Just to get it out of the way, I let my kid watch television.
I’m not proud of it or anything but a lot of days I need a mental health break from mommy/caretaker mode and put it on for an hour to myself. For my 18 month old there really isn’t really much that holds her attention except for Teletubbies or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I normally opt for the latter because it’s easier to find on Netflix or the dish.
This morning I decided to put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for PJ while I unpacked some boxes. Normally I don’t give it much thought, I don’t really pay attention to the dialogue except for those ridiculously catchy tunes. But today I paid attention to the dialogue and caught Mickey throwing shade at Goofy for calling himself handsome. I remember giving the computer a side eye glance but kept on going through boxes. As the episode progressed they called on Toodles and the handy helpers to bring them a Mouskatool. I was completely appalled that one of the Mouskatools was Pete’s pants. They used them as a sail but the way that they mentioned it and then laughed that Pete got left without pants made my blood boil. I couldn’t believe that this beloved Disney character was promoting alienation and bullying of his “friends.”
I thought that this might have been just one episode. Disney couldn’t possibly be promoting these morally corrupt values to 0-5 year olds. I started watching other episodes and saw these instances recurring more and more. How is it that a show with talking mice, ducks, and dogs can encourage children to poke and make fun of things or people that are different? Are these the type of leaders and role models we want to give our children?
My job is to raise my child to be kind, loving, and generous. To encourage her to be the best her she can be. But we all know that no matter how well a parent tries to nurture these values in their child, bits of their character are molded by what they see on television.
Imagine that these little jabs Mickey gives to Goofy or Pete are a drop of water, each one collecting at the bottom of a bucket. Eventually those individual droplets fill the bucket creating a pool. That bucket is your child’s mind and those droplets form the pool that are filling it up. That pool is what your child is made up of. Images of bullying and alienation become her normal. The children watching these shows are at such an impressionable age. Should we really be allowing them to be watching these things? NO!
After today I don’t will not allow PJ to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or any television program that advocates, no matter how stealthily, the mistreatment of people different than the social norm. All of us, no matter how cool we think we are, are quirky, weird, and dare I say it, DIFFERENT. I’m not going to teach my daughter that she has to fit a societal mold because it makes people feel more comfortable. I’m going to encourage her to be whoever she is, no matter what anyone else may say.