I love my niece, Maria. I love babysitting her, too. What I don’t love, is babysitting her when she’s exhausted. She’s quite busy for a nine-year-old, so this occurs with alarming frequency. When she’s tired, she just wants to zone out to the Disney channel. She zones out, while I attempt to tune it out.

Then, Miley Cyrus squawks an annoying melody through the speakers. “YEAAAAAAAHHHHH IT’S A PARTY IN THE USA!!!!”

Despite my best efforts, my eyes slowly and dreadfully ascend from my computer to the TV screen. A girl who looks no older than 15 is convulsing and yelping a song beneath 58 pounds of makeup, and has garnered every bit of attention from my niece. This might be the most disturbing scene I’ve observed all month. And that month includes me seeing the new Jackass movie in 3-D.

When did Disney become MTV for third graders? Why do third graders NEED an MTV? Perhaps it derives from a child’s fascination with adolescence, and wanting to adhere to teenage trends. Hopefully, I can extrapolate this progression, and she’ll be a responsible adult by age 14. But, the likelihood, is that most of society will wind up elongating their teenage years from ages 9 through 29. *Sigh*

Is Disney passively trying to make this new generation of children grow up too quickly? Did they do that to me? Not to my knowledge. When I was nine, I was immersed in movies like Toy Story, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Disney didn’t necessarily preach the same culture as it is today, but it could have been just as misleading.

According to Disney, my life will probably be defined by a coming-of-age archetypal journey to either reclaim what has been unjustly revoked from me, or to rescue a woman in distress for my own personal benefit. I’ll more often than not be betrayed by someone in my extended family, i.e., a wicked stepmother, or a flamboyant and power-hungry uncle. Accompanying me on this journey will be one or two buffoons of best friends who will usually have nothing to offer but clever one-liners and catch phrases, most-likely spouted during a comical chase scene, or preceding a musical montage to portray my preparation for a momentous event.

 

(I’m actually quite frightened at how accurately the last statement parallels my life…)

Can you imagine if I was a woman brought up in this culture? If I took Disney plots seriously, I would have to wait all the way until they made Mulan to understand that my life could have a purpose other than being a damsel in distress. Forget about taking my problems into my own hands, because if I wait around long enough, a prince will come and rescue me and take care of everything. His mere presence will erase everything that I had endured prior to his arrival. As a man, is that really what’s expected of me according to Disney? To assume the responsibility of other people and to not have them correctly address their own fate? What is this?

One of the few redeeming aspects is that other people are receptive to these trends. Please note that while I may not agree with every point the article I hyperlinked makes, but I find it encouraging that not everyone blindly accepts ideals that we’re subjected to.

I’m staring disappointingly at the TV screen, but shake it off. Disney is not imposing anything onto us. As long as we have the remote control in our hands and as long as it is up to us to take the initiative to buy movie tickets, we cannot fault anyone for producing something that we don’t necessarily agree with. Put the responsibility of shaping children in the hands of the parents, not the media. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to watch.

All that said, we could use more movies like Up and Wall-E. Just saying…

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