As Keira Knightley makes the rounds to promote her upcoming film "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" (released Nov. 2), she has simultaneously made a few waves among her fans. During an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday, she admitted that although she loves Disney movies (and grew up with them just like the rest of us), she doesn't allow her 3-year-old daughter, Edie, to watch some of them.
First of all, "Cinderella," arguably the most classic Disney movie in existence that has stood the test of time since its 1950 debut, is "banned" in their household.
"Because she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her," Knightley explained. "Don't! Rescue yourself. Obviously! And this is the one that I'm quite annoyed about because I really like the film, but 'Little Mermaid' [is banned, too]. I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello! But the problem with 'The Little Mermaid' is I love 'The Little Mermaid!' That one's a little tricky -- but I'm keeping to it."
OK, Keira, I get what you're saying. I really do. But I also have a little bit of an issue with it.
Parenting is about teaching your children valuable life lessons.
If you ask me, simply not allowing your daughter to watch Disney films like "Cinderella" and "The Little Mermaid" is not teaching your daughter anything. Sure, Cinderella waits around for the prince to sweep her off her feet and Ariel literally gives up her ability to speak to grow legs and get closer to Prince Eric. But shouldn't this be seen as a teaching opportunity? As a parent, isn't our sole purpose in our childrens' lives to show them the difference between right and wrong, rather than hiding them away from the not-so-good things in the world?
I'm not saying that anything and everything is fair game when choosing what movies, TV shows and media outlets your children are exposed to. Obviously, don't sit your 3-year-old down in front of CNN and call it a day. But "The Little Mermaid"? Is it really that problematic? Instead, why not watch the film with her and explain that although Ariel made a personal choice to make a (rather ridiculous) sacrifice in the name of a man, she should never feel the need to do anything of the sort.
Cinderella went to the ball, met the prince and then felt too embarrassed and ashamed of who she really was to reveal herself when he came knocking on the door looking for his mystery princess. She cowered under the control her stepmother had over her, and rather than sticking up for herself, hid in the shadows and let her stepsisters have the spotlight. Watch this with your daughter and teach her all about self-esteem! Explain that she should never, ever hide her light just so someone else can shine.
We all grew up with these films and turned out just fine.
Everyone's childhood was different, but while I was growing up, my mother always taught me the importance of not only living your life the way you want to, but also that you should never put your hopes, dreams or ambitions on hold for anyone -- especially a man. Movies like these were staples of my childhood and showed me how strong women really can be, even if they do lose their way for a bit along the way.
We should be taking every opportunity to instill values in our children that they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Prince Eric is cute and his dog is very fluffy, but no man is worth giving up your voice for, no matter if that's literal or otherwise.