Why We Don’t Do Disney (and other things to make you roll your eyes)

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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.

no_disney

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:

  • Bambi
  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Little Mermaid
  • Pocahantas
  • Toy Story
  • Aladdin
  • 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!

Try explaining this to your kids

Try explaining this to your kids

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
  • SuperWhy!
  • 19 Kids and Counting
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Angelina Ballerina
  • Kipper
  • 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….

13 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Do Disney (and other things to make you roll your eyes)

  1. So I have to admit, at first I though: man, off the deep end. Then I read & found myself nodding A LOT. You have given me MUCH to think about, friend ! Are the people who mane up children’s shows not parents ? Cause man NONE of my friends allow language like : shut up, crap, and so on…. We

  2. Consider them rolled ;) I actually pretty much agree with you whole-heartedly. The only full length movie SK has watched is that old Pooh movie and she loves it so much I don’t see the need to expand our movie repertoire, at least not for a long while. And frankly, I’m sick of the Frozen hype. I haven’t seen it, but I’m automatically turned off by what a phenomenon it has become. I guess I feel like we weren’t allowed to watch a lot of things growing up or participate in the newest coolest “thing” and that was character building for us. So, I’m not going to say “no Disney for us, ever”, I’m just going to use my parental judgement and authority to call the shots about what is watched in this house, not current trends and popular opinion.

    • Eh, I’m not on board with that assessment although, like I said before, I haven’t seen the movie. Look, basically everyone I know has seen Frozen and bought it for their kids and I don’t believe they are bad parents and they’re poisoning their kids. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for my 2 year old to watch and ultimately, the drift I get is that it’s just another stupid fluffy movie with excellent animation and catchy songs. I’m not going to read into it more than that. My feeling about movies and tv (whether it’s Disney or not) is that it’s all unnecessary, kind of like junk food for the mind. Now, I’m not one to never let my kid eat sugar, but I make sure she doesn’t eat too much of it because it’s bad for her teeth and could make her sick and/or fat in huge quantities. I kinda view movies and entertainment that way. Some movies I’m completely against, like Shrek. And Disney channel shows are completely out of the question (but we don’t get cable so it’s not any issue). Anyway, for where I am right now, most movies are off the table because she’s a 2 year old. Eventually she’ll see more movies, but ideally under our supervision, after we’ve screened them ourselves.

      • Yes, the age is pretty much a good indicator…once they’re formed and strengthened well with a good inner judgment, it’s definitely less work on our part. Which is pretty much my point, obviously no parent is bad for letting their kids watch Disney. I just think, it might be making more work for myself. Call me lazy….

  3. I am also very careful of what I let my kids watch. But I think we have to decided on a movie by movie basis. My kids have watched almost all the old Disney movies, though not as many of the newer ones (beginning with Pocahontas). We buy them at garage sales or check them out at the library so we aren’t giving money to a company that promotes the Culture of Death. But even some of those you mention as okay, I’d rather not show my kids. Not all old musicals are innocent. There was lots of sexuality in movies from the ’50s and ’60s too, just a little more subtle. We watched the old Dr. Doolittle and there were some off-color parts. And then there is the age thing. Many movies are not okay for 5-year-olds, but may be okay for a 10-year old when you discuss it with him. My husband put Homeward Bound in one of the boy’s Easter baskets. I haven’t seen it for years, but I remember a lot of sassy talk and cutting remarks. I’ve decided I’ll watch it with my boys and discuss it. If it seems to be influencing their behavior negatively, we’ll put it away for a few years. Each family has to set its own standards, but I hope they are high ones.

    • Absolutely with the age thing. I think if they’ve formed their consciences well, there is definitely much less work ‘undoing’ certain messages. It mostly boils down to discretion.

  4. We LOVE Frozen here (by which I mean, our kids love Frozen and I love the 90 minutes of distraction it provides). I read Steven Greydanus’ piece on it and totally disagree with it. If I look hard enough, I can find “agendas” in EVERYTHING. I hate the Barbie crap, though. And Little Mermaid is HORRIBLE. I’m mostly against those movies, though, for not being clever and having awful dialogue and songs. Maybe I’m not thinking about it hard enough but, frankly, neither are my kids who like watching anything with funny reindeer and animated snowmen and pretty good animation.

  5. Yes indeed! The Disney Channel was the first thing to go, (after MTV,VH1 of course) for a very simple reason. Every sitcom portrayed the adults as bumbling idiots and the children as problem solvers that could school the poor dolts. Disobedience to rules, many of which were voiced out of concern for the safety of the child (or fish,animal or princess) are defiantly ignored and the end results validate the unsafe choice. Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave………

  6. Okay. I’m going to say I agree with you, with reservations :) You know what I hate most about Disney, especially the Disney Princess line, nowadays? The merchandising. The “let’s plaster sexed up princesses on EVERYTHING” so parents will pay 3x as much for it trend. I mean — Belle! Leave Belle alone!! She just wants to READ, man!! (http://peggyorenstein.com/blog/belle-the-bratz-version) However, on the issue of the non-traditional family story lines — if you look at the original fairy tales of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White, those *were* single parent or blended families. Disney changed plenty, but left that detail alone. And those stories are beautiful (well — I’m not a huge fan of Snow White, actually. I think Disney actually did modern audiences a favor by sparing us the witch’s gruesome death (http://scandinavian.wisc.edu/mellor/hca/texts/snowwhite.hca.html). And you got me thinking about The Lion King…when Simba’s father dies and he’s sent off spiraling into denial/hakuna matata land, it’s only in sharp relief to the safety and comfort he found in his traditional, mom+pop family. It’s the shattering of that family that sends him into exile, and it’s the hope of creating a new family w/Nala that brings him back (sidenote: I’m dying inside, realizing that this is where my English degree has led me). I’m not saying the Lion King is great art or anything, but I think it actually does champion the importance of family — and a mother and father — to children. However, the Little Mermaid: burn, Ariel, burn. Have you rewatched Sleeping Beauty as a parent? There are some scary scenes for kids (Lucia was scared of the dragon the first time but got over it later on), but it is beautiful. And there are strong Christian themes woven in it, especially in the last half or so when the prince is battling his way to Aurora. (His sword of truth, the power of love over evil, etc.) Great stuff!

    • I agree with the Ariel comment. HA. No but really, I had thought about these old school fairy tales and I don’t have a problem with the fairy tales. I think, as you hinted at with the merchandising, it is the commercialization/sexualization of these characters. And, Disney definitely took some liberties embellishing these scripts if you ask me. But of lately, most concerning is the Disney original stories, and I go back to my point of the billion dollar “Gay Days”….I just can’t trust a company to entertain my kids that puts so much money and effort into something so contrary to my beliefs.

  7. This has sparked intresting conversation! While I respect and see your point I dont think we ll be cutting out disney anytime soon. Wether I m just a bit layed back, or Im just not ready to let go of some of my childhood fantacies. Firstly Ill make a guilty confession of wether Jacob watches or not I love watching disney movies and might have used having a child as a good excuse to bone up on our collection. Secondly while we battled pink eye and live in rainy old England Monsters University has been a life line. It is the only full length film he will sit through.
    I just wanted to say I guess in a round a bout way that disney is apart of a lot of little ones lives I think I d rather expose Jacob to the movies in a controled environment where we can talk about the good,bad, and any questions that might come up do to all the hard work we all put in as parents trying to teach right from wrong. Where as if he were to go to say a sleepover and be exposed to a disney movie and feel he has done something completly wrong when he didnt truly have a choice into what everyones chosen. While im not condoning giving in to peer pressure I just think if youve worked hard to make them level headed individuals watching a disney movie now and then is not going to make your kid go on a parent defying rampage.
    Also in fireman sam norman dosent have a father, and hes the one that creates all the trouble.

    • Yes, Norman doesn’t have a father but he’s not the main character/focus and he’s never rewarded for his naughtiness, he always learns a lesson and apologizes… usually to the adult in the end. I am not judging anyone for showing their kids Disney or saying that their kids will be ill-effected by it, For me, my kids are at the ages of “monkey-see, monkey-do”— and I’d rather not have to worry about explaining it all, I’d much rather have the peace of mind knowing what they’re watching is what I want them to learn. That’s all…. :)

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