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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beware of Disney's social engineering

Disney has a new television program about a young princess in training titled Sofia The First.  Nancy Kanter (Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide) explained when announcing the series at the Huffington Post that as a feminist mother she originally had mixed feelings regarding her own daughter dressing up as a princess:
I would walk her to preschool, me in my power suit, she in fake tulle and little girl high heels that flapped from her feet as she teetered down West 72nd Street. I questioned just what I thought I was doing by allowing, maybe even encouraging her to aspire to this outdated, irrelevant role model. Born in a generation that invented “super-mom”, was I just crazy for not putting a stop to this and buying her a chemistry set and some hockey skates?
She eventually made peace with the idea, and is now in a position to use Disney programming like Sofia The First to rework the culture one 2-5 year old mind at a time.
Kids grow up so quickly, and it is important to ensure that whilst they are still developing they receive the right information and the right instructions about how to be a positive influence in society.
But not everyone agrees with Ms. Kanter regarding the right instructions for young minds.  Movieguide made news recently for pointing out that Disney’s new princess program promotes single motherhood:

SOFIA THE FIRST, Disney’s new pre-school princess on home video, doesn’t need a prince. She’s the daughter of a poor single mother who marries King Roland.

Clearly, the creators see a role for the media in shaping the social and moral values of 2- to 5-year-olds. It’s fine to promote honesty, grace and civility, but any message that undermines the traditional family is harmful. Children raised by their natural parents are far less likely to live in poverty, quit school, use drugs, commit crimes and spend time in prison. If Disney actually cares about the long-term well being of children, it would promote the traditional family rather than the “modern family.
  promoting single motherhood is impressive given that it runs counter to our new philosophy of the family as well as the mainstream Christian perspective.  As I’ve mentioned before, Focus On the Family’s Director of Family Formation Studies refers to single mothers as heroic. Not to be outdone, Pastor Mark Driscoll endorses single mothers as good prospects for marriage (H/T holyhandgrenadeofantioch):
Single guys: don’t overlook the single moms. Jesus’ mom was a single mom & it went pretty well for Joseph.
But the promotion of single motherhood isn’t the only social engineering going on with the modern princess tale.  Brothers Grimm tales about princesses like King Roughbeard and Cinderella taught girls humility and the importance of hard work (especially housework), while tales like The youth who could not shiver and shake taught boys the importance of bravery and perseverance.  But in our new culture self restraint and humility are traits girls are taught to reject, and there is no room for separate role models for boys.  Disneys new view of the princess is in many ways the old classical view of the prince, as exemplified by the movie Brave:
None of this is new, and it stems from the feminist denial of sex differences and their overpowering envy of manhood.  Still, it has become so obvious that even radical feminists can start to see the damage their extensive rework of our culture is doing to their sons.  Ironically all of this has also left something missing in the sex lives of feminist women,. lastly an interesting matter I observed regarding a popular Children's book
and it's Characters.  
 The two main characters from The Paper Bag Princess are, according to Wikipedia:
Princess Elizabeth: A brave, smart and resilient young woman, Elizabeth’s quest to save Ronald from the dragon shows her how unworthy Ronald is of her loyalty and affection.
Prince Ronald: Ronald is revealed to be a narcissistic and selfish prince. He has picked Elizabeth for his queen, even though he does not really love her. When the dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps him, Elizabeth goes to great lengths to rescue him, but he does not appreciate the love she has shown him. Elizabeth realizes that he is a shallow, conceited jerk and they part.
This book is beloved by elementary school teachers and is regularly used as part of a literature unit around second or third grade.

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