Kids can be a little bored. And that's fine. In fact, I believe in it. I reject the notion that children need constant activites and plans and learning to thrive. Personally I believe in the need for unstructured free time to play, and use those imaginations I hear are so very important. But whatever, I wigged. I have plans, I have crafts, games, activities, friends.... but days will look lazy and all willy-nilly too. And I sorta forgot that that is also part of the plan.
Speaking of unstructured play time, as I listened to my girls playing yesterday I heard a common theme they often resort to in their play. Help me, help me! The crocodile is getting me! He's pulling me away...help me! And which ever one is not in immediate peril pulls the other one to safety. Sometimes it's a crocodile, sometimes it's Captain Hook, other times just an ambiguous monster. Listening to this type of play is very familiar to my girlish ears. I too remember playing the damsel in distress and taking turns saving each other. In 3rd grade the daily recess game was 'chase.' The boys chased the girls as we tried to make it back to the small bars where we were deemed safe. I know there is a lot of backlash against the typical narrative of the Disney princess movies--many of them feature some sort of damsel in distress where a prince, a man, rescues them from their miserable circumstances. Many women find this storyline troubling. What are we teaching our young girls? That they need a man to rescue them. That they are too weak to do it themselves. We've seen this start to change over the years particularly with Disney's latest Princess Merida in Brave.
So when I listen to my daughters play out this familiar narrative and when I remember my own desire for 'saving' as a young girl, frankly I don't worry about it too much. Perhaps we're over-thinking it. Sure some of you may say that it was through these movies our daughters have learned to act that way, but I don't think so. We didn't have VCR's as a young kid where these movies were played at the frequency they are now. I really think it was inherent. Like when PSP was barely walking she would take any piece of string or stray fabric and drape it around her neck. Since she was still a grabby little baby I hadn't worn a necklace since she was born, so I knew she wasn't imitating me. She the desire to drape herself in 'jewelry, seemed to just be there.
In short, I don't think Disney movies are going to ruin my girls. I outgrew the need to be saved and I think they will too. Yes I outgrew that need as a girl, but also as a woman. I wanted to get married for a million reasons, but not because I needed saving from my own life. There are so many traps our kids can fall into, so many things to worry about. I guess Disney movies just aren't one of my worries. So when I hear my girls squeal as they try and escape their imaginary captors and watch as they pull each other to safety, I just smile and think back to familiar childhood memories.
For me, it's that simple.
Plus, how cute is this one pulling herself up to stand? She's been doing this a lot lately... even in her crib. Kinda exciting.
What about you? Do you worry about the narratives our children are being taught through media or do you think somethings are just part of their DNA? Have you made choices about the shows your kids can watched based on perpetuating negative stereotypes? Or like me, do you think there are bigger fish to fry?