Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Childhood influences

I've been reading Disney Princess Recovery, which is an excellent blog about dealing with media influences on children. Lately, it's had me thinking about my own Disney movie experiences, and why I didn't fall under the Princess spell as a child.

So, I wrote a list of my favourite Disney movies from when I was a kid. Here they are, in alphanumeric order:

  • 101 Dalmations (original)
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Basil: The Great Mouse Detective
  • Dumbo
  • The Fox and the Hound
  • The Jungle Book
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Robin Hood
  • The Sword in the Stone

As you can see, none of my favourite movies had anything to do with princesses. Some of them involved romances and all but one had a male lead, but they were pretty much all just adventure flicks where the romance wasn't the central part of the story. The fact that I didn't really understand the difference between boys and girls would have helped, because while I knew that I fell into the category of "girl", which apparently had to do with what you carried in your trousers and determined whether you were allowed to wear skirts, I didn't really have any real concept of gender (I still don't feel particularly gendered to this day, to be perfectly honest, but I might write more on that later). So I had no problem with relating to the male leads in those movies.

I did see the Princess movies and I enjoyed them. I even played mermaid games, though in those I was the Mermaid Princess with magic powers who commanded a ninja-like army of mermen, whose tails I could conjure and turn into legs at will to improve their swimming or fighting abilities. I think this is where my imagination was influenced by Heman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Star Wars and other such things. I was also brought up on healthy doses of Greek Mythology, which helped in terms of imagining myself with Godlike powers and the kind of conniving that only ancient gods are capable of.

Basically, I was a tomboy. I had girl friends, but didn't play with them much. I tried to join in a game with barbies once, and was told off for holding the doll the wrong way. I thought the other girls were really stupid for being fussy about something so trivial, so I went back to the sandpit to throw sand at boys again. I was that kind of kid. And it's not like I didn't own Barbie dolls - I did. I just didn't understand why you had to hold them in a specific way to play with them.

I guess my parents were lucky in that regard - I just didn't care about what a girl "should" or "shouldn't" do. Then again, I had no attention span so it would have been difficult for me to care about anything other than HEY LOOK A SQUIRREL!


  1. I don't think I even had a favourite Disney movie when I was a kid. I'd somehow gotten the idea that Disney was lame and that Bugs Bunny was about a million trillion gazillion times better than anything that was even tangentially related to Mickey Mouse.

    I did, however, wear out my video of Winnie the Pooh.

  2. I was most certainly a huge tomboy but my favourite Disney movie was Beauty and the Beast. Then the Hunckback of Notre Dame. Probably throw Robin Hood in there too.