Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Our perfect world

Note: This post was written before I realized I was trans and/or before I came out online. As such, I might refer to myself as a man or use my deadname. Please read my name policy to understand how you should refer to me.

I've been rather single-minded about finishing my novel lately, and as such I've noticed that my posts here are becoming more narratives about my life (which is, frankly, very boring) instead of interesting glimpses into my mind (which is slightly less boring). So consider the following.

I don't really like Disney all that much. I find Disney a souless corporation with humble beginnings. That said, we owe Disney a huge debt of gratitude that few movie studios could claim. Because Disney has done over the years something spectactular, something that I've just realised is really amazing.

I look at society today and see an overemphasis on transitory values, mostly because we are a materalist society. This focus on materialism is at the cost of spirituality. Even religion is a materialist world nowadays. We put more stock in the numbers on our bank statement than we do the worth of someone's actions or words. Kind of cold, really.

But it isn't always like this. When children are growing up, they are taught that lying is wrong, not to steal, and to share with others. Somewhere along the blurry line between prepubesence and adulthood, these wholesome values get lost, replaced by the cutthroat attitude necessary to survive today's capitalist age.

The most obvious culprit is, of course, the media, and they do share a lot of the blame. They bombard adolescents, like me, with images of what society considers "perfection". I'm talking mainly about the attacks on adolescent self-esteem promoted by companies that sell makeup or clothing or (Zarquon forbid!) that evil stuff known as "body spray". The media gives adolescents their second set of life values: beauty is to be pursued at all costs; ugliness is to be shunned. Outward appearance is more valuable than inward personality. Oh, and money is good.

Take a step back and look at the stuff that goes on in a child's life compared to that of an adolescents. And for the better part of a century, that "stuff" includes Disney. Disney movies, in particular, lead the vanguard in the tireless crusade to communicate humanity's core beliefs to our children. I'll use Beauty and the Beast because it is the most obvious example: the beast, even though he is ugly, is the hero. Shrek and its ill-advised sequel, Shrek 2, are more contemporary examples based on the same theme. Even Mean Girls, a movie aimed at adolescents, has those values in them.

So where do they go? Why do we suddenly discard them when we realise that we need to get ahead in the world or be left behind? I don't know. All I know is that I didn't realise it until now, but we owe Disney a lot for doing its part. And I think I'll stop getting annoyed at the blatantly obvious plots in Disney shows, considering that they were designed for an audience younger than me, content in the understanding that maybe, just maybe, some of those young people will resist the media-saturated images of their adolescent years.