I have a theory I have been thinking about for a while.
It’s lunch break, and an eight year old girl decides to spend her time in the sand pit.
After a few minutes, a boy approaches her. He launches a fistful of sand he was hiding behind his back, at her, leaving with a chuckle.
Clearly upset, she goes home after school that day to share the unbelievable story with your parents.
“Honey, don’t worry. It’s just a crush.”
Twenty years later, this same girl is in an abusive relationship.
She is sexually abused, physically abused, and definitely not treated right.
But that means he just adores you,
On the other side of the story, there’s the boy.
From the age of eight he is being taught that what he is doing is fine, and no girl should stand up to him.
He is being taught that he has control.
Women are being taught from young ages through many, many sources where dominance lies, and teaching them not to be confident in themselves.
Even through innocent Disney movies children are being taught that men are the dominant figure in relationships. Children are learning from these films that the princes always save the princesses, not the other way around. That a woman must have a man, and go through crazy procedures to make themselves perfect for them.
The Little Mermaid is literally showing that a woman must change everything about them, and give up something as special as their voice to be with a man she loves. Ariel disobeys her father and family, gives up her soul and voice, and changes herself from a mermaid to a human just to be with him. This is teaching girls that a makeover, or changing the way their body looks is the road to success to attract a man.
I want to go back to that girl I talked about earlier. In grade two I had a few issues with the students in my class. They would throw my jacket in the garbage, boys would make fun of my clothes, and throw woodchips at me. I would go to the school counsellor in tears. She told me that they are just jealous and must have a crush on me.
Regardless if they had a crush on me or not, I was being taught to not use my voice and stand up for what is right. If I had been taught that I can and will stand up for myself, maybe I wouldn’t have troubles with that now.
I have an alternate story about the little girl.
During lunch break a boy is being mean to a girl, throwing sand at her from the sand pit. She is upset. She goes home after school to tell her parents about this issue.
They comfort her. They tell her that they way he is treating her is unacceptable. “You need to stand up to him!”
Twenty years later, that girl is in a healthy, loving relationship because she is too strong and confident to stay with a man that abuses her.
Children need to learn at a young age what is appropriate behaviour. It’s the little things that kids pick up on that affects them in the long run.
Disney is doing a great job at redeeming themselves, and changing their messages and morals. They are teaching kids less about male dominance and the need for a man to love you, and more about love from family and friends and that girls can do anything a boy can do.
Children believe pretty much anything they hear, let’s make it the right message.