No Mouse in this house: why my kids won't be watching Disney films

Disney is releasing the old classics on Blu-ray. Hurray! Now it's time to watch timeless children's classics in high definition. Not in my house, we won't

So Disney is releasing the old classics on Blu-ray. Hurray! Now it's time to watch such timeless children's films as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and The Lion King in peerlessly detailed high definition. A new generation can be enchanted by these wonderful tales...

Not in my house they won't. My future kids can ride the Catbus, and enjoy such gems as My Neighbor Totoro and other works from the likes of Studio Ghibli. But the Trenholm juniors aren't watching Disney films and that's the end of it.

I don't like the messages they send. Every Disney film begins with a young character -- Belle, Cinderella, Simba, Mulan and so on -- who is unhappy with their lives and wishes to escape the destiny prescribed by their parents. Often that involves an unwanted marriage or the acceptance of familial duty. Princess, washerwoman or lion briefly escapes the family -- but with disastrous consequences. The happy ending is a heterosexual relationship and the acceptance that hey! the parents were right all along!

Kids! Know your place, don't take drugs, and you'll get yourself a boyfriend! Now go pump out some rugrats!

Cuddly wish-fulfilment fantasy for the child in everyone? No. It's brainwashing of our kids -- particularly our little girls -- to maintain the patriarchal hegemonic status quo. "Oh come on, it's a kid's film, you're overthinking it!" you cry. But that's exactly what they want you to say! Who's they? Why, the Man, of course!

If we're going to be bombarding our kids with reinforcing messages, we need to think about those messages more, not less. Now, don't get me started on Bratz...

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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