As parents we do our best to protect our tots from traumatic media, whether in print, in person or on the computer. These days more parents are choosing to have no television in their home to be more productive, read, enjoy more time outside, and focus on what contributes to connecting as a family. Blip news glimpses are flashed on yahoo when going into email, so it is easy to stay somewhat “in the know”.
A recent source of incongruence has been the masses of parents that are excited expose their children to Disneyland and Disney movies. Most any adult can clearly recall the common thread theme of most of the traditional movies…an orphaned child, whose parents are killed, then adopted by a cruel step family member or is completely on their own to fend for themselves. Just think of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Lion King and Saving Nemo….you get the picture. Watching these movies, in essence with the same message with different characters, can contribute to impact an impressionable child’s belief system and even cause fear of something similar happening to them or their parents. One of my dear friends grown son’s confessed he was afraid most of childhood that he would become an orphan, because of the traumatic Disney movies he watched as a child.
Now if the main character is a girl, they have to be beautiful to be rescued by a prince charming in order to have happiness or live Happily Ever After. These movies impact young girls. First they want to dress up like the princess and after watching different movies with the same theme several times, the “save yourself by marrying a Handsome Prince” message is successfully planted. By the time these girls are young adolescents they could be subconsciously keeping an eye out for the Handsome Prince to ensure their life is happy or perhaps to off to run if life isn’t always smooth in the home.
Parents likely don’t want to share such messages with their Little One, but it cleverly happens through the Disney movies, books, costumes, and theme park. The use of media, print and a live experience with the same characters results in very effective brainwashing. Why are these types of dark trauma filled movies marketed to young children? As for an amusement park to call itself “The Happiest Place on Earth” that is built on heavy tragedies within the famous stories, feels very contradictory. As adults we all know that no person or thing is going to make us eternally happy. “Happily Ever After” resides in our hearts and our children benefit from knowing the truth.