Quick question, did you watch Cinderella and Little Mermaid as a child? Answer will no doubt be, yes or yas! Of course you did, most of us spent our young lives watching these animations yet Keira Knightley is banning her daughter Edie from watching these two iconic animations. Why? Well let’s discuss. For all disclaimer, I should mention I love Knightley, she stars and sings in one of my favourite films and soundtracks- so you know winner and let’s not dispute she stars in an upcoming blockbuster, Colette which I want to see, desperately!!! Any offers?
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres last year, Knightley explains her parenting. At one point, she explains that she doesn’t want her daughter to watch Cinderella because Cinders waits for a rich guy to rescue her. She also explains that Little Mermaid is also off the cards since Ariel gave her voice up for a guy. Both films, Knightley believes will damage her child and cause her to wait for men and not fend for herself. So, she wants her daughter to be an independent woman rather than becoming reliant on the man which is a great thing. However. However my lovely Keira, get a sodding grip, it’s not Disney to blame it will be how you raise your child. If you teach your child that, a rich man will rescue you or that a guy will only rescue you, if you give your voice up, then you’re naive. But, let’s not think our children are morons. The actual principle that Knightly is speaking from is, right and quite well thought out but what she forgets is, that these films were created when feminism was less of a topic of conversation. A hidden and taboo so we cannot base these on lack of teachings for feminism. Just look at the more recent Disney films that she encourages her daughter to watch such as; Moana and Brave. Two Disney films with very forward and 21st century women, showing us all that Disney are capable of such forward thinking films. `Let us also add, that watching these films will not cause Edie to become a misogynist woman. Why? This is because parents should be teaching their daughters that woman’s position does not belong in the kitchen, she does not belong as a man’s sex object but she can choose her own destiny and is equal to her partner. Let us also add, that feminism is not about hating men but about being equal. This equality will revolve around having the choice to do what you want. So if, this means you choose to be a housewife this is fine and acceptable. Why? Because woman has made the choice rather than being forced into this position by her male superior or society. Feminism is about choice, and most importantly equality. This, is how we should be educating our children rather than banning them from watching traditional children’s animation. If we start this, we will end up never allowing them to watch, hear or view anything. One more thing, guys, WOMAN – SINGULAR and WOMEN = Plural.
Let’s look at music videos and lyrics rather than blaming old school Disney films that have routed themselves into parents and children’s cinema viewing. I for one, spent most of my childhood adoring The Rescuers, Cinderella and Dumbo. My first example, can be seen in Zara Larson’s Ruin your Life. The song is quite catchy. But, at the route of this catchy track is a poor projection of woman and relationships. Lyrics as an example. The opening line to this new track is ‘I miss you pushing me close to the edge’ which one could only assume is her suggesting that she misses being mentally abused. We then have lyrics that would only refer to suggesting that women or Zara is dependent on male company. ‘You set fire to my world, couldn’t handle the heat / Now, I’m sleeping alone and I’m starting to freak / Baby, come bring me help’. These lyrics are no different to the presentation of women in Disney classics should you use Knightley’s analysis. Larson, suggests that without a guy ruining her life she freaks out and cannot control herself or her emotions. Further along in the awful modern pop ‘banger’ she sings ‘I want you to ruin my life / You to ruin my life, you to ruin my life yeah / I want you to fuck up my nights yeah’. This chorus does nothing more than suggest that Zara does not want to be happy in love but she was destructive love. This is not the first time and neither will it be the last time. Shonda Rhimes, the Goddess of American drama is the Queen of showcasing dramatic, destructive and overwhelming love. If you look at Olivia Pope’s declaration of wanting ‘painful love, destructive and life changing love’ this sounds all sweet but like Larson, Pope is wanting the love she has for someone to consume her life entirely. These messages are not ones to be projecting to our readers, listeners and viewers but ultimately messages like these are being shared to our young ears. Disney, was the first if you are to listen to Knightley but music in this day and age is progressing it.
So Kiera love, please let Edie watch Disney and be like her friends. Anyway, wasn’t the Nutcracker a Disney made film?