I'm OK if this ruffles some feathers. So be it. I own my beliefs and opinions. I hope this is a trait that rubs off onto my children. This story in the news recently regarding the controversy of a new appearance for Merida, the princess from the Disney movie Brave, pissed me off. My gut reaction to her new look...who cares? Disney created her and they can do whatever they want to her image. My daughter is three years old and adores the movie Brave. She thinks that Merida is the Bee's Knees. She has already watched the movie more times than I can count and I am sure she will watch it many more. Will Merida's new image damage my young daughter's self esteem. Absolutely not. Why, you ask? Because I won't allow it. I am always willing to talk with my children about any topic and I will keep the conversation age appropriate. If we see a poster or a toy in the store with the new Merida, and my daughter notices or even cares, we will have a talk about it. That's my job.
To me, the comparison pictures look like Merida grew up. Before, she was a brave, confident, opinionated and active teenager. Awkward and beautiful. The after picture is as if Merida is all grown up. She looks like the queen she was destined to be. She had supportive parents that raised her right. She appears to have grown out of her gangley teen aged body and blossomed into a lovely woman. Why should this damage my daughter and her image of herself? If I were to sit around my house and say aloud how awful this new image is, how damaging it is, how against it I am, how Disney is giving off the wrong impression, my daughter would hear those words and like the little sponge that she is, take them as her own because I am her mother and as a child she respects what I have to say. She looks up to me and I won't take that for granted.
If an opportunity presents itself where I have to give little DJ my two cents on Merida's new picture, I will choose my words wisely. I may say things like "Merida has a pretty new dress" or "she is all grown up now". Maybe I could say "Merida is trying out a new conditioner and her hair looks shiny and full." It could be any number of things that come out of my mouth but I guarantee you that they will be positive words. Why shouldn't they be?
If the people out there hate Merida's before and after picture, than what would they say about me. Most days I sit around in my jammies or comfy house clothes. I rarely put on make-up and admittedly walk around with knots in my hair because I am too busy taking care of the house and the kids. My legs are stubbly because I haven't been able to shave in a while. But you better believe when I get an opportunity to go out with my girlfriends or on a date with my husband, I get all dolled up. I take a shower and wear perfume. I put on my make up and jewelry. I wear fun clothes, fancy clothes, maybe even sexy clothes. How dare I! I am my daughter's example of how a girl or a woman should appear. What I do personally is going to effect my daughter more than some cartoon will. That is the way it should be. I will not be ashamed, nor will I let my daughter be so, when I get dressed up or "better looking." My children love me and respect me no matter what I look like. That is how they will see the world because that is what I, as their parent, represent.
If I don't like or agree with something, than it is my job to make sure it doesn't enter my childrens' world. It is up to me how I express myself to my children. My daughter watched an episode of Baby Bratz about six months ago on Netflix. One episode was plenty for me and she knows that they are no longer welcome in our home. At her age, she does not understand why she can't watch that specific cartoon but she does know that it is a rule of mine. As she gets older, if she still wonders, I will have no problem telling her my reasoning. I could tell her now but at three years old she has no idea what "sexy" means and it would be pointless to try and make her understand. I told my daughter that I do not like that cartoon and that I thought it was inappropriate for her. Baby Bratz disturbed me because the little girl characters, still in diapers, were dressing up "sexy" on purpose. They put on elaborate make-up, wore tiny little shirts that exposed their belly buttons and walked in a way that flaunted their sexy little baby butts, complete with sultry leg poses. This was wrong on so many levels in my eyes and I chose to eliminate the cartoon from my home. I am not writing nasty letters to whoever created them. They are allowed to make what they want to. It is my right not to let my kids watch it and that is where it ends.
|image is from http://games.softpedia.com|
I can not be everywhere, all of the time. I am open with my children and they know where I stand. I ask questions and stay involved. If I am concerned with what will be done or watched somewhere when I can not be with them, I am not afraid to talk to the other parents or adults in charge. I am not afraid to tell my kids 'no' and explain myself when I do. They will continue to grow into confident individuals and respect me all the while. They are being raised by me, not MTV. They will not find their self worth from the media or the like. They get that from home.