Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Previews and Princesses

Okay, sorry. I hit the wrong button. If it posted just a title, that's why.

Previews: Preparation for Parenthood by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo
I've been reading this book and compiling a rather lengthy list of stuff to say. So far I can tell you this much: The Ezzo's at best are seriously misguided on what Attachment Parenting and baby wearing is all about. At worst Gary Ezzo is not a child psychologist nor a pediatrician. He doesn't have a doctorate in anything and is not an academic. His wife, Anne Marie, is a nurse, but is not a pediatric nurse. Their book speaks from experience and not based on science except the snippet quotes from the American Academy of Pediatrics' Book and their own studies, which I would personally like to see the actual data and how the study was performed. So there you have it. I promise to be gentle and as unbiased as possible. My goal is to cite information from the actual sources: the Ezzos and other published materials. That's why the whole undertaking is taking so long.

Princesses

I have a friend. Let's call him Jesse. It's not his real name. His wife, Marie (that's her online alias), and him have three children: Bookgirl, Sharkboy, and Mammita. Now you already know Mammita. Anyways...I've known Jesse and his family for about four or five years now. I was introduced to them through Hubby. We were dating at the time. I was around for the pregnancy and the birth of Mammita. Jesse is Presbyterian USA. As he puts it, he can smoke, drink, and dance.

When I first met Jesse, we were around his children a lot. Since before HB was even conceived, we've always had discussions about parenting styles. For the record, Jesse follows the Ezzos. He's the one who lent us the book. And I will reiterate that I do not subscribe to a particular parenting philosophy nor to I encourage other parents to do so either. It's entirely up to the parents and what makes them feel comfortable. The reason Jesse follows the Ezzos is because he's seen many of his fellow congregants use the Ezzos, and he likes how those children behave. Usually our discussions are more just that: discussions not debates. Jesse lent us the book out of charity and kindness, not to tell us how to raise our children. What works for him and his family is for him. Likewise it is the same for all families. But I digress.

This story is about Princesses. One day, Bookgirl, his oldest, who loves the Disney Princesses and I were talking. She told me that she wasn't allowed to watch the Disney Princesses. Out of curiosity, I asked Jesse the reason. He told me that the Disney movies portray the fathers as fools and that the children are always disobeying their parents and saving the day. It isn't the reality of things and it isn't the standard he wants set for his daughters. He gave me the example of Jasmine. Jasmine runs off with a thief and doesn't listen to her dad. I filed this bit of information in my brain and let it simmer there.

Later, I was talking to Jesse about them again. I brought up Snow White. In the movie, the step-mom is evil and horrible. I also brought up Cinderella. Again the step-mom is mean and against Cinderella. What kind of message is that sending to children of blended families? I also mentioned that in many of the princess movies the biological mom isn't around. Ariel's mom is dead and her sister's are big teases. Sleeping Beauty's mom is around but she doesn't take a prominent role in the film. Jasmine's mom, dead. Cinderella's mom, dead (also evil step-sisters). Belle's mom, dead (bumbling father). Pocahontas's mom, not around. Mulan's mom, not in the movie really either. Where are the moms?

He again mentioned that the girls all act in defiance of their parents and that Disney portrays this as the correct course of action. In the movie by Pixar (now part of Disney) Meet the Robinsons, the boy screws up and guess who saves the day: Dad. This is what parents are supposed to do. We have kids who make mistakes and we help guide and shape them. That's what our roles are supposed to be.

After our discussions I came to realize that he was right. The Disney Princesses are out of touch with the values that I want to instill in HB. He's not going to be some thief or knight in shining armor out to run off with some girl. Instead, I want him to understand that marriage and romantic relationships should be based on partnerships not secrets. Nor do I want him defying his parents.

As he ages, our roles will change from nurturers to advisers. I still want him to feel comfortable to come to me for advice. I hope by the time he gets old enough to make his own decisions he will take my advice. I'm realistic that he may not and will fall flat on his face from time to time. But that's when I rescue him. This is the reality of things.

Will I forbid him to watch Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty if he wants to? Probably not. I think when he's older we will have a serious discussion about the films including what's wrong with the movies and why what the characters did was wrong. (I love the sound tracks to the older movies. This is something that's missing on these new Disney and Pixar films.) Most likely, though, I will choose movies that show better values. Finding Nemo, where Nemo gets into trouble and his dad saves the day, is a good one about listening to our parents for saftey reasons. It's also good because parents do need to let their children grow up a little and learn things on their own. Just like Crush says. It's a healthy balance of reality. Children don't know everything, but they do need to be allowed to make mistakes.

4 comments:

  1. You just spurred an interesting discussion w/ my hubby lol. He brought up the only exception to that really is the latest, Princess and the Frog. I don't really see us forbidding them either... but they will be talked about. Which is why I'm glad I read this, it gives me more to think about and make sure comes up in those talks.

    Love Finding Nemo too.

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  2. I've heard, although I haven't seen it, but I've heard that some people feel that the film is racist.http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/the-princess-and-the-frog-controversy-or-innocence.php

    I grew up close to New Orleans so I can see the film using sterotypes about the city. New Orleans is not one giant parade. Sure the French Quarter is a little nutty, but there's so much more to the city.

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  3. Oh, and glad for the discussion. It has proved to be an interesting one amongst ourselves too.

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  4. I've heard all sorts of complaints about it.. most of them are being nit-picky honestly. The main "race" issue that I heard about (and was a bad decision honestly) was the princesses original name, but they changed it when people complained. It is a little overly demonic in parts (but so are several other Disney movies and Jas said Hunchback was worse.. I haven't seen that one to compare) but Kalila wasn't scared by it if that makes any diff lol. I need to rewatch it to see how they portray the city. I don't remember it seeming like that, but its been awhile. I loved the music though. I'll have to check out that site you mentioned...

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