01 June 2011

It's Not What You Think! Why I Want My Sons to Watch Princess Movies - Part 1

I remember quite vividly the first time I exercised my parental right to choose a movie instead of watching Toy Story (1, 2, or 3), Cars, or Star Wars (III, IV, V, or VI). It involved much screaming and crying and fit throwing. After I was done, I calmly told Aedyn “We are a family, you don’t always get to choose!”

Then I put in Mulan. Another time, Beauty & the Beast, when he wanted to watch it again immediately I didn’t say no. He will even ask for Tangled and he put Cinderella in this morning. That said, there are still plenty of times when we’re watching Star Wars; and Cars and Toy Story are never unwatched for too long.

Let me be clear on this point. IT IS NOT BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO GENTLE HIM DOWN. I don’t show him these movies to try and distract him from competition, violence, or other “overly” masculine things. There is not enough true masculinity in this world as it is! But that is another post.

Initially, yes, I personally needed a break from all the testosterone driven entertainment we were watching. But as I watched him view these films and started thinking, I realized he needs to watch them. In a society where women are objectified, undressed, and pasted on a billboard, very little is left to tell the male gender what a true lady, a true princess, looks like.

How is he supposed to find a “girl to marry” if all he’s ever exposed to are “girls you date”? If I can save him even one heartbreak by showing him there’s a difference, by helping him understand the difference, then I know it’s worth it.

Aedyn and Jaron have a wonderful father, a man who can teach them how to be men. I know they’ll grow up a be Prince Charmings on white horses, looking for someone to sweep off her feet. But, that’s Jake’s job to teach them how to reconcile being warriors and lovers.

I have a different job. I have to teach them who is worth sweeping off her feet.

Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel were from abusive homes and unfair situations; but none of them ever showed any bitterness or self-pity, they didn’t let their environment rule them. Belle was an example of self-sacrifice; someone who had inner strength and confidence and who overcame her fears to protect those she loved.These are characteristics of the “girl you marry”.

Then consider Ariel, the Little Mermaid. She was a spoiled, little, rich, kid, who was rebellious, pitched a temper tantrum and things somehow just worked out for her. I have some serious doubts that just because she got her way she was suddenly cured of breaking all the rules and instantly turned into a model wife and ruler.

The question is: Where have all the Princesses gone? In a society that encourages young women to be like Ariel and just take what they want and do what it takes, aren’t we missing something? What happened to gracefulness and integrity?

Be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3!
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  1. I saw your link on Single Dad Laughing and I just had to check it out. The reason being that I am sitting here with my two sons watching Tangled. Like you, I don't like the idea of a woman becoming an inappropriate symbol to my boys, and I want to steer them away from that for as long as I can. Glad to know there is a mother out there that feels the same way I do!

  2. I also just came from SDL - and I have to tell you that this is an awesome post! AMEN! I have 2 boys, 6 & 1, and a 3 year old Princess. They have to share the tv time, so my boys watch Tangled, and she gets some Star Wars time. But I completely agree with your point of view. It's funny; I've always struggled with The Little Mermaid, but not known why. I think you pinpointed it perfectly! Thanks - I'll be following! Can't wait for tomorrow!

  3. You gave me the words I have looked for for the past 6 years, I think in your last post you said you do not let them watch The Little Mermaid, but you could use it as an example and tell them that the way she acts to get what she wants will most likely continue on after marriage and that it will make life hard trying to please a wife who is never happy with what she has. Just my two cents on that movie. Thank you for putting the words out there for me to link to.

  4. They do watch Little Mermaid, even tough it's not my favorite, I have a feeling Aedyn likes red hair (uhoh...) that's a great way to talk about it though, thanks for the thought!!


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