Because Peter Pan Is Actually a Jerk
November 27th, 2013
Miss Mouse asked to watch Peter Pan last Saturday for movie night.
I said no.
She was understandably confused since I’d let her watch it once before when she was home sick from school. What gives, mom?
How do I explain this to my kiddo? How do I say: Well, honey, when I watched it with you back a month ago, I realized something unsettling about that particular children’s movie. It kinda stinks. It is misogynistic and racist and paints a terrible picture of female relationships and you deserve better, little girl.
That seemed a bit over her head.
What I DID say was that Peter Pan isn’t my favorite movie because Peter Pan isn’t very kind to Wendy and the parts of the movie with the Native Americans also aren’t very kind because the movie is making fun of them and I don’t like it.
It’s true, too. Have you actually watched that movie lately? Yikes. Peter is a chauvinistic snot who drags Wendy to Neverland to be his housekeeper and then routinely ditches her to flit (and flirt) about. The relationships between female characters are portrayed as petty and jealous and catty (the scene where Wendy meets the mermaids is particularly unpleasant but Tinker Bell is no paragon of female bonding!). And the song “What Makes the Red Man Red” – while catchy in tune – is pretty offensive, as are the other depictions of the Indians.
I don’t always walk the walk on Disney movies (I admit to indulging my daughter’s love of princesses) but I had to drawn the line at Peter Pan. The conversation with Miss Mouse went really well, actually. We talked about how Peter treats Wendy and about how it isn’t kind to make fun of groups of people. It was a good teachable moment.