Disney has made a mint capitalizing on the hopes and dreams of children everywhere. But up until recently, they were doing an absolutely horrible job of it.
Okay, feel free to file this in the “Wow, you’re waaaaaaaaay over thinking this” file, but hear me out,
When I was little, I was absolutely in love with The Little Mermaid. I’d take baths and pretend to be a mermaid with my hair floating behind me in the water. I’d steal forks out of the silverware drawer and made them into dinglehoppers. I even aspired to sing just as beautifully as she did. I like Eric well enough, but he was seriously last on my list of great things about the movie. This isn’t the case for most little girls.
And once I got older and watched The Little Mermaid again….well lets just say the underlying message leaves something to be desired. Lets review.
Ariel sees a guy and instantly falls madly in love. She’s 16 by the way. So she see this guys and falls in love, but her father doesn’t approve. Okay I’m on board with the message so far. But this is where Disney needs to rethink their approach a bit.
Instead of graciously accepting that and getting over it, she makes a deal with a witch, basically sells her soul and betrays her family just so she can get this guy who is so weak minded that he immediately falls in love with only the sound of her voice. Which, by the way, is actually the sea witch. So then, after all this, she STILL gets the guy and has her happily ever after.
Now I know that most 16 year old girls tend to ignore their parents. Hell, been there, done that. However, I wouldn’t ever sell my soul or betray my family for a guy who I’d never even spoken to.
It just seems to be an unrealistic ideal for little girls to aspire to. Like, yeah go ahead and fuck up beyond belief but hey you’ll still get your happily ever after.
The real world doesn’t work that way.
Some people do everything right, work hard and never EVER catch a break. Some people are the most evil they can be and have everything they could ever want. Life isn’t fair. But what makes it worth living is the journey, not what you get out of it. It’s the experience, not the possessions you can acquire. And let’s face it…in the movie, the guy is really just a possession she has to have.
I hope to instill my kids with a sense of optimistic reality. They can work hard and get what they want. But they will always have what they NEED when they have people who love them.
***Disney started getting it right recently…see The Princess and the Frog.***
That’s why every holiday where they receive toys and stuff that inevitably gets piled on top of everything else they already have, we go through and they pick out about half of their things to donate. They are starting to realize that it’s not the stuff that’s important. It’s the people.
And if they manage to take that lesson away, then I’ll feel like I’ve done my job as a parent.