Ok, so I have had a beef with Disney for a few years now. But in light of recent revelations that only confirmed my suspicions, I felt it was time to finally drag this old post out of my saved drafts folder and finally muster up the courage to publish it.
Before I go any farther there are some things you should know. My big kahuna of an issue is the Disney movies. My daughter owns several Disney “Barbies” (solely because they are the only modest ones out there!) We have some Disney character items lying around in our toy bin, and Disney pointless objects like stickers and coloring books. My Uncle also works for Disney. So yes, if you come over my house to inspect, I assure you, you will eventually find something linked to the “Disney” company here.
However, our kids don’t watch Disney cartoons or movies. Disclaimer, they have watched these:
1. Winnie the Pooh (1974) – The only ‘scary’ thing in this movie is the Heffalumps and Woosels… which are just elephants and weasels. No rudeness, no attitude, no defiance….just a silly nilly willy old bear.
2. Toy Story 2- That’s right, not the first one and not the last one. It’s the only one that is benign enough… with the ‘enemy’ being Newman in a Chicken suit. The first one has that creepy pyscho Sid destroying toys and blowing things up….exactly what I don’t need my sons seeing, and the last one is freaky when the toys go to the dump and they see trash cans filled with baby doll body parts.
3. Mary Poppins. No explanation needed. Good morals and lots of music.
Now that’s said…here’s why we tell our kids “we don’t do Disney’. Back in college, I had a hunch and once I had kids, my hunch only grew more curious. My hunch was that Disney movies undermine the authority of the parent. And if you undermine the authority of the parent, well, kids pretty much raise themselves with an innate disdain for authority and structure. Or to be more specific…. values and morals. Or to be even more specific, they subconsciously are developing a relativistic mindset. If you can plant the seed of relativistic worldview (what I feel is right is right, what I want is right, when I want it is right..) at an early age, and only foster this relativistic mindset all throughout their very impressionable adolescent years…. guess what? It’s going to be an uphill battle in the teen and young adult years trying to undo that. Especially when you have society working against you tenfold. But that’s just my hunch.
My hopes to share some of my Disney movie memories with my kids kinda unraveled in my lap last summer as I put on “Finding Nemo” for all of us to watch as family. I thought “Finding Nemo” was cute when I watched it in college (note: after I knew better what behavior is acceptable and what is not) however, watching it with impressionable preschoolers, who you are trying to form in good manners and character- I was really upset when in the first ten minutes of the movie, Nemo’s mother dies, Nemo makes fun of his Dad’s “overprotection”, Nemo deliberately defies his father, and tells his father to “shut up!”. My kids were wide-eyed and shocked that Nemo did those naughty things. That movie was over pretty fast in the this house. Then the wheels in my head started turning. Nemo gets his way in the end. And guess what? His Dad apologizes for being so overprotective. How’s that for irony? So the moral of the story is…….. do what you want to do, your parents are stupid and annoying, they’ll get over it and realize that they were wrong for not letting you make your own decisions. WHAT? (ahem. Relativism, anyone?)
I started going down the list of all the Disney movies I could think of and I started finding some common and disturbing themes. Guess what? The majority of Disney movies have a premise of either one or no parents. Is that a little odd to you? It is to me. It’s innately teaching kids that having both a mom and a dad isn’t vital or important and that their roles are interchangeable. It’s laying the foundation that marriage isn’t a necessary institution. I think, it’s planting seeds of how they perceive marriage. And believe me, in the climate we are living, our kids need all the reinforcement they can get on traditional marriage. How can I sit there and try to explain to my son why kids need both a Mom and a Dad, when he can say back “well…. Ariel only had a Dad…and Simba only had a Mom….they were ok…” Up. Hill. Battle. And frankly, I’m already too tired to deal with it… so it’s easier just to avoid it.
Here’s some of the movies with single/no parents present:
- Snow White
- Little Mermaid
- Toy Story
- Lion King
- Beauty and the Beast
And that’s just to name a few. Still curious? Go to the Wikipedia page here and look for yourself... you’ll be surprised how many there are. (I am not going to launch into how over-sexualized the female characters are in the Disney movies… because we all know that and we’ve read the dozens of articles… but take this as a given: they sexualized a lot of their characters!)
Also, defiance. Defiance of parental authority is a Disney classic. Think about just recently in Brave, Frozen (oh, dear FROZEN) and Finding Nemo….nice sugar coated relativism. All those previous films listed too, go against the parent’s advice and teaching, does their own thing and gets rewarded in the end. Not exactly what I want my kids absorbing subconsciously because that ain’t how God works. Just look at salvation history. There are rules, there are instructions, God is mericful but God doesn’t succumb to our whims and change his laws because of our mistakes.
Speaking of God, you know that name isn’t allowed at Disney studios or in their movies either. Not that it should surprise you. But am I taking it too far? I used to think I might be a little off my rocker but then I discovered “Gay Days” that Disney parks put on annually. Mind you it is NOT a private event… but open to families and millions of children!
I began to ask myself, if a local theater was putting on these “days” in our town would I still take my kids to the theater when they performed an original scripted play? No way, man. I wouldn’t trust them to keep the material innocent and pure enough for my kids minds… then why in the heck would I trust a multi-billion dollar company to keep their material pristine… when clearly they’ve got some kind of an agenda? (And they do, they’ve started putting it into their TV programming!)
Well, I may be wrong or over-analyzing it. Or getting too carried away. But, I only have a mere 18 years to prep my kids for the battle of the real world, and I need all the help, not hindrance I can get. Sorry Disney, but I have no spare souls over here that I’m willing to experiment with.
But what about me you naysayers might debate? Didn’t I watch all those Disney movies? Yup. Watched the Disney channel a lot too, and even then I knew it was all a mockery of adults and authority. Did I have an attitude problem? You betcha. All those kids on the Disney channel had attitude problems and idiot parents. They were child-kings. They were everything we thought we wanted to be. Their lives revolved around : them. I guess I turned out ok, but I definitely caused some undue friction in the teen years. Which inevitably may have been there just because I was in the teen years, but I feel the Disney influence only exacerbated the situation. Also, not for nothing but have you seen the trend in the lives of these Disney channel stars? Like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Christian Aguleria, Lee Thompson Young, Linsday Lohan…. now that’s really got to make you wonder about Disney’s magical influence.
Look, my kids watch plenty of TV. Don’t you worry. We just choose things that will support our parenting philosophy, not unravel it. There is plenty of wholesome children’s television out there that features nothing sexualized, both a mom and a dad parenting (something that becoming more rare for our kids to see) and respectful children with good manners. Hey, you are what you watch. Here’s what we opt for instead of Disney:
- Fireman Sam
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
- 19 Kids and Counting
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- Angelina Ballerina
- Veggie Tales
- Lots of Old School Musicals (Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music, Dr. Dolittle, White Christmas)
I know I take this really seriously. ( But obviously not too seriously, since I do own Disney princess dolls, etc. see previous paragraphs). I have a big problem with Disney movies. They are consistently, delibrately anti-God, anti-authority and anti-Traditional Marriage. This is just not the entertainment I want my kids exposed to. Am I saying people are going to have perfect angel kids if they don’t watch Disney? Nope. But do I think avoiding Disney will make parenting a lot smoother of a journey? I have a hunch it might….