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Why Children Shouldn't Watch Peter Pan

June 14, 2017

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.