Last night we watched The Swiss Family Robinson for a family movie night. Neither Chris nor I have seen that since we were kids, but we both remembered loving it. I mean, who wouldn't want to live in the coolest tree house ever built, and fight off evil pirates with coconut bombs and a tiger in a pit? I was really excited to share the adventure with my girls.
And then the movie started. And good grief! The women drove me nuts! I’m definitely not the damsel in distress type, and that’s all they were. Laugh and then shoo away the iguana that’s crawled into your sleeping hut? Nah, it’s better to shriek like a banshee and then cling to your husband while crying about the godforsaken place you’re stranded in. Help build the treehouse? No way! Instead, demand that the menfolk build it to your specifications while declaring that you won’t set foot in it again until they do! Lend a hand when the cute (and shirtless!) young men are in danger of being squeezed to death and/or drowned by a boa constrictor? Absolutely not! It’s much better to hide behind a tree branch and bite your knuckles in a silent scream. Sheeees.
There were so many times I wanted to pause the movie and tell the girls, “If you’re ever in that situation, I hope you adopt the iguana as a pet/build the very highest room in the house/kill the snake with your own bare hands!” I don’t want my girls to be timid and mouselike. They should be able to stand up for themselves and be strong and capable of anything. I want them to be able to be equal partners with their husbands in all things. If Chris were building something as cool as that treehouse, I sure as heck would be right there with him. I’m very proud of the fact that even though I married a man with a background in construction going back two generations, I’m the one who put together the girls’ bunkbed.
So I thought about what kind of message this movie sends to girls. Okay, I know the point of the movie is not to send a message to girls, but what if they pick up on it anyway? And then I thought about another woman in a Disney movie, one with a message I’m okay with my girls picking up on.
(Oh, and yes, I know that she actually spends so much time with the suffragette movement that she's a horrible mother, but as far as a strong woman, what Disney film shows it better? Besides, this particular song has sentimental value. Votes for women!)