So, as you probably know, I have a very nearly two year old. His name is Isaac, and he is beyond awesome. He’s funny, sensitive, clever, and has an enthusiasm and zest for life that inspires both Sam and I. We’re so lucky to have him.
Like any parents, we’ve got a lot of hopes and dreams for him. We want him to grow up to know and love God – to be happy with who he is, and to be kind and gentle. We also want him, as a man, to respect women. Which is why Disney have annoyed me so much recently.
Yup, Disney. OK, I’m a sucker for a good Disney film (though have you realised just how disturbing some of them are? eauty and the Beast reads like a serious case of domestic violence), but recently, they managed to ruin one of the best films they made. Brave features Princess Merida – a tough and feisty warrior. So her makeover this week was disturbing – the tomboy princess suddenly got thinner, more sultry, and gained an impressive cleavage. You can see the images here – https://www.change.org/petitions/disney-say-no-to-the-merida-makeover-keep-our-hero-brave. A furious backlash from fans seems to have led to Disney backpeddling – insisting that this makeover was for a special event only, her “coronation” as Disney’s 11th official princess – and not a permenant change.
Here’s the thing. Permenant or not, this makeover has done Merida’s young – and not so young fans – a massive disservice. Merida is the princess we can identify with – not content to be a simpering pawn in a contrived love story, she’s the one with the get-up-and-go – the one that convinces you that you don’t have to be blonde, big chested, and a size 4 to change the world. That you can change the world – you don’t have to wait for the adventures to come to you.
Sexing her up has not only done a diservice to girls – I believe it has done a massive one to boys too. See, I hate to think of Isaac getting older, but I know he will, and the liklihood is that he’ll be interested in girls before I realise what’s happenning. If all he’s presented with are these images of girls incapable of making a decision – but it doesn’t matter, because they look good in a dress – I can’t help but worry about his perception. Is he going to go for a good, kind, fiesty, clever young woman? The sort of person who’ll encourage him to be the best he can be, and who, in turn, he can encourage to be the best she can be? Or will he fall victim to this hype – that those worth knowing are the pretty and the cool – regardless of character?
I hope not – and obviously as his parents, a lot of this is our job. We want to bring him up to be a young man who judges people on their heart, not their cleavage. But when these images surround him, I’m wondering how hard it will be to resist.
Disney, stop it. For the sake of all our babies.