#1 Travel back a few years and kick Walt Disney’s ass.
We went to see Enchanted this weekend. Me, The Hub and my mom. All adults. We were in a theater with mostly children and parents. We loved it. It’s a charming and cute movie about a princess who gets banished from her kingdom to a place "where no hope exists" … real world, modern day, unanimated, New York City. What follows are her madcap adventures in the Big Apple including trying to avoid a big poisoned apple as well as find her prince and eventually conquer the evil queen with the help of one very talented chipmunk. It made us laugh and didn’t require too much thinking and all in all was the perfect way to sit and digest our thanksgiving meal.
I guess no movie is perfect. I guess there will always be something you don’t like or wish wasn’t part of the movie or think could have been left out. This is not uncommon. We all have our issues. For example, if you ever ask my mom about a movie and she says anything like, "It was good," and then looks away and says, "I mean, it was okay ... I mean there was some stuff, you know, I could have done without .." You can durn well bet someone was either getting or giving oral sex in that movie. Or masturbating. And you can also bet that she just shut the lid to her laptop after reading that. That's not to say Enchanted had either one of those in it. It didn't. It doesn't. Thank goodness. But it does have a doozy. Not my mother's pet peeve, but the mother of all pet peeves of mine. It had the ONE THING that could make me want to burn my glass slippers in protest.
The evil queen is a stepmother.
I get really, REALLY tired of this. Even before I was a stepmom, I didn't understand. Now, as a stepmom, I'm livid. Why? What’s the purpose? Why does the villain have to be a stepmom? Isn't it hard enough either being a stepmom or having one without having it blown all out of proportion in movie format? I'm a stepmom and I can honestly say that I've never ONCE fattened any kids up to be eaten at a later date. I already have a bug up my behind over the fact that there NEVER is a complete, happy family in a Disney animated movie and it is almost always the mom that is absent but why on top of that, do we have to make the stepmother evil? To what end? Sure there needs to be some sort of nemesis. But why does it have to be a stepmother? Why can’t the evil queen be an aunt? Or a nosey neighbor? Or, if it has to be a mother figure, why can’t the regular mother be the evil one?
I once discussed this with someone over drinks and the reply was, “Well, it wouldn’t be believable if it was just a regular mother… because no mother would do those kinds of things to their kids …”
There are so many problems with this answer I don’t know where to begin. First, have you READ a newspaper lately? I’m going purely on memory here but as I recall, the people who are making news for mistreating their children are MOTHERS not stepmoms.
Second, fish don’t talk, mermaids don’t exist, princes don’t prick their fingers and become beasts and pink elephants – last time I checked – could not fly. I don’t think suspension of belief is difficult here.
Third, shut up.
Before I had uttered a word the other person saw my expression and spouted, “Well, what I mean is, the PUBLIC wouldn’t tolerate THAT in a kid’s movie”
Me: Wouldn’t tolerate WHAT?
Her: A mother (said with great emphasis) mistreating her children.
Her: You know why. Mothers naturally love kids.
Me: And stepmothers?
Her: (after a pause and a long drink) I think we should change the topic.
So do I.
I mean, I guess I shouldn’t blame Walt himself. The whole “hate your stepmom” thing has been around a long long time. For proof, see this quote from Euripides who back around 400 BC was pissed ... probably about being told to clean his room:
“Better a serpent than a stepmother.”
And we all know Grimm kept things that way with his take on stepmoms in Hansel and Gretel … you’ll recall it was in this gem of a story where the stepmother convinces H and G’s dad to take them out in the woods and leave them. Um, doesn’t dear old dad have any responsibility here? Shakespeare didn’t help things at all with a couple of his yarns and the classic tale of Cinderella is as old as dirt with the most popular version being written down by Frenchie Charles Perrault in 1697.
So I guess Walt didn’t start it. But without finding a soapbox to stand on here I have to say, it is time to end it.
It is time to get rid of the evil, wicked stepmother. I mean with something other than a magical sword.