Yesterday, for the THIRD time, LittleTaff brought home a fairy tale... this time Rapunzel. Objectified women with little or no agency, basing marriage decisions on the appearance or wealth of the men, and WITCHES!!!!We were just talking about the Disney "Little Mermaid" yesterday, specifically the song "Part of Your World" — remember the singing "dads" — and my son John emailed me a link to his Ask Metafilter answer to that worried woman:
After the second version of the Little Mermaid came home, I had a phone interview with the head and told her that I wasn't happy about the way women were portrayed, that I could see some historical merit in the books, but thought they were more appropriate for older children... but also that the Disney version of the Little Mermaid had no literary nor historical merit and did the school need some fundraising for books. (I'm on the fundraising committee. )
Really, [the Disney "Little Mermaid"] has no merit? Listen again to the song "Part of your World." Do you not hear the feminist themes in that song — about "bright young women . . . ready to stand?" What could be more feminist than a young woman expressing her interest in scientific discovery — "what's a fire, and why does it burn?" (The lyrics are fresh in my mind since I sang it in karaoke the other day along with a female friend.) I'm sure there's a great feminist critique of the movie to be made. But do you really want to prevent your daughter from seeing anything that could potentially be the subject of such a critique?You can probably tell I didn't filter my children's reading/watching. And I can't remember my own parents ever saying one thing about my choices — even my choice to watch just about anything that was ever on television (when they themselves rarely watched television). (My parents spent nearly every evening sitting around talking to each other. Not reading and talking. Just talking!)
You seem to assume that you've seen all the truth that exists to be seen in your world, and educating your daughter is just about transmitting these truths to her. On the contrary, it matters relatively little whether your child shares your views. What matters more is equipping your child to deal with the world in her own individual way.
So I say, let your daughter be exposed to all of this. I'll bet she can handle it. Focus on talking to her about it instead of trying to create the perfect parental filter (considering that the filter is never going to last anyway). You might even learn something from her in the process.
Speaking of controlling your children, I was just listening to one of my favorite old Lovin' Spoonful songs "Younger Generation" (video and lyrics at the link):
Why must every generation,Listening to it now, I'm not sure whether it's a sincere expression of a desire to let children range free — "I must be permissive... all my deepest worries must be his cartoons" — or making fun of hippie-style parents who don't know where to draw the line:
Think their folks are square?
And no matter where their heads are,
They know mom's ain't there....
Hey, Pop, my girlfriend's only three,Crazy dreams! (And yet, today the little girl does have her own videophone.)
She's got her own videophone,
And she's taking LSD,
And now that we're best friends,
She wants to give a bit to me,
But what's the matter, daddy,
How come you're turning green?
Can it be that you can't live up to your dreams?