Need help getting DH on board with avoiding Disney and licensed characters - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 03:01 PM
 
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Get rid of the tv? Don't compromise with DH about Disney? PP, gently and honestly, were all of the negative images/ideas you processed only a result of Disney movies/exposure?

 

I love Disney World/Land and have since I was a child. I would go every single year if my husband had no say so in the matter. However, I'm not a fan of Disney movies and haven't been since I was a child. I don't like the images of beauty they represent but I also don't think Disney is all bad.I think, it's our jobs as parents, whether we let our kids watch a ton of Disney movies or none at all are responsible for setting the tone re: images of beauty,how we're to be treated, etc. It really burns me when (not directly at anyone in particular but it's been said before on MDC) people almost blame Disney for all that's wrong in this world. 

 

Why does enjoying Disney have to be a result of successful marketing? Is it really not possible for me to go on a Disney vacation and have fun because I'm with my man and my baby? I don't think we give children enough credit when it comes to this kind of thing. I watched a heck of a lot more tv than my DD does and the only one thing I ever wanted was an Easy Bake Oven because I thought it meant being able to make cookies without waiting on my mother to do it. I thought books and movies like Cinderalla and Snow White were beyond silly but still enjoyed Disney. 

 

I also agree a little bit with Laila2. I don't see where exposure to a Disney movie or Elmo is going to harm a child. If we raise children who are damaged because of a tickle me elmo doll or tshirt then I think that has more to do with what's going on in the home than with the Sesame Street organization.

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#32 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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I am not a fan of Disney at all, but I must point out that, although OP's DH was exposed to it as a child, it must not have done much damage or she surely would not have married and even had a child with him.

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#33 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 03:28 PM
 
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PP, gently and honestly, were all of the negative images/ideas you processed only a result of Disney movies/exposure? 

 

No-but they are one of the largest bad guys in the over saturation of our children.

 

 

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I control that aspect and don't have a problem drawing the line between my kid enjoying a movie and not allowing the merchandising part of it to enter her life. 

 

Yes you can say no-over and over again. But, just because I say no doesn't change the fact that they base their bottom line on turning my kid into a consumer. And I won't give them any of my money to do that.

 

I am not going to expose him to it at home regardless of how great some of the content may be-there are plenty of other great things we can do that don't involve Disney (or Nick or Dora or Sponge Bob). I am fine with parents making different choices than me-it is all good. But, I also don't think those choices-when it comes to this kind of mass consumerism- are quite as free and clear as you (general you) are making them out to be.

 

 

 

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#34 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gbailey View Post

Get rid of the tv? Don't compromise with DH about Disney? PP, gently and honestly, were all of the negative images/ideas you processed only a result of Disney movies/exposure?

 

I love Disney World/Land and have since I was a child. I would go every single year if my husband had no say so in the matter. However, I'm not a fan of Disney movies and haven't been since I was a child. I don't like the images of beauty they represent but I also don't think Disney is all bad.I think, it's our jobs as parents, whether we let our kids watch a ton of Disney movies or none at all are responsible for setting the tone re: images of beauty,how we're to be treated, etc. It really burns me when (not directly at anyone in particular but it's been said before on MDC) people almost blame Disney for all that's wrong in this world. 

 

Why does enjoying Disney have to be a result of successful marketing? Is it really not possible for me to go on a Disney vacation and have fun because I'm with my man and my baby? I don't think we give children enough credit when it comes to this kind of thing. I watched a heck of a lot more tv than my DD does and the only one thing I ever wanted was an Easy Bake Oven because I thought it meant being able to make cookies without waiting on my mother to do it. I thought books and movies like Cinderalla and Snow White were beyond silly but still enjoyed Disney. 

 

I also agree a little bit with Laila2. I don't see where exposure to a Disney movie or Elmo is going to harm a child. If we raise children who are damaged because of a tickle me elmo doll or tshirt then I think that has more to do with what's going on in the home than with the Sesame Street organization.


Well I don't blame Disney for all that is wrong with the world but I do see them as a reflection (or symptom if you will) of certain issues like their depiction of gender norms. I hold Disney to a higher standard because of the fact that they create content for children and children are extremely impressionable. It does not matter if all the negative ideas I picked up were a result only of Disney, what matters is that these things are in Disney movies. Strongly. And I do not want my young child exposed to the stuff when he does not have the analytical capacity to sort it out.

I look at it this way: Kids (especially small kids) are socialization sponges. What they are exposed to on a day to day basis becomes their norm by which all other things are measured. That is why kids cling so strongly to "roles" and "this is for boys, that is for girls" stuff. The more stuff they are exposed to that reinforce these things the harder it will be for them to break through that paradigm in the future (when they are old enough to parse the deeper meanings themselves). Like it or not Disney is teaching your children how they are supposed to act and what they are supposed to believe. I don't find them a very good teacher, personally. And again, the crap they market reinforces these messages, but the originals come from the content of their stories (movies for sure, and I assume television. I dunno since I don't watch the Disney channel).

So for me watching the occasional Disney would be right up there with a vegetarian child being fed the occasional burger. If you are a Vegiatrian family your children don't eat meat and if you have a problem with media they don't consume media.
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#35 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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Thanks Oak Tree Mama; I was beginning to think I had just been tossed in the irrelevant bin because I had confessed my age.  :-)

 

And for those who say "hey, just regulate what your kids see" well of course I do that! Who would suggest otherwise. But we are living this right now in our house. All along we've been told "you can't shelter your kids; you can't stop them from seeing stuff" (this was brought up whenever we'd try and impose limited exposure to mass-marketed crap). And they are right. So, in a desire to be infinitely reasonable, you let a little bit in. (the expression "camel's nose under the tent" springs to mind) With us, it started not with Disney but with Spongebob. And we only allowed Spongebob one day a week. We dubbed it "Cartoon Monday" and since to my son, watching cartoons only meant Spongebob (because he didn't know cartoons; never watch them on TV in our house), he'd look up Spongebob on the On-Demand menu provided by our cable company. But of course, even with Spongebob there are the commercials, and the other Nickelodeon shows promoted before and after the show. So then he's like "Hey, can I see what that Hero Factory is? Hey, can I see what Power Rangers are?" So there I am forced to either be a jerk and say "No! put your blinders on, kid", I am reasonable and say sure, you can see that, we'll decide if it's any good. And so he watches it, and he likes it. Power Rangers Samurai in small doses is not objectionable (I say small doses because they do tend to solve all their problems through violence even though they promote good values like friendship, self-discipline and loyalty), but then he loves the Power Rangers and wants to see them when they come on "live, on TV" (as opposed to OnDemand) because they are so heavily promoted. Ok, so we say, go ahead and watch it on TV when it comes on, at which point he's exposed to even more commercials for shows he now wants to see. And what's worse, the TOYS that they all suddenly want from watching the show. Of course, we make him save up his allowance for those, so that is not such a huge problem.

 

But at some point you've become this giant gatekeeper, saying No, No, No, No, all day long, and frankly it gets a little negative. Of course it's my job to say No, so don't anyone get high & mighty and lecture me that it's my job. I know that. But it's as if every single day a traveling salesman showed up at your door with boxes of products that were harmful to your kids. He knocked, you said No. He pushed the door, so you had to push harder. He came every day. He knocked when you were sleeping, he knocked during dinner. He parked his car outside your house like a stalker and tried to wave the products at your kids when they waited for the bus. At some point you'd cry "harrassment," wouldn't you? Well that is where I stand now. Sure I can say no, but I'm sick of having it forced at us at every turn. Commercialism is a creepy cancer in our kid's lives.

 

Before we let all this into our house it wasn't a problem. We watched educational shows all day and had a blast. We learned so much! But now my kid has a full-fledged craving. He's learned that nice little lethargic slump that kids do across the couch when suddenly their lives aren't interesting any more and all they want is their program du jour. So we've had to limit the Disney/Nickelodeon/Nick Jr type fare more overtly (as in a policy), and we've had many long conversations about WHY, and about advertising, when it's good, when it's not, and about the actual merit of all the commercials that he sees, and that all commercials are NOT bad, but Madison Avenue's got an army of child psychologists whose sole job it is to put a wedge between me & my kid, and me & my money.  My kid gets far more parental involvement and teaching on the subject than a mere "No!" and a banning of things.

 

So I hope it's understandable why I feel resentful against these multi billion dollar corporations whose job is not to provide for my child's well-being, but to make it extra hard for ME to do the same. They rely on us throwing up our hands and saying "what's the harm"? There's a LOT of harm, and it's all documented quite nicely in that web site I quote somewhere above (Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood).  It's time for a little more common sense, and a little less denial.

 

In summary, of COURSE I regulate what my kid sees. We've narrowed it down to 1 hour of Nickelodeon/Disney type shows (i.e. highly commercial, heavily marketed kid fare) on Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sunday. For the rest of the days he's welcome to watch tapes and shows, but they can't be that garbage that's targeted TO kids. Doesn't it strike you as odd that I am sitting here trying to protect my kid from shows that are MADE FOR & MARKETED TO KIDS?  

 

Age has nothing to do with it. I spent so much time in front of the TV growing up, it isn't funny. I am expert on 70's TV trivia. I lived on I Dream of Jeannie and Gilligan's Island, the network movies of the week, Charlie's Angels, Dallas and Falcon Crest and Dynasty, Munsters and Bewitched, Hill Street and St. Elsewhere....the list would wrap around the earth a few times if I listed them. But I believe there's more at stake nowadays than just idle time in front of the tube. Much, much, more. And one glance at how kids are doing these days, well-being-wise, will tell anyone that maybe parents need to sit up and take notice.

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#36 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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We do watch Disney (movies, not TV - we don't have one), but DD (who's just turned three) hasn't started nagging for Tinkerbell backpacks or Belle pencil cases. I think it's partly because she doesn't see the ads; and perhaps partly because she doesn't go to preschool or daycare and get the peer pressure thing; but also just because our general "vibe" is that we don't buy stuff.

 

Not that we don't buy Disney stuff; we just don't buy much stuff, period. We don't shop for fun (well, I enjoy grocery shopping, but we don't hang out at malls, you know?); on the rare occasions we end up in a non-food-selling shop, we're usually there for something specific like craft supplies or whatever. So she doesn't associate seeing an item with the possibility of getting an item; to her, a treat is a milkshake or chippies when we're out, but not stickers or a toy. So if she sees a Cinderella shirt, she'll say "Look Mummy, the dancing girl on a shirt!" in great delight, I'll say "Wow, it's Cinderella, that's cool!", and we'll move along on our merry way. No muss, no fuss. I don't care if she recognises the characters and is pleased to see them - heck, it makes my day a little brighter to see Luke Skywalker hanging out on somebody's T-shirt. Why not? :) I won't buy them, because I think they're tacky, (generally) badly-made and made in appalling labour conditions. Plus, I prefer to sew DD's clothes myself. And so on. But by living a relatively unmaterialistic lifestyle, we've avoided - so far, at least - the Disney gimmes, without having to make a specific issue of it.

 

I do think parents should be allowed to limit/ban characters that drive them nuts, though; even if the reason isn't related to deep feminist issues or something equally weighty. If Dora's voice drives you insane, you shouldn't have to listen to it for three hours a day. I can't stand Barbie, so DD doesn't have one (luckily, for aforementioned reasons, she doesn't care - she did see a Barbie poster the other day and say "Look, a blonde lady!", but that's all she knows!); similarly bands like Hi 5 and the Wiggles, although I might well find them philosophically innocuous if I researched them, drive me nuts, so DD doesn't listen to them. It would be different if DH really felt strongly that she was missing out, though.

 

 


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#37 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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Wow. Look at this article that just came across my FB newsfeed, by sheer coincidence:

http://www.alternet.org/books/150410/how_disney_invaded_american_childhood_to_shill_worthless_crap_to_our_kids/

 

 

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#38 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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oaktreemama, you make some very good points in your most recent post, and all your reasons for limiting that stuff are valid. I have a thing against Nickelodeon in general and Spongebob in particular, so I can relate to a lot of what you say even though we are more lax about Disney stuff here. That said, having a DVR helps tremendously with many of the things you point out -- my kids don't see the commercials or the promos for other shows on that channel, they only see the actual show we recorded.  

 

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Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

I am fine with parents making different choices than me-it is all good.


I'm truly curious -- what if the other parent who wants to make a different choice is your kids' other parent? That's the situation the OP finds herself in, and I'm having trouble picturing how a "hill to die on" conversation about this might go when the person you (general you) are debating is your partner (who, presumably, has equal concern for and say in how your children are reared). 


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#39 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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I think the OP does need to compromise with her DH or have a broader perspective on the issues she wants to avoid.

 

It is also true that marketing to children is insidious.  Cars is funny and brilliantly marketed.  My kids love it and the more they do the more I hate it.  My son has 3 snot rods and is that enough - no, he tells me he needs 4.  2 years ago I had kept it out of the house.  I let my MIL give him a little car and now we have a million of them and they all have to be wearing the right paint job for the right scence.  It's obscene.  Do I personally buy this stuff for the kids - I've bought them a couple cars (special airplane ride toy, that type of thing), but it's mostly gifts from relatives.  Do I play mean mommy and ban others from buying us commercial toys or just get rid of it after we receive it?  So far, no, I don't.  Do we now have obscene amounts of cute little Cars cars that will no doubt be added to when the new Cars movie comes out this coming summer? Yes.

 

Our culture is drowning in consumerism.  It's hard to stay afloat.  When you have family you know and love that just doesn't see they are drowning and wasting money and throwing more and more stuff into OUR lives that we have to either ban or force out or deal with... UGH. 

 

Ok, that was a rant.  I totally get where the OP is coming from and I have taken the compromise route and it worked for a while.  With the way my extended family is, we let in a little and it floods in.  So now it's a couple years down the road and I don't know what to advise or say. 

 

I had over 10 CPK when I was a kid - so I guess I lived it then and now I'm suffering it now.  I liked it when I was little but I really didn't understand. 

 

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#40 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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I think that one important thing has not been mentioned here and that is the insidious things Disney movies teach children about gender, relationships and history. Children internalize messages like a happy ending MUST include the girlie character having the big pretty wedding. There are lots of problamatic messages within the Disney cannon but the ones about gender are the ones that kill me.

It's my hill to die on.


 

 

This is why I avoided a lot of the older Disney movies for a long time.  I didn't like the messages I internalized about women from a young age and I didn't want that for my dd.  Those messages come from everywhere in our society, but I think that when we spend large chunks of time watching those messages (over and over again for many kids) we give them more importance.  I didn't regulate the products that made their way into the house because very few did, but I didn't get the movies or the books until my dd showed me that she was ready for them and had become used to watching movies with strong female characters who don't get married at the end of the show.  I didn't tell my dd that we wouldn't do Disney movies, I just really discouraged the ones with marriage themes and found alternatives until I felt that she could handle them without buying into the crappy theme.  When she watched them she was horrified that the princess got married and she hasn't wanted to watch those ones since.  Some of the newer movies actually include some better themes that are more appropriate for a child though so they are getting better very slowly. 

 

I think talking to your husband about what you want for your daughter as an adult and how these movies affected your view of who you should be would be a good place to start.  Agreeing on an age to introduce them or allowing the ones that don't have themes that go against your morals may be a good place to compromise if your problem is with the way women are portrayed rather than just a blanket disagreement with marketing.  If you are concerned with marketing in general then I am not sure where you would start.  In our society everything is marketed somehow, some companies are just more successful at it than others.  Getting rid of your tv is also a great idea and I second it.  I love not having a tv, there is so much that you can get free or cheap online that a tv and the cost of hooking it up just isn't a good investment anyways.
 

 

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#41 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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MDC was down for a while earlier and a post I made got lost in the shuffle. But, I have trouble with the gender thing. I watched Disney moves, including the older princess ones (Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, which I didn't like as well as the other two, except that I loved the two fairies arguing over the dress colour). I never internalized any of the messages that I hear people talking about from this stuff. DD1 does like princesses...but she also loves digging in the dirt for spiders, snails and worms. And, she gets most of the princess stuff second hand from a neighbour, and banning Disney from our house wouldn't change that at all.

 

I certainly agree that everybody needs to make their own decisions about this stuff, and if I hadn't married a man who loves Disney and whose parents love Disney, we wouldn't have anywher near as much of it in our home. But, he is their dad, and it's not like I'm the only one making decisions here. If this is a hill to die on, it's a hill to die on, but there's no way the OP can actually stop her dh from liking Disney or sharing it with their kids. I suspect that arguing/debating it is going to make it a bigger deal that it already is.

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#42 of 47 Old 03-29-2011, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, OP here. First of all, thank you to everyone for your responses, they were all thoughtfully written and each gave me something to think about. I can see now that my wording was a bit harsher than intended; I guess what I'm really looking for is tools to facilitate an educated discussion regarding what we will and won't allow regarding "mainstream media", what the facts are about cartoons, etc. My husband and I had very different upbringings (i was homeschooled, raised on a commune) and as a result we have very different views, but we have learned to approach them with respect and love.

Lesson learned: don't post in the heat of the moment! I clearly came off much harsher than intended.
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#43 of 47 Old 03-30-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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OP Thanks for your kind words.  I wanted to clarify a bit.  I think what you exude will have a lot of influence on what your dd decides for herself.  I do not exude the ciderella stories etc, therefore DD does not hold a candle for the princess.  And I also wanted to point out, that at some point she will be exposed, and that best happens with you who cares best.  When we watch the movies together, it gives me oppotunity to add my opinions on what is happening, for instance I say, cinderella is happy because she found a prince, because a long time ago women thought those were the only choices (or words to those effect).  then I go on to tell her how many choices are available in the present world.

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#44 of 47 Old 03-30-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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I haven't read all the posts, and I will need to go back and do so. I have thought about this over the yeras, and I haven't figured out my thoughts on it.  We didn't licensed items here. We did however, have nice toys. Groovy girls received a ton of play for years.   My daughters do have a princess doll or two they received as gifts, but they didn't play with them. They did love the princess nightgowns I'd pick up on clearance at the Disney store, but they always pretended they were someone else rather than a Disney princess. Peter Pan did play into their play, but when it comes from a book, I'm not sure I can condemn the licensed aspect.

 

Strangely enough, I've seen FAR more play drawn from having read Harry Potter, and next to no princess play despite licensed Disney items in the home.  All recent pretend play now revolves around HP plots.  I think we would have a hard time saying reading the books have stiffled their imaginary play, but they are pulling from something they did not overtly create.

 

 

I think it is a laudable goal to do everything to retain their creativity. My point is that I think a bigger impact to creativity has less to do with licensed items and far more to do with the tone set in the home. Quality toys, free time, free access to art supplies. I found this bolstered creativity far more. 

 

 

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#45 of 47 Old 03-30-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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Children can be exposed to some licensed characters without it completely stunting their imaginations.  It's a balance.  If al they have are dolls that go to tv shows and movies, and they watch the shoes/movies all the time, that's a problem.  But if they have a few, and watch less on the screen, then some Disney princess dolls mixes with their other toys is just fine.  I understand your concern, I really do.  Keeping our daughter from being oversaturated in mainstream media was a concern for us too. So we put some limits on it.  Disney is okay (a sentimental part of both our childhoods that we are sharing with our daughter), Sesame Street characters and Barney and most other things drive me up the wall.  Neither my husband nor I care much for Dora the Explorer, but her grandpa thinks Dora is adorable (his girlfriend has a granddaughter obsessed with it and so he sees it a lot), so we let her have the Dora things her grandpa gives her.  Nothing really wrong with a character that encourages bilingualism.  Barbie is banned.  I did internalize the message that extreme thinness is beautiful, and that life needs a dream car and Malibu mansion.  I got over the latter two, but the first message I got from Barbie was skinniness is beautiful, and I have lasting issues.  Plus Barbie is very much about materialism.  Any dolls that cross-promote with other brands are out.  At no time can her licensed-character toys make up more than 5% of the toys she plays with.

 

The key is moderation and being involved in play.  "Oh no, Generic Dolls 1 and 2 and Ariel are trapped behind the couch!  How are Tiana and Generic Doll 3 going to save them?!"  You and your husband can BOTH have your way.  He can share Disney with her, as he has every right to do, and you can encourage free-play by combining the Disney toys with non-Disney.

 

The thing is, books aren't going to help your case if he won't read them.  You don't need to be convinced of your position, and he's thoroughly convinced of his position.  The books that are out aren't about the evils of having a few character dolls among many other non-character dolls.  The books take the extreme cases, the kids who have everything charactered, from dolls to dresses to lunch boxes.  Moderation isn't harmful, but a total saturation is.

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#46 of 47 Old 03-30-2011, 03:18 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that whatever you decide, be aware that your approach may change (or may need to change as your child gets older). When dd was very young, it was easy to regulate what she saw. She didn't see any television/movies/DVDs until she was two and a half. Nearly all of her "baby" toys were natural and all were free of licensed characters. 

 

When dd started going to nursery school, she simply had more exposure to those things. She's always been in schools that discourage commercial characters, but kids still talk about them. Out of nowhere, she could identify characters that she saw--including ones that we didn't know. We also started allowing limited amount of screen time, but only DVDs or streaming videos. She now gets birthday gifts from her friends and some of them are NOT what I would choose--Tinkerbell, etc. But you know what? It's such a small fraction of what she owns and sees that I just can't get that crazy about it. 

 

When she was one, my dd was diagnosed with very serious and extensive food allergies. So though we always swore we wouldn't be Disney parents, we now plan vacations to Disney every year or two. You know why? Because they are SO good about food allergies, even allergies as extensive as my daughter's. Disney World is literally the only place we've gone where she is able to eat in the restaurants. Being able to take a vacation where we don't have to pack an extra suitcase full of food and worry about prepping every single meal or snack is worth the tradeoff of ending up with one or two Disney stuffed animals in my house. 

 

We have some lines we're firm on. We're okay with some screen time, but nothing with commercials. We'll buy some licensed items (mostly stickers and invisible ink books), but if dd wants anything else, she needs to purchase it with her own allowance money. But we're not going to take away, say, the licensed character party favors she gets at a friend's birthday. No clothing items with characters. These are compromises that work well for us.

 

As for the gender messages, I agree wholeheartedly. But sexist and heteronormative messages pervade every aspect of our culture. I don't fool myself into thinking that if dd doesn't watch Rapunzel, she's going to avoid those messages. So instead, we work actively to explain and counteract those messages, in an age-appropriate way. In any case, I had a couple dozen Barbies and watched every Disney movie that came down the pike, and I still ended up a hardcore feminist--so go figure. winky.gif

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#47 of 47 Old 03-30-2011, 03:27 PM
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I have very very fond memories of playing for a long time in the bathtub with my Simba and Nala figures and a host of other animals. They were a part of my imaginary play! I used the licensed characters the same as I did the non licensed ones, I don't think they had any affect at all on my imagination..

Now Barbie, I had tons of them and they are something my daughter will NEVER have...That is one of the few gifts that I will give right back to the giver no matter what DD's age...I honestly HATE Barbie, thank you for giving an entire generation of young girls warped and distorted views of what beauty is...Ick

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