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Not Walt’s Disney

My girls grew up on Doc McStuffins, a show about a preschool girl who imagines she is a doctor and comes to the aide of her ailing stuffed animals, who come to life and talk when the adults aren’t around. (We were all ok with Mr. Ed, right?)  A cute kid (a person of color, as we now say), happy, involved parents, a little preschool biology thrown in for good measure: good, clean fun, one would think, and it was.

However, earlier this month the producers saw fit to feature [1] two lesbian “moms” as the heads of a family.  Not surprisingly, one of the authors of the script is in a same-sex marriage and claims she is “definitely” thinking of ways to make the show more “pro-gay.”  Similarly, one of the “mom” actresses herself is a lesbian and she is “pleased with the episode promoting same-sex relationships.”  Advocacy groups have launched a petition to “thank Disney for elevating LGBTQ voices.”  Is this really what a “family” media company should be doing?

We should not be surprised, given that Disney featured a “gay moment” in their recent re-release of Beauty and Beast, which while more subtle, was no less agenda driven.  The historically-trusted “go-to” company for family friendly entertainment is now, and has been for a time (cf., affiliate ESPN’s disdain for Christians [2]), pushing the envelope of social “progress” further and further towards the cliff’s edge.  What is a parent to do, when so many other parents are unknowingly allowing their children’s minds to be polluted?  (Data suggests the LGBTQ movement has successfully shifted [3] the culture from questioning “Why would anyone ever consider same sex marriage and sex change helpful?”, to “Why would any question the rights of people to ‘be who they are?’”)

What The Research Says

Social and clinical research [4] has consistently shown a relationship between the images and content viewed by a child and his or her subsequent behavior and attitudes.  Most well known is the connection between the viewing of violent content, and an increase of aggressive thoughts and feelings, coupled with an eventual decrease in the tendency to notice and respond to real-world pain and suffering in a compassionate manner.  The effects of media gender-depictions have long been thought to impact children’s feelings, beliefs and attitudes.

A cross-cultural meta-analysis [5] of the impact of gender role stereotyping in the media investigated judgments about the appropriateness of various occupations for men and women, the appropriateness of playing with sex-typed toys, and behavioral measures such as the child’s own play behaviors.  It found a small, but significant, relationship between exposure and stereotype-consistent beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.  One might expect then that as our youth are increasingly exposed to a different stereotype of what it means to be male and female, they will be similarly (but negatively) impacted.

Why It Matters

The traditional family is under attack, most intensely for its views on human sexuality and its proper understanding and purposes: to join man and woman together in an exclusive and sacred bond which produces a unique union of love and the blessing of children.  This notion, which was common sense for millennia and second-nature to our grandparents, is fading quickly from the cultural landscape.  Without guidance and discretion being provided proactively and regularly by parents, the youth of today could have no notion of the most foundational premises of what it means to be male, female, husband, wife, mother or father.  For several generations, the family viewing hours on T.V. were wholesome times where values were observed (for the most part), and negative consequences ensued when they were not followed.

More recently, the effort by those bent on shifting us away from the goodness of life, family, and traditional values is apparent.  The impact of these changes [6] on the broader culture must also be considered.  As the healthy bedrock of traditional families crumbles, so do a host of hopeful futures for our children: their educational level [7], employability, income [8], social skills [9] and their own flourishing relationships all can be negatively influenced by disruptions to traditional family life.  Disney’s “progressive” agenda whittles away at the foundational understanding of how to engage in healthy relationships that are ordered towards all the goods that life has to offer.

What A Parent Can Do…

In a word, vigilance.

For decades there has been an effort to change the Judeo-Christian values of America and open the minds of its citizenry to a variety of new ideas about the human person and in particular, human sexuality.

A book published in 1989 [10] outlines three tactical maneuvers (desensitization, jamming and conversion) used to paint those who disapprove of homosexual behavior as shameful bigots, who can only be redeemed through assenting (emotionally, mindfully and willfully) to the “sameness” of homosexual and heterosexual behavior.

Whatever notions one might have of there being a well-intendedness to the so-called ‘compassionate’ response of Disney’s efforts to broaden the perspective of our children, we should make no mistake.  Disney has been coopted in this effort and is beginning to use the vast appeal and ubiquitous presence of the Disney treasury to propagandize our children.  Prudence dictates that we understand this, and act to protect them.