Monday, June 28, 2010

On the incoming wave

As you can imagine, Mr. Canuck and I have lots of big ideas on how we are going to parent our children. Only time will tell how many of them pan out and how many of them will end up being dumb. And because we're pretty sensible people, we are smart enough not to share our parenting theories with the world at large. We know that every kid is different, we know that everything is entirely theoretical at this point and reality is likely to be totally different, WE KNOW. You don't need to tell us that.

There is one parenting stance that we're completely open about, though, and that is our extreme dislike of marketing aimed at children. We both think it's pretty despicable. And for largely that reason, there will be no TV in our house, at least not while our children are small. We do have a TV, but it's used only for DVDs and the occasional episode of Jeopardy!. We don't have cable and have no intention of ever getting it. This way, there are no commercials in our house (except for the hilarious local ones out of Buffalo that we see during Jeopardy!), and that is how we like it. Now, don't get me wrong, we totally get that we can't shelter them entirely, and we don't want to. Of course they're going to see advertising, there's no way to prevent it 100%. But that doesn't mean we have to provide it at home.

The branch of children's marketing that I hate the most, though, is the whole Disney Princess thing. I don't have anything against princesses in general, but the Disney ones....bleh. They all have lessons to teach that I don't want my little girl to learn. Take Ariel, for example: Giving up your voice, literally, is the best way to get a man. Or Belle: If you just love your man enough, he will eventually change for you and stop being so damned scary. Also, Stockholm Syndrome. And every single one of them is completely helpless and powerless over their own lives until the handsome prince swoops in to take them away from all this. (Now that I think about it, though, I do remember Jasmine making some noises about deciding her own future, but I can't remember if she actually did or not. But even if she did, that movie has plenty of other issues.) Little kids are very impressionable, and I just don't want my daughter to think that that's how romance should be.

Now, I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes and saying "It's just a kids' movie, for crying out loud! Not everything has to be a tool of the patriarchy! Kids are totally capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality!" And yes, that is true to an extent. I'm sure they're not going to think that carpets can fly and candelabras can talk. But ideas about how people behave are an entirely different story. Clearly those attitudes about men and women still exist, and they have to start somewhere. Hell, the fact that hardly anybody seems to realize that Edward Cullen from the Twilight books is NOT a romantic hero but a controlling abuser proves that point. (And yes, I have read all four books. I know of what I speak.)

I should add that this is really just for while they're little. I don't have any sort of burning hatred for Disney, I just think they've put some awfully bad morals into their films. (And I haven't even started on racism). I don't intend to ban Disney from the house forever; I'd just rather wait until my daughter is old enough to talk with her about it. And besides all THAT, I just don't want my house filled with Disney Princess shit.

So there you have it, the one parenting theory that I am willing to share with people. Please commence telling me that I am wrong and unreasonable and will ruin my child's life if I don't allow her to watch The Little Mermaid. I can take it.


achiasa said...

No argument from me; I think that's a pretty admirable stance, actually. I'm so glad I grew up before the whole Disney Princess thing really became a thing (and incidentally I have always been so annoyed that Belle just fell into whatshisface's arms when he turned human, augh). I always say that my favourite Disney Princess is Kairi from Kingdom Hearts. <3

Stephanie said...

Actually kids do believe things can talk and weird stuff, hehe. Brittany wanted some fruit snack thing because the kids heads turned into giant fruits on the commercial, and she wanted her head to turn into a fruit. We got it and she tried it (then told us why she wanted it!) and then she told everyone that commercials lie! ;)

aldiara said...

Heh, no disagreement here. People may think that sort of thing is unreasonable but that's because we're so indoctrinated with that crap as a society at large. Incidentally I find it amusing how Disney cleaned up all the fairytales and cutesified them just enough so impressionable minds CAN see it as romantic, but actually kept all the screwed-up ideas about love, whereas... if you read a kid Andersen's version of the little mermaid, at least it makes it pretty damn *obvious* that love is a twisted bitch, lol.

This was interesting to read - it's kind of a pet peeve of mine at the moment anyway, because covering our current storyline on EKP, we've been confronted with a SCARY, MIND-BOGGLING number of grown-up, presumably normal people who just 100% completely believe in such shite as preordained love, screwed-up sacrifices as romantic, etc., and seem utterly resistant to notions like relationships are something you work at and there are no guarantees and there is no YOU ARE DESTINED TO DO THIS OR THAT OR BE WITH THIS OR THAT PERSON. It's scary, really.

Anyway, I have no doubt at all that your little girl is going to be a strong young lady who knows her own mind and worth. You guys will rock at this parenting thing.

Alysen said...

Sounds like a very sensible idea to me! Also, relaxing the policy once she can talk about it sounds wise too. Otherwise its very prohibition would make it more appealing, and it's harsh to be the kid without a TV who doesn't know what the other kids are talking about.

As an aside, I think the only person who realises what an objectionable character Edward Cullen is is Robert Pattinson! I read an interview where he said he loathed the character so he played him as self-loathing. And everyone bought it. Genius if you ask me.