In today’s world, girls are given a flurry of mixed messages via the media and television.
Be pretty. Be successful. Reveal your body. Be cool. You can be like the boys, but you can be pretty. Wear makeup. Be Sexy.
These themes start from the get-go. Girls are given a multitude of “idols” to learn from. In my generation, it was the classic Disney princess model of “Dream for a man to save you.” Sure, we had Josie and the Pussycats, Jem, and later on, the Powderpuff Girls, but we were sold the idea that we can dream for a man to save us, while negotiating 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s feminism.
We were supposed to cook, clean, and run a corporation, all while wearing no bra, or a highly-supportive bra.
The stakes were high. It has certainly made negotiating my own role of motherhood and my sexual, creative, and work identity, rough. We expect so much, and beat ourselves mentally when we do not deliver.
I resisted the Princess Parade when my daughter first began to show her clear affections for Cinderella and Ariel, but hey, I like the music myself, and there is only so much resisting I can do.
I figured I’d get my own tiara and join in on the fun.
Then of course, I met the new Tinkerbell…
Tinkerbell in the orignal Peter Pan movie, was jealous, evil, and homicidal. She wasn’t exactly your garden-variety fairy.
Now, Disney has made her her own vehicle, with a fifth movie set to release.
Tinkerbell is charming, independent, temperamental, and a bit of a troublemaker. We definitely see “some” of her original spark, but her murdering tendencies have dissipated. Poor Wendy!
When my husband announced he had let my daughter watch Tinkerbell i was originally annoyed as this would be just another request she’d make to sit in front of the boob tube, and I am strict about TV use.
However, I really like the Tinkerbell movies.
The female and male fairies all have jobs and roles. Just like the modern day women, these female fairies have jobs and a purpose. It’s not just waiting for some guy to kiss you, or some dude to cut your golden hair so you can escape from a tower. These women do things. They have skills.
I personally haven’t seen any “real” romantic plot lines. Maybe Terrence has a crush on Tinkerbell, but he doesn’t save her. He is her friend and an equal. I like that these movies don’t revolve around a man saving a woman, or even in a female-strong movie like Mulan in which the strong female falls in love with a man, that there are no eventual “marriages” planned.
The humor is innocent. The plotlines are simple but with a clear message.
Overall, I feel good with the content.
Is this the answer to the confusing messages we send our girls even at wee ages? Is Tinkerbell the new feminist cartoon? Uh, no, but it is a nice alternative to the cartoons of yesteryear that told us we had to hope a man could get us out of our indentured slave life, or fall in love with some guy we barely know and leave our world and fins behind for legs.
Are there other good female role models? Brave (I haven’t personally seen it) could be seen as one, but I do enjoy Tinkerbell. She works, she is a productive member of society, and is not pining over some dude.
She could use a little more clothes but hey, what girl can resist a cute dress?
Not this one.
Signed, a fairy-sized woman,