Kid 1 is at that annoying stage in childhood when he could, and would, listen to the same stories over and over and over again. The only things preventing him from listening to them 24/7 are the fact that there is no device to play his stories in his bedroom while he sleeps, and the fact that he has to go to school and other such places. Otherwise, his favourite stories never stop playing.
I have tried to ignore them as much as possible, and I have managed to hear just noise for a while (this one dude reading the stories is terrible, he has an awkward diction and his voices are anything but youthful), but every now and then I catch parts of the story. And I was appalled by what I heard.
The stupid stories in question? A collection of three Winnie the Pooh stories. The one that makes my blood boil is the second in the series, when Winnie, having eaten all of the rabbit’s honey, gets stuck trying to get out of his house. Everyone tells him that he is too fat and his belly too big. So what do they do? They decide to keep Winnie there until he has lost enough weight to be pulled/pushed out. And the way to achieve this is by not allowing him to eat. At all. Poor Winnie asks for a bite of food from his friends, but they won’t have it. If he eats, they say, he will never lose weight. Now as time goes by, Winnie eventually loses enough weight for the others to try to get him out, and they succeed this time, but Winnie gets catapulted into a bee’s hive, scares the bees away and is left there all by himself to eat the honey. And the story ends with the following (paraphrased) words of wisdom: a bear that is as thin as Winnie deserves some honey.
I am sure you can see everything that is wrong with this story, but I need to get this off my chest. So the Disney corporation thinks that the only way to lose weight is by starving yourself. They also think it is a good idea to spread out this message to one of the most vulnerable and impressionable groups out there, children. This is absolutely appalling. Not only is starvation not the answer to weight loss, but it is a very dangerous thing regardless of weight. No one tells Winnie to eat a little less or make better food choices, no, they make a sign saying that it is forbidden to feed bears. And once the necessary weight has been lost in this dramatic, unhealthy fashion, what is the reward? Bingeing on the very food that made him fat in the first place. Another horrendous message. Don’t eliminate the sweet stuff that makes you fat, kids, just starve for a little and then you’ll deserve more of the sweet stuff. And you’ll probably have to repeat the cycle.
This is one of the worst messages I have heard in a kid story. I am horrified by all the princesses who have no say in determining their future, I am disgusted by every character not being fulfilled unless they are rich and famous, preferably by not working, I pull out my hair in despair when the characters are so stupid that a below average person looks like a genius by comparison. But let’s face it, regular kids don’t really mingle with princes, princesses, fairy godmothers, genies and the lot. They don’t fly on carpets and find bewildering treasures. You can explain this sort of stuff to children, make it clear that those are fairy tales and nothing else. Even tell them that that is not the right way to go about doing things. But food, everyone eats that. Everyone can overindulge. Everyone can get fat. Everyone can, at some point, want to lose weight. And everyone can struggle with their body image, no matter what they look like. So it is absolutely mean to send out this sort of messages to children. Eat whatever you like and however much you like; if you get too fat, starve yourself; once you’ve starved for long enough to get results, indulge in your reward and stuff your face with it.
I am not surprised that this message comes from the company whose logo is written in a font that looks like candy to children (this, I hadn’t noticed myself, but has been brought to my attention); but I am outraged nonetheless. It is not Disney’s place to give or imply any sort of advice when it comes to food and weight loss. It is not Disney’s place to tell our children that weight loss should be rewarded with unhealthy foods, or just unhealthy amounts of food. And yet, under the cover of entertainment, Disney does exactly that. And the message is sent to our children while the parents are doing their best to block out that ear-piercing noise. This is a horror that should not be allowed to continue.