The controversy over what children watch is not at all a new one–society has been debating the merits and demerits of influences on the young since at least Socrates was ordered to drink poison. Recently, however, the Hollywood actress Kristen Bell has added her voice to the chorus of ministers of modernity declaring “The patriarchy is dead, long live feminism!”
What is new about this latest discussion is that Disney’s own stars are leading what seems to be radical change in Disney story forms. Compare the plot of Frozen to Sleeping Beauty: in Frozen, the lead character is a female that transcends the need for a brave man’s salvation; in Sleeping Beauty, a courageous prince saves the innocent and unjustly-cursed Aurora.
The fact that Disney actors are promoting modern values, and that Disney itself is reflecting these modern values, is a rather new and troubling development. However, I suspect Disney was ever a creature downstream of basic cultural trends. As a business, it will always cash in on the values prevalent in society. I don’t begrudge Kristen or Disney their views, nor do I call for a return to when Disney created wholesome content (like Sleeping Beauty). Like politics, Hollywood is a fruit of the tree of values taught and held in family homes all over the world. Let us not despair over what’s happened to Hollywood or in politics–let’s be wholesome at home, and help our local community to do so as well.
Wholesome values are good because they are true–that they have gone out of fashion does not change that.