Over the weekend we watched Tangled – the latest retelling of the old story – Rapunzel. We thoroughly enjoyed it (so much so we watched again the next night!!) I’m not going to tell you the story – I’m sure there are plenty of reviews online you can check out but I wanted to share with you the things that we talked about after we watched the movie. Watching a movie is never a simple exercise in our house – there is always stuff to talk about!
We had read a few blog posts on the negative aspects of the story so after we watched it we talked about those concerns.
1. Rapunzel sings a song as she is doing household chores like sweeping, candle making, cooking and painting. The song goes something like “When will my life begin….” The concern is that it paints these homemaking tasks as a limited and restricted life. Is this the message we want to give to our girls?
I saw it differently…. Rapunzel is in a limited and restricted life. She isn’t doing homemaking chores for the love of people, but rather because there is nothing else to do. I do not want my girls to sit in a tower doing these things with no wider purpose. My girls are learning these homemaking chores (and the boys are too, to a degree) because there are people out there that need care today. It isn’t just about preparing to be a wife and homemaker, but it is about having the skills to bless people.
The other thing to be concerned about, from our perspective, is the parenting style represented in the movie. If I was a parent who limited my child from the outside world, then it would be normal for my child to sing such a song. We are not made to be isolated – we are made to interact with people. It reminded me of the Reb Bradley article going around like wildfire at the moment – Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling. Our home is to be one that releases our children, not releases them and sends them off to be independent, but releases them to be a part of the family and yet to express themselves and their giftings fully. Family life does not need to be restrictive or limited.
2. There is a trend in movies and books to make the women the hero and the male a weak, fumbling nincompoop! In the story of Tangled, Rapunzel does save her man a few times. And we agree that there is this trend, a very feministic trend and one that I want my children to recognise and not succumb to. But…
I saw it differently… God has given each of us, including the girls and womenfolk, gifts and talents. In each of the situations where Rapunzel ‘saves’ Eugene from a tricky situation she used the gifts that had been given to her. This gave me an opportunity to talk to the children about marriage and how when we come together we don’t lose our gifts as a woman, and there will be times that our gift will ‘save’ our man. We didn’t see that Eugene was the typical fumbling incapable male that movies often have. He did set out to ‘save’ her and he was prepared to die for her well-being (I don’t think we see this type of hero enough in movies). So to me the situation wasn’t so much she was strong and he was weak, but rather here was an opportunity that she had, to use her gifts to fight against the things that were against them. Another aspect that is usually seen in movies is that the woman doesn’t need a man – this was missing in Tangled. She wasn’t strong because she was a woman (the feministic call), she was strong because of the gifts she had been given.
There were a few other things that we talked about like
- Should our spouse be our full dream? Where do we get our fulfilment from? From our spouse or from God?
- Does a good woman a good man make? Is this a biblical thought?
- Sacrificial love – what does that look like in real life?
- Where does the power of eternal life really come from?