I certainly don’t envy parents the task of navigating 2017 pop culture. Every generation has of course required vigilance in monitoring what children are exposed to, but most generations haven’t had to contend with long-established names in professional children’s programming actively undermining them.
This week’s latest front in the culture wars came from the Disney Junior cartoon Doc McStuffins, about a little girl who acts as a doctor for toys. That cute, imaginative premise sounds about as innocent as can be right? Well, it is…except that somebody decided this was the perfect setting to introduce small children to the subject of lesbian marriage and parenting.
I kid you not. Here’s a summary of what happened and why, courtesy of the left-wing Refinery29 (which of course thinks this is just wonderful):
In the episode, entitled “The Emergency Plan,” a doll family with two mothers is separated from one another during an earthquake. Doc helps them reunite and make a plan for earthquakes. The moms are voiced by Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi, both openly gay women. Disney didn’t just get anyone to voice these characters, they got actual members of the LGBT community. Sykes spoke to Disney Animation News about what this episode means to her family.
“With this episode [my kids] see a family that looks like our family,” she said. “We’re two moms. We have a boy and girl, two kids. It’s going to be very exciting for them to see that – to see our family represented.”
Naturally, the Christian family group One Million Moms had a decidedly different reaction:
Controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to the parents to discuss and Disney Junior should not introduce this to young children. Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct. Disney should stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming instead of pushing an agenda.
As just one example of the real-world fallout of this sort of indoctrination, conservative commentator Matt Walsh writes that “One mom told me she was forced to explain homosexuality to her 4-year-old after he viewed the episode.”
Four years old. Why does any child have to be exposed to homosexuality that young? And where the hell does Disney get off overruling parents’ judgment on when their children are ready to deal with sensitive, mature subjects that intersect with sexuality, morality, and religious beliefs?
It’s sure not necessary to foster compassion and combat bullying. Kids don’t need to know about, let alone be taught to approve of, any and every habit, lifestyle, and difference just to learn that bullying is wrong; simply teach them that there’s never a good reason to be mean to somebody who isn’t hurting you.
Yes, non-traditional families are nothing new to children’s entertainment. Divorced and widowed parents were a recurring theme of many of the kids’ movies I grew up watching. Heck, even the original “Miracle on 34th Street” featured a single mother. And yes, while these depictions varied in messaging and effectiveness, there was something to be said for these examples helping young viewers going through the same things in real life.
However, there’s a crucial difference. Such depictions didn’t normally depict homes lacking a mother or a father as an ideal, and the toll that a missing parent took on the kids was usually part of the narrative. Contrast that with today, where the whole point is that it’s just as good for kids to be intentionally placed in a home where they are deprived of either one mother or one father, based solely on the desires of adults.
Those are the values of 2017 Disney.