Flawed Fairy Tales…?
Tangled, a Disney movie
Posted by Melissa Wimbish
I read this blog post/article? today and didn’t know what to think. I’m not a parent, so I don’t obsess about these things the same way…but I was a child once. And that part of my brain thinks that people who think this way are just a touch nuts. Do we seriously think that children can’t handle seeing and processing controversy? Did Einstein say that fairy tales were one of the best vehicles to foster growing minds because the stories sugar coat the world?
These are not real questions. The answers to both are NO. Fairy tales include a lot of fun and magic, but they also include some heavy shit. People die and/or get turned into animals, babies are stolen, mean words are exchanged, bad decisions are made…but these are life lessons, folks.
Kids are not idiots. Stop treating them that way or they will grow up to think rats really cook great food and that children don’t get kidnapped. This was published on Livemint.com this weekend and is the reason for my confusion:
The other day Babyjaan and I sat down to watch Tangled, Disney’s 2010 take on the vintage kidnapping tale Rapunzel. As the movie unfolded, I shrank further and further into my seat. It didn’t help that Babyjaan kept looking at me worriedly and asking: “Where’s the mama, papa?”
Breathless after half an hour, I switched it off.
A curly-haired evil woman who I swear looked like an animated version of me (especially in the scenes where she had white streaks in her hair) kidnapped a baby in the first 5 minutes of the film, then locked her in a tower and made her believe she was her daughter. She did this because Rapunzel had the power to keep her young. Far away, her real mama and papa pined for her and filled up the sky with lanterns in remembrance of their lost child.
Have a heart, Disney. As an overly dramatic parent of an adopted daughter I promptly conjured up a future where Babyjaan would think of me as the evil witch who whisked her away from her biological parents to live in an ivory tower. Just like Rapunzel. Did I adopt Babyjaan the year I turned 40 because I too wanted to stay young forever? I seriously contemplated locking myself in a room and watching a bleak Lars Von Trier film to recover from the trauma of Tangled.
Babyjaan’s first movie, last year, was Ratatouille, not because we thought long and hard about how to introduce her to the movies, but because the DVD came free with an issue of a food magazine to which we subscribe. I have never understood why rodents must find a place in the movie-watching experience but for nine months, every alternate day or so, I watched a movie about a rat who cooks (thankfully, Babyjaan always wanted me to fast forward the early Tarantino-esque sequence where a gun-toting grandma shoots wildly at the rats that invade her house). I still haven’t understood why people thought it was a fun movie.
All the fairy tales our children watch—from Finding Nemo and The Lion King to Ratatouille—inevitably include some parental estrangement/separation/abandonment/death themes. What hope can there be in a world where even Bambi’s mother dies.