We’ve been watching Disney’s ‘Beauty and The Beast’ pretty much daily round here (Yes, I’m sure that makes me a fairly slack parent). The Ziggler thinks it’s the best thing ever, calls it ‘Monster and Lady’ and has been known to skip down the street from the park, flinging her arms out and singing an approximation of the opening number to nearby cats and bushes. She gets a goofy smile on her face during the ‘Belle Shows Good Manners By Drinking Porridge (or something) Directly Out Of Her Bowl’ scene and she gasps in delight every single time Belle makes a swishy yellow entrance in the ‘Lovely Frock’ episode. Yesterday when I asked her if she loved the beast she said, ‘no, YOU love monster. I love lady’ as if I were the worst kind of imbecile for even wondering such a thing.
My best friend and I had a similar obsession with this film when it came out (and we were old enough to know better), and it has some fab lyrics – ‘I’m especially good at expectorating’ being one of my favourite lines – but at this point I don’t really mind if I never see it again.
I’m not really worried about her repeatedly watching the same film; I think it’s a two-and-a-half-year-old’s technique to make the world a safe and familiar place. But her liking of Lady seems to have set off a creeping princess-worship that I need to sever, sharpish. We needed new knickers (potty training – a whole nother post) and we were looking in the supermarket. She spied the Disney Princess ones, and was in love. What could I do? I want her to love her knickers and not want to drown the princesses/ smother them in shit. I want her to make her own choices about things. But quite apart from the feminist objections – very important – and the personal embarrassment caused to me if anyone who knows me sees the DP knickers – way less important – I’m pretty sure it’s not her own choices she’s making. Why is she starting to reject films with spaceships in them as ‘for boys’? Why has she started to refuse trousers? If she loved Lady and still enjoyed ‘Chuggington’ I wouldn’t necessarily care. But she’s two, and she’s already starting to limit her own personal landscape.
I guess the first thing is to turn off the film. That’s going to be the first battle (no doubt a fairly bloody one – and anyone who doesn’t believe me has never had or possibly even met a two-and-a-half year old). I’m not really sure what the strategy for the war should be. We’re both being silently influenced by the same images, messages, social conventions. I love lady too, a bit. I suppose that, as the adult, it’s up to me to filter as much as I can until she can see the nonsense for herself – as much as any of us can anyway.
Perhaps I should let her crap on Snow White’s face, after all.