Thursday, August 06, 2015

Summertime, Summertime: Watch Out for Those Movie Princes!

Hot summer afternoons and long car trips are a good time for movies.

But Common Sense Media has some common sense suggestions about the overload of popular happily-ever-after movies aimed at girls in their "princess phase." Classic kid movies include not a few Disney princesses or Disneyesque princess wannabes who just need to be sweet and lovely enough to make a prince fall for them, and, as the closing theme music swells, everything's coming up roses forever after.

Of course, we all love a happy ending, but there's nothing wrong with a well-timed parental reminder that fairy stories are just that--pure fantasy. Classic Hollywood movies tend to favor those Cinderella endings for a reason. It's a feel-good closing that makes everyone want to watch another one, soon as soon can be, and that's the way movie makers like it. But it's up to savvy parents to point out that looking gorgeous and whistling while you do heavy housework doesn't always lead to an easy, happy life in the real world. And letting Peter Pan or Cowboy Curly or Professor Higgins call all the shots isn't the only way to find happiness either.

Common Sense Media's writer says, "And as much as we love sharing classic movies with our kids, they tend to have plenty of old-fashioned gender roles. Before you push play, be sure you're ready to have a conversation with your kids -- both girls and boys -- about the messages these films are sending."

And Common Sense Media has suggestions for  movies and books that feature girl heroines who take some responsibility for making their own happy endings, with suggestions for age and maturity appropriateness.

Read their whole article here and follow their links to lists of books and movies with realistic girl characters for preschoolers through teens.

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