Why Children Shouldn’t Watch Peter Pan

Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Disney World has one ride that consistently has longer than average waits. Peter Pan’s Flight always draws crowds of people. It’s a classic ride from a beloved, classic story. Now that it has an interactive queue, it’s even more fun to check out this ride! The only problem is that my kiddos don’t really know the movie.

When they next wait in line and ride this ride, I want them to see the magic. I want them to know that they’re in the Darling children’s nursery. I want them to see Mermaid Lagoon as their ship sails overhead. I want them to live the experience as much as possible.

A few nights ago they watched Peter Pan for the first (second time for Ella and maybe Agatha). And they promptly declared they never want to see it again!

I wasn’t surprised, but a part of me is sad that a movie I once loved so much hasn’t aged well. Okay, the problems with this movie always existed, but the ideas were so pervasive throughout society that it didn’t stand out negatively. It’s the little things, the way Peter Pan treats Wendy. The way Tinker Bell behaves. The way the movie portrays native people. The way the movie places Wendy into the roll of caregiver. It’s the way Wendy goes on an adventure only to come home and declare she’s ready to grow up while the boys are ready for more adventure.

Ella and Agatha both told us all the things wrong with this movie. Even Cordelia and Brom were able to share that they didn’t feel good watching this movie. They’re still too young to pick apart a movie and understand the messages being given, but they’re very capable of feeling and taking in messages, even if the message is unintentional.

This viewing marks the end of a chapter in my life. I can see the movie through the eyes of my children and realize they need happier thoughts and movies that are more respectful to women and girls. Movies that show boys and men treating girls and women respectfully. They need to see movies that respectfully depict native people. It’s time to walk away from these old movies in an effort to brighten the childhood of my children and future generations.

Now we hope the upcoming Peter Pan (live action) remake will bring this wonderful story a fresh life that will bring magic and pixie dust to a new generation!

 

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This got longer than I intended, so I’ll tell you about our related activities in a separate post.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Fox says:

    We’re reading Peter Pan now, and the kids definitely have a strong reaction to it. Their view of Peter Pan isn’t as the hero of the book. The kids think he’s kind of mean. Of course, this was coming on the tail of watching the Neverland episodes of Once Upon A Time where Peter is pretty mean and selfish in that, so I think they weren’t surprised by his behavior.

    My kids have never seen Peter Pan, but they love the Tinkerbell movies, so I think they’d be quite surprised by Tink’s behavior in the movie as well. They’re kind of surprised by it in the book, but I think there’s a definite separation in their minds between the book and the movies.

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    1. Tink was a huge surprise for my kiddos as well. They also, really, love the Tinkerbell movies. Though they were prepared for the different personality because we warned them, otherwise I’m not sure how they’d have taken it!

      Also – I have no idea why, but all your comments were in the spam folder, and those don’t show up on my handheld – so I only just noticed them today while at my computer! I am so sorry, but I think I’ve got that problem fixed now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fox says:

        That’s so weird! At least it’s fixed.

        We talked about Tink in the book. They decided that Tink was upset all the time because Peter Pan can be so mean to her. It makes sense in the book.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That would make sense, and it’s a fairly easy concept for children to understand. The jealousy in the movie was more difficult for them.

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  2. Vegan Mammy says:

    Wow I never thought about this but good point! My 4 year old likes Jake and the Neverland pirates so I told him about the Peter Pan book, and he wanted us to read it, so we went to get it (though could only find a version for very young kids, which is fine for now). I don’t think I’ll be encouraging them to watch the movie now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We love Jake and the Neverland Pirates also, the Peter Pan in that show is so different than in the movie! It’s really easy to see the difference between the two Peter Pans. One is kind, helpful, and encouraging, the other is mean, insulting, and laughs at other’s mistakes.

      We also love the Tinker Bell movies and watch them often which is why Tinker Bell’s behaviour was such a shock to our kiddos.
      Reading books to non-readers gives us a chance to edit the story and turn it more positive/respectful. But still introduces the original story and characters to them.

      Liked by 1 person

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