Disney Eats Your Daughters

I’ve mentioned some of the reasons for our distaste for Disney’s kids movies (and other ‘blockbusters’ as well) before, so when I came across this interview with Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter , I thought it was well worth sharing:

“My biggest surprise as a parent, or one of them, was how much of my job is about protecting my child’s childhood. And when I think about what that means, in addition to her not wearing makeup when she’s three years old, it’s about imagination and making sure that her imagination isn’t colonized by these proscribed scripts. I’m personally concerned with the script for girls. And for boys, too, but that’s not what I write about.

I don’t mind that Daisy plays a little bit of princess now and again, or did when she was littler; that’s fine. But if she’s walking around doing the Cinderella story, and not even the Cinderella story, but the version which is all about getting the most stuff, then that’s a problem. And there is evidence on violence, kids are acting out a proscribed script over and over and over—homogeneously across the country in their play—after they’ve been exposed to these TV shows or Internet stuff or robotic toys or whatever. I find that disheartening, and I’m sure it must contribute to this drop in creativity scores we’re seeing.”

Read the rest of the interview at Mother Jones: Are Disney Princesses Evil?

[via EcoChildsPlay]

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

7 thoughts on “Disney Eats Your Daughters

  • To some extent, I believe it is true. My wife is dying to take the girls to Walt Disney World for the experience it will be. But camping in the desert or working in a dinosaur dig would be an experience – and long term, a much more enriching one. It is not the fact that is tourism or entertainment that I object to. It’s that it is fake, created just for us to go to instead of going to someplace real. And, let it be stated, I am not against anything created just for entertainment; the question id how much of our entertainment time do we devote to fake things (like and entire year’s vacation), or like nothing but the proscribed scripts that Peggy refers to. In the end, I know we will go to Walt Disney World, and it will be up to me to negotiate boat trips through the Everglades and a visit to Cape Canaveral to make the trip worthwhile.

    • Derek Markham

      Very true – if our kid’s attention is mostly (or always) on fake things, it’s hard to get them to pay attention to the real world (and all of the great experiences that don’t have a t-shirt or branded toy to go with them). Cheers!

  • Is it funny that the ad that comes up on your page is one for Disney Princess party supplies. LOL. Great article.

    • Derek Markham

      Oh no… I kind of figured that might happen – I blocked a bunch of ads like that, must have missed some new urls. I don’t get served a party supply ad when I view it, though – I’m looking at a web math site ad there now. Thanks for letting me know!

  • We do watch *some* Disney movies in our house, however, we only own one *Princess* movie, which I have already threatened to throw in the trash. And like many, I also feel the need to protect my daughter’s childhood. No barbies, no make up, not slutty clothing (have you seen some of the clothing for eve two year olds?!?!), it’s unbelievable. I love this article. Thank you.

  • We opt out of having cable for this reason, because I very strongly feel that advertising is a problem in the psyche of youth today. Still, I wish more parents focused directly on the impact that their behaviour is having on their children… rather than the television.
    The biggest influence on children and their behaviour is their parents behaviour. That’s a pretty bitter pill for some people to have to swallow.
    And I’m not talking about what mothers are wearing, necessarily, but about what their attitudes are saying.

    If a four year old little girl has a little trouble remembering to be thankful all the time, that’s normal. If a little girl looks at life from a purely, “how much am I getting out of this” standpoint? I would look to the parents before the movies.

  • Michelle

    I agree with this article and have a nice story to tell. I loved Disneyland as a child and wanted to be Mickey Mouse when I grew up, not a princess type personality. This past summer we had an opportunity to take our children to Disneyland as we were visiting my grandmother who lives only 10 minutes away. We had tickets for three days. Our children are not exposed to this sort of thing and we planned it out well with whole foods and nap breaks. On the morning of day two, our five year old said, I am not going today, I am staying home with grandma. At the end of our vacation through California, we asked all of the children what their favorite part was. Our five and seven year olds said hanging out with grandma and our fourteen year old liked spending time in Bellingham WA. where we had lots of nature walks and time together. Gotta Love the validation of the way we choose to live.


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