Monday, February 25, 2013

Destroying the joint - what not to do.


Baby B was somewhat better Saturday so I went ahead with a plan I'd made earlier in the week to take P out for a Mummy/Daughter day of fun.  I don't get much one on one time with the little mouse these days and I think she needs it.  My big idea was to leave M at home with Baby B, and to take her to swimming class and then straight off to see a movie.  I'd noticed they were doing classic Disney childrens movies on Saturday mornings at Robina so thought that sounded good.  This weekend it was Pocahontas, so I thought it would be perfect. G rated movies are a bit thin on the ground these days...

So after swimming we headed off.  When I had mentioned to a friend the day before that we were seeing Pocahontas, they remarked that they thought it was part of a sort of princess film special event, but I hadn't really given it much thought.

When we got there, a million tiny girls all wearing tizzy fairy princess costumes were milling round in the lobby.  I could see P, in her ordinary clothes, eyeing them off.  She said "Mummy why are they all wearing their princess dresses?". I made up some bland response but I don't think she was fooled.

Anyway I was a little bit blargh about that, but we bought our tickets and got given our Disney Princess Passports (ugh).  I was still more or less ok at that point, and the ticket person said afterwards there would be craft and face painting, so P and I thought that sounded pretty ok  and we bought our Malteasers and headed into the theatre.

When we found our seats, we were soon joined by throngs of little girls attending a couple of birthday parties, closely followed by two young women dressed up as fairies.  They went up the front and announced a few lucky door prizes. I was still all good with things at that stage generally speaking.

What happened next still makes me feel yucky.  The fairy ladies asked all the little girls to come up the front of the theatre.  I was a bit suss already about it and said to P "Oh we don't need to go up darling", but she looked so disappointed I changed my mind and went up with her.

Then the fairy ladies got the audience to vote on who was the best dressed by clapping their hands.  I am not joking.  They actually went down the line of little girls and held their arm over each of them, one by one, and the audience clapped and hooted if they liked her, or didn't clap and hoot if they didn't like her.

A mother standing next to us exchanged glances with me as they inched closer to our girls.

"I don't like this at all," she whispered.

"Me either. I didn't sign up for this," I answered.

I felt sick as they came closer to P. I looked at her waiting patiently in line, and I knew nobody would clap for her. The little girls with the parties had cheer squads and she wasn't wearing a princess dress.  When they reached her, I tried to cover up the lacklustre applause by clapping and woohooing loudly myself.

Thank goodness they moved quickly onto the next one, and P is just little enough that the whole thing was pretty much lost on her.  Any older and the shame of standing in front of strangers and being judged unworthy would have been unbearable.

The next event was a twirling competition (ugh!), but I managed to hustle her back to our seats before getting sucked into it.

I was so angry.  HOW DARE THEY force this veritable beauty pageant on these tiny girls.  The whole world has gone absolutely fucking apeshit crazy.  I wanted to yell "Fuck you Disney princess bullshit world and your dominant paradigm, fuck you and the horse you rode in on!!!!".

But I didn't of course.

I felt hot tears prickling my eyes.  I was so bloody strung out and exhausted, and felt so terrible about taking P to something where that would happen.  As the movie started, I remembered how tragic the whole Pocahontas story actually was, and as the first rat scuttled on board the ship bound for the New World the tears rolled down my face.

Oh God the TRAGEDY of it all was too much for me and it all got mixed up in my head as I wept silently in the dark - colonialism, smallpox, lost love, the degradation of Mother Earth, the oppression and princessification of all the tiny girls in the world by Disney, John Smith's bad English accent, the guy in front of us and his bad body odour.  The bloody shitting tragedy of everything.  I know. Just a bit over the top I guess.

I felt deadset sorry for the nice man and his two little girls sitting next to us as I clutched P close and sobbed quietly into her hair through the whole film, while she asked things like "But who is John Smith, Mummy?!" and "Who is Pocahontas?" and "Where is Pocahontas' daddy?" and so forth. I can only imagine how maniacal I looked in the reflected light of the big screen.

Frankly the whole thing left me feeling like I'd been through the wringer.

I trailed out after the movie ended and dutifully lined up with her to wait for the face painting. She must have absorbed my gloom because when it came to her turn, she sat silently and morosely staring at the face painter until it was all over.  The saddest face paintee in all of Christendom.


One of the fairies and P sitting as still as a statue.  

I had to ask the fairy not to press on P's black eye.  We must have looked quite a sight, my tear streaked face and her sad rainbow annointed, black eye sporting one.

I made myself feel better today by writing a letter of complaint and emailing it to the cinema.  I bloody hope they listen. I can take expensive popcorn, overflowing bins in the toilets and rowdy children in the theatre, but a surprise beauty contest for toddlers I will not stand for.
The #destroythejoint peeps would be disgusted.

Linking up with Jess for...



37 comments:

  1. There are times when you simply have to veto what your child wants and remove them from this kind of crap. Sympathies for getting caught up in this nonsense, it sounds so hideous. She looks so cute and beautiful in her little dress, there was no reason at all for her to feel left out.I hate this kind of crap that people who should know better indulge in. Why not have another special day together asap and do something completely different? Then, little P will have a ton of fun and hopefully forget all about this horrendous event.You too!

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    1. She has already forgotten! Me, not so much! Boycot - yes indeed x

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  2. Oh god,that sounds awful - my stomach was churning reading it - what a bunch of crap - give them hell!.

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    1. Haven't heard back from them but will chase!

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  3. Sounds like no one learned to paint with the colors of the wind that day. And your little girl is as beautiful as any Princess just the way she is.

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    1. She talks about being beautiful all the time. Urgh. I am trying to discourage it but it is hard.

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  4. Oh I really feel for you - and your daughter! It's so hard to maintain your own values when the world is working against you. You only wanted to see a freakin' movie!! My daughter missed out on a party invitation this morning and I felt the same as you - what's the world coming to? Can't help getting emotional about protecting our little ones' hearts :(

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    1. I know, it is very difficult. I am happy for her to dance around playing fairies and whatnot but this goes too far. She needs to do judo or something.

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  5. I so would have cried my head off - you did so well not to. I almost want to now. Those silly women should have had more sense than to be like that, what about those girls who don't like to dress up or didn't! BOO.
    In saying that I wish I knew there were princess themed movies at Robina - mine would LOVE them. Although Pocahontas a bit old school now, she's more of a Tangled girl! Have a great week - Em x

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    1. Yes, so stupid of them. I've heard Tangled is great I will try and get my hands on it x

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  6. That would have been awful, it's honestly why I try to avoid Disney anywhere near my children at all. I figure they get exposed to enough of the princess paradigm without my help, not that that means you should have had to put up with rubbish like that.
    Also interestingly enough Pocahontas is a very derogatory term her real name was Matoaka, it says a lot about Disney that they went with what they did.

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    1. Yeah well, we haven't watched much Disney either, if any, but she has been to the movies twice with me and enjoyed it so I thought Pocahontas would be good. It was pretty ghastly. She has always had dolls and fairy crap and whatnot but trucks and stuff too and she plays with them all but likes dressing up in crazy tizzy outfits the best. I guess I've learnt my lesson.

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  7. I am SO ANGRY reading this I want to spit and swear. Angry, angry angry at these stupid stupid swear words swear words swear words. How ****** dare they! Yep, nothing coherent here, I'd better leave before I say something I will not regret at all.

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    1. I know. I just wanted to take her to a freaking G rated movie for a treat. Turns out I've effed up on multiple levels.

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    2. Not your fault lovely. How could you possibley have foreseen this?! I shared this on Twitter. With swear words. xoxo

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    3. Ooh Twitter. Thanks Alison. the cinema replied to me and they are taking my complaint seriously they say.

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  8. What a joke! What happened to being able to just go to the cinemas and enjoy a movie, why must it be turned in to a beauty contest. They'll get enough of that when they are teenagers, they don't need it as little girls too.

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    1. Yes I know, so ridiculous. They replied to my email, I will update with their response.

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  9. This is upsetting and frankly inappropriate. I would've probably dissolved in the dark too. We love dress ups and fairies but I hate appearance-centric culture. I do have to say though, I don't rail against Disney/Princesses on the whole, as the new breed tend to be way more kick ass, like Mulan or Tangled. Miss6's favourite is Tangled. Rapunzel is independent, self defensive and she saves the boy (as does Giselle in Enchanted, btw). #teamIBOT

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    1. Yes I hear you about the modern ones. I don't even really have a problem with the older ones either, taken individually, It's the packaging of them into the whole Disney Princess marketing package that is hard to stomach. But it was basically that brief few minutes up the front that was the prob.

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  10. How horrible for your little girl! I have been to chicks at the flicks and they played games but it was completely voluntary and they were fun. One of the things they did was who has the strangest things in their handbag. Each person got to pick one thing out of their handbag and we'd vote on the strangest thing. The woman who won had a tool kit in her bag lol!

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    1. Sounds fun! It wasn't compulsory, but because all the other girls were going up P was desperate to also so I agreed. Didn't know what was coming :-(

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  11. I wonder would they have done the same thing if it was little boys? Disgraceful behaviour from the cinema. Well done you!

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    1. Thank you. They've responded to my email and seem to be taking it seriously. Sorry about the comment thing, I do moderated comments cos I get lots of spam and to avoid nasty comments, not that I've had any x
      thank you for visiting!

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  12. Disgraceful behaviour from the cinema. I wonder if they'd do the same with little boys? Great post.

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  13. 3rd time lucky with commenting!!!
    Ok, would cinema have done this if it were a little boys movie? I think not...Great post!

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  14. Good for you for emailing the cinema. We feel your rage however I fear with the follow the USA mindset in this country plus reality shows about children in beauty cojntest this type of thing will continue

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    1. Thanks smr, yes, it is probably more common than I realise and I think most people wouldn't even.understand why I was upset :-(

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  15. I am so sorry about this. I can't believe it happened.
    Can you give us an update on what happens in a future post.

    This shit makes me so effing ANGRY!

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    1. I can't believe it either really. I got a reply from cinema apologising but I'm not sure they really understood my point, who can say?

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  16. OH that would have broken my heart too... xx

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    1. It was sad. Lucky she was pretty oblivious.

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  17. I have tears reading this Sarah! I wish I was at the theatre so I could have cheered and woohooed with the best of them - or I might have been standing next to you with my 2 year old boy vying for the best dressed princess title x

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  18. Oh hun I am so Gobsmacked and SOOOOOO FREAKING MAD!! I hope that cinema feels like the Shit those turds deserve. xx

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    1. Thanks Sonia, I hope they understand but I'm not sure if they do x

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Vent your spleen! You know you want to.

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