken Run (more Nazi imagery), Nemo (the whole shark AA thing). The others would probably offend me if I watched them <g>.

For me, it's not violence at all - we're in the SCA, too, my kids see sword fighting and aren't violent. We have guns in the house, they don't play "shoot-em-up". It's not even the princess thing (though the commercialism is pretty gosh-awful). It's the helpless female thing. Not being fulfilled/competent/whatever until you have your man/prince. Gag.

Also, my dd seems to pick up phrases from movies and unless I explain the whole social context of the scene, they sound really bad. For example, from Bugs Life, she picked up "Ideas are dangerous". Okay, so I have to explain why ideas are dangerous to the ruling/oppressive class, not to the downtrodden workers who have them. These are not concepts I really feel the need to get into with a 5yo, but I don't want her thinking that "ideas are dangerous". Does Disney/Pixar/whoever think our kids aren't listening???

I know I probably seem a bit extreme and seem like I'm reading a bit much into them. I don't think I am. All of the things I object to in movies largely targeted at 3-5 year olds, I really enjoy in adult targeted movies as satire, irony, etc. Our kids are sponges at this age, their opinions and attitudes are being shaped by the stuff they see on screen, and they don't even know it.

mom to dd (5 1/2), ds (2 1/2), #3 due in June
post #17 of 124
We don't do Disney as a general rule. My 4 year old is homeschooled, and she hangs out with other homeschoolers of all ages. Her play always comes from ideas she's thought up herself, and not recycled sappy Disney stories. She has one preschool friend, and all that girl wants to do is pretend she's a princess who needs to find a handsome prince. This alone is enough for me to avoid Disney for at least a few more years.
post #18 of 124
Well, I don't see anything wrong with the movies in and of themselves. (Other than the bastardization of the fairy tales.) My only concern would be if your 3.5 year old is mature enough for them? I know my three year old is not ready for most Disney movies, but some kids are less sensitive than others. Your five year old probably is ready for them; I've told myself that when my kids are closer to six I'll think about Disney movies.
post #19 of 124
Bf's 4 yo dd is really into the Disney Princesses. There is no going back now. I try to have conversations with her focusing on qualities that the princesses have that have nothing to do with looks (Belle is very intelligent and a great reader, Ariel is a talented vocalist, Cinderella is an efficient and hard worker). I know that a lot of these are a stretch, but I can't think of any other way to plant the seed that being pretty and finding a prince are not the most important things in life.

I've asked her several times why she likes the princesses so much. I honestly think that at 4, it is the fancy dresses. Even though she is ignoring the "you need a man to be happy" message now, I can't help but think that it will be absorbed for later. It doesn't help that bf does not share my thoughts on this one. He keeps saying "What is wrong with finding love? Love is one of the things that makes people happy." I would rather that women in this country be happy and fulfilled on their own first. If they find a partner, great, but it shouldn't be the end-all be-all of life.
post #20 of 124
I think the are fine in moderation...
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