The other day I was sitting at the table with my upper-elementary school aged daughter. She started to tell me about how you knew it was time to break up with a boy, how hard long distance relationships were, how to choose a good boyfriend, etc. Now my daughter has never dated a boy (goodness no!) and I realized, these were all storylines from the Disney television shows she has been watching.
Now I have been tolerating a select few of the Disney shows because she really enjoys them and all her friends watch them. But after this conversation, John and I realized it’s time to put the brakes on. Almost every Disney show targeted towards girls my daughter’s age is based on the same formula…girl who can sing/dance/songwrite has situations in high school that often involve boys. They actually kind of make my head hurt.
But you know what? Disney can do better! Where are the shows about girl detectives, girl scientists, girl computer programmers, girl adventurers? Why does every show have to be about the same thing? Aren’t girls so much more than that? And haven’t the Disney writers proven themselves capable of writing about plenty of entertaining themes that have mass market appeal?
Now I understand that the Disney machine’s formula makes them a lot of money. Their little stars do a lot more than just act on the show…they go on tour, sell records, etc, and Disney gets a cut of everything.
But Disney owes our girls more. They are more than capable of making entertaining shows that don’t have 9 year old girls processing what makes a good boyfriend. There is more than enough time for that! Why not focus on showing girls the possibilities. All the many things they are capable of. Skipping the boyfriend conversation entirely. These are kids, after all!
What shows do you let your girls watch? Where are the shows that encourage girls to be all they can be and to embrace the possibilities? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!