Hang these faux Disney mags in your preschooler’s room to ensure future Cosmo Sales. These realistic covers will ensure desperation for male attention, hatred of mothers, and poor body image pre-puberty.
By now no one will be surprised when I say that I’m not a huge fan of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Some might see Belle as a redeeming character because she is smart and loves to read. She is, after all, bright enough to tell Gaston, the quintessential good-looking football player type, where to go. Good for Belle, even though all the other village girls love Gaston, she thinks he’s a moron and is looking for something different.
When her mad scientist father gets held as a hostage by the mean ugly beast, Belle, the loyal daughter, finds him. Selflessly, she trades her own freedom so that her father can go to the invention festival. What?!?
Here’s the first lesson we need to tell our daughters, Your dad and I will never, ever trade you for anything. If you are ever held by a beast or anyone else we WILL bring the police and find you or die trying. If you are ever kidnapped or someone tries to take you then you should do anything you can to get away. Scream, bite, scratch, kick and run as fast as you can.
The rest of the story is basically how Belle is such a good and sweet young woman that she transforms the compassionless, angry, self-absorbed, violent, ugly and mean beast into the Prince he always was inside.
Basically, the story is just early training for future battered women everywhere. This is Stockholm Syndrome. Women love to love their abuser and fantasize that eventually she’ll love him enough that he’ll start treating her with love and respect. Every woman who gets abused desperately wants to believe that her compassionless, angry, mean, self-absorbed jerk of a husband or boyfriend has a kind prince locked inside and if she is just a good and sweet and forgiving enough wife or girlfriend then she can change him into a sweet guy.
What kind of codependent crap are we feeding our daughters at bedtime? We’re setting them up to be victims with this story. Is it any surprise that 30% of women put up with abuse at some point in their lives? Come on!
I recommend telling our daughters the truth.
If you marry a mean and selfish or violent beast of a man you will never, ever change him into a nice guy. People are who they are. No one has the power to change anyone else. Don’t waste your life trying.
The best thing to do is to marry a guy who is already good and sweet and kind and generous. Find someone who treats you with respect from the beginning and skip all the fairytale drama.
Did you see my series on the book So Sexy So Soon? Authors Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne made a very compelling argument that companies – with their marketing – are making humans sexually attracted to objects. They are sexualizing objects. We used to be worried women would be turned into objects via porn – and that is true.
But we didn’t really expect the opposite to happen. That companies would use all their marketing power to make us turned on by their products. Sex produces dopamine in the brain. If they can produce enough dopamine in the brain when we think about Doritos or GoDaddy, for instance, we are likely to buy them. Because we have “feel good” feelings about them.
We can see this in children. When they talk about “sexiness” or being “sexy” they might say something like “those shoes are sexy.” Or if they mention that someone is “sexy” or looks “sexy” you might ask “what about them is sexy?” Ainsley will say, “her clothes, her shoes, that dress, the bikini, the belly shirt.” Things. Not personal attributes like her boobs, her hips, her lips, her hair.
Ainsley, like most girls today, are tying the feeling of L-O-V-E and her innate sexual feelings, desire to be loved, to companies like Disney with saturation of Disney Princess Culture, High School Musical, Hannah Montana. Disney is telling her “this is what love/sexual attraction/romance is and you can get it through our company.”
People are supposed to be sexual, sensual, sexy. Not objects or things. But, a kajillion dollars in marketing and media has been spent to change that part of our brains. To make us associate sexuality and our sexual feelings with their product or brand.
It sounds insanely fundamental and not at all what Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives fight about when they fight but sex.
I think the key to regaining the sacredness of our sexuality and indeed, to achieve a fulfilling sexy life is to convince kids – and ourselves – that certain human beings in our actual life are sexy and worthy of attraction. And that their personal attributes like a great sense of humor is what really attracts people to each other. Instead of the imitation sex we’re sold everywhere we look to make us feel hot for brands and objects.
On Blog Fabulous today I wrote Porn Killed Sex, referring readers to a very insightful article by Naomi Wolf in The New York Times about the true impact Free Porn 24/7 on the Internet has had on human sexuality.
Companies will keep doing it if it keeps working. Also, I know many of you are pissed about the GoDaddy Super Bowl Commercials, Glennia Campbell from The Silent “I” is leading a campaign to cancel domain registrations with GoDaddy in her post How to Transfer A Domain Name: Phase I (or, Bye-Bye GoDaddy). I’m thinking I will jump on that train. Vote with my dollar.
I took Ainsley and her BFF to see High School Musical 3.
I have a mad hot crush on Zac Efron. I don’t care. No one has moved me with his theatrical gyrations and love songs since I was about Ainsley’s age watching John Travolta in Grease for the first time.
Zac and John – two generations of the same Fantasy Lover. Take your judgement elsewhere. He’s hot.
I thought I was too mature for fantasy lovers, and felt great relief from the idea that romantic love of the Disney Romance brand held no attraction for me anymore. And it was liberating.
But, I left High School Musical 3 in a state of what can only be described as LOVE DRUNK.
It’s like the milk drunk babies get from breast feeding,the intoxicating high some women get from reading romance trash like Twilight, and the drunk you get from planning your fantasy wedding and results in Bridezilla, the lightheadedness girls get from the very first kiss ever or from fantasizing about romantic declarations of love and devotions expressed by your future one and only.
Love Drunk. Girls are prone to it.
Love Drunk would be the most wildly fun and pleasant experience in life – if men and boys weren’t so chronically disappointing, often declaring such things “stupid” and adamantly refusing to play their role as gyrating, dancing, wooing, admiring, verbal and romantic leading man. Thus, leaving women and girls everywhere chronically disappointed in their real-life relationships. It’s our modern-day Love Conundrum.
Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed this unrealistic, gravely naive, and absolutely fun and wonderful film. It will earn you mega relationship capital with your girls.
On a practical note the things I loved about what this film had to say about gender and gender roles include:
* Gabriella, female romantic lead, is selected for prestigious academic honor at Stanford. Other colleges mentioned were Yale, Berkley, University of Albuquerque and Juliard. These kids aimed high – I like that for a standard.
* Gabriella did not ignore her potential or reduce herself to stay with Troy at University of Albuquerque, nor did she dumb down to make him feel like more of a man. Gabriella, took her opportunity.
* Troy, always pressured to be the jock and play football at a specific college decided on by his father, rebelled by taking theatre.
* There were actors in the movie from every ethnicity and every body type.
* The main moral of the story is that everyone has special gifts and talents and children of both genders should pursue excellence ambitiously.
* Sharpay wasn’t nearly as big a B-I-T-C-H this time. Oh, she still tried to steal the show, and thought of no one but herself, but she was much nicer about it.
It’s hilarious that both Madagascar and High School Musical challenged male gender roles by making both male romantic leads performers. Hear that John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt – you’ve paved the way for boys everywhere to be able to be jocks AND thespians.
At the beginning there is a locker-room-boys-in-towel-hazing scene that was so lighthearted I couldn’t get upset about it. There is potential for you to be upset about it, I tried. Couldn’t muster it.
There is also a dance scene where Gabriella’s little baby doll dress is frighteningly short. Know this – it never shows her panties – it only looks like it might.
I was sitting between 2 teenage girls and the two 1st/2nd grade girls I brought and their excitement was highly contagious.
The girl on my right – I did not know her from Adam – was experiencing that hormonal flood of emotion we call “puberty” in our culture and she was moved to tears and hysterical-love-drunk giggle fits for the entire movie.
Watching her emotional expressions moved me to laughter and giggles myself. I couldn’t help it.
I can’t tell you how much relationship capital I earned by taking her and a friend to see this fun little movie. Support this website, buy the video here:
Coincidentally, I read about a new brand of Disney Movie in O Magazine this month. Abigail Disney, a niece of the late great Disney feels as ambivalent as I do about Disney Princess Movies and thus avoided the studio her whole life.
That is until she felt compelled to tell the story of Liberia’s Women who ended their civil war by threatening to take their clothes off. Read more about that in The Rabble Rousers.
While that was an intriguing variation on The Disney Movie, my next thought was this: How do we get Abigail Disney to give up her boycott of the family business and transform Disney’s male-dominated, male-written and male-produced Princess Films into something we can be thrilled to saturate our daughters’ brains with?
Could there be a next generation of Girl-Positive Disney Movies?