I remember watching holiday videos as a child and getting excited about the magic of Christmas. Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph were real to me. I looked forward to sharing those classics with the Sugar Snaps. We did not do any T.V. before the age of two and I am selective about what they watch. I figured there could be no harm in watching cute holiday movies. I watched Frosty the Snowman with them. I liked how Sally, a little girl, accompanied Frosty to help him get to the North Pole. He helped her get warm and she helped him to stay cold. It would have been better had the magician realized that what he did was wrong rather than changing his ways so that he could receive presents on Christmas morning. When the kids are a little older, we will talk about that.
On another day, we watched Rudolph. I have been careful not to expose Capri to programs that suggest that female characters need to be rescued. It was a couple of brief moments in the film, but they made me cringe. Clarice was advised not to go on the journey because she was female. She went anyway which was good. In another part of the movie, it was stated that they had to get the women home (in a macho tone). There were other unsavory messages in the film too. Clarice’s father said that he would not have any daughter of his playing with a red-nosed reindeer (insert any religion or ethnicity here). Santa was not the warm and jolly man that I remembered. He was rude to the elves when they sang a song they wrote just for him. Mrs. Claus was left to apologize for his behavior. There was an elitist quality to Santa’s team of reindeer. It seemed to be the main goal of the male reindeer to be part of that team and there was an underlying implication that they were not good enough if they did not make the cut.
When Rudolph was not allowed to ‘join in any reindeer games due to his differences, the adult reindeer coach approved of this segregation and bullying. Insert this message into a modern school. People would be outraged if an adult promoted that type of behavior. When it happens, it makes the news. The final disturbing message portrayed in the movie was that everyone ‘loved’ Rudolph once they found out that his nose was useful in lighting the way for Santa’s sleigh. So, it is OK to be different as long as others find you to be useful. It reminded me of this quote:
Rudolph transitioned from being considered an unsightly weed to a ‘newly discovered plant’ of great value. I feel like there are too many negative messages in Rudolph that I cannot explain to the kids at age three. We will not be watching it again until they are old enough to have that discussion.
I am glad that more modern programs for children carry fewer of these negative messages. There is a part of me that wishes I could still view Rudolph like I did when I was a child. Yet, I cannot take the psychologist and the Mama lens away. When they are older, I know they will be exposed to similar messages, but we can talk about them. I do not want those messages to sink in and take hold before that. So, Frosty will stick around our house during the holidays. Rudolph will too but only as a decoration. What are your thoughts on Frosty and Rudolph? I’d love to hear from you. I read each of your comments.