Can I just say that both Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are HUGE jerks?
Peter Pan is self-obsessed and seems to either be completely oblivious to others’ feelings or does not care about said feelings.
And Tinkerbell tries to get Wendy killed, and when that fails, Shanghaied.
It just further makes me question people’s love affair with Tinkerbell.
Adam’s thoughts on the movie were something along the lines of “Well, that just encourages girls to seek out abusive relationships doesn’t it?”
He’s got a point:
- Tinkerbell almost gets herself killed trying to rescue her precious Peter Pan despite the fact that he seemed to ignore her very existence the moment he met Wendy (not that that excuses Tinkerbell trying to off the poor girl).
- Peter then ignores Wendy on multiple occasions as well. Heck, when the mermaids (who also seem to have a fan-worship love affair thing for Pan) completely soak Wendy in jealousy Pan just laughs and acts like it’s no big deal. He is either stupid enough to believe them when they claim they were “just having fun” or doesn’t really care that Wendy is being bullied. And after rescuing Tiger Lily Wendy gets completely ignored by Peter yet again. The only person who pays her any mind at the Indian camp is an old woman who sends her to fetch firewood. Yet, after returning home and telling her mother about the adventure Wendy gushes about how wonderful Peter Pan is.
- Mr. Darling clearly has some anger management problems. (When I pointed out to Adam that he apologized and such after calming down Adam made the point that anyone can be loving and apologetic when they’re calm…what matters is how people act when they’re angry. He’s totally right. Even the most abusive boyfriends/spouses/fathers/etc. act sorry once they’re calmed down/sobered up/etc.)
- Then, looking at things from a different perspective, Tinkerbell is kind of abusive/manipulative of Peter. She gets so insanely jealous of him spending time with Wendy that she pouts and, like I mentioned, tries to get her killed. Yet later in the movie Peter insists that Tink is the most important thing in the whole world to him. So even though Tink would have his friends killed and even though Peter seems totally content to ignore Tinkerbell she’s “the most important thing in the whole world to him?”
As I thought more and more about it all I started to think “OK. Everybody is going to think you’re taking this way too seriously.” Yeah. I am, kind of. I mostly point all this out because it’s just so silly/ridiculous. But the more you look into it the more wacko the movie becomes. Here are some aspects of abuse (as well as here and here). The following are all applicable to behavior demonstrated (to some extent) by one of more characters in Peter Pan.
- Rejecting - refusing to acknowledge a person’s presence, value or worth.
- Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his possession.
- Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety of intimation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don’t obey, there will be violent consequences.
- Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He will commonly shift the responsibility onto you: Somehow, his violence and abuse is your fault.
And some questions that if answered yes indicate an abusive relationship (as seen in Peter Pan):
Does the individual…
- ignore your feelings?
- ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor? (And I would add, “or let others insult you then tell you its a joke)
- present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders?
- threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out?
- harass you about imagined affairs?
- interrupt you; hear but not really listen?
- give you the silent treatment?
- treat you like [an]…object?
Wow. That’s a whole lot of messed up for a movie that’s for kids and about kids. You know there is a problem with your story’s protagonists when the antagonist (Hook) inspires more sympathy.
Actually, the character who inspires the most sympathy is Nana, the poor dog. All her efforts to tidy the Darling nursery are promptly destroyed by the human members of the family and then she gets punished for no reason other than Mr. Darling’s anger management issues. And she gets left behind while the children fly off to Neverland, and man can she really pull off the “sad puppy dog eyes!”
I probably don’t even need to mention how incredibly offensive the portrayal of Native Americans in Peter Pan is. Aside from the controversy over the word squaw* the movie just reeks of politically incorrectness. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know political correctness can definitely go to far. But when one of your main characters gets to call all “Indjuns” unintelligent I think it’s fair to say there’s a bit of a problem.
All in all the movie is pretty messed up. People have been pointing out issues with various Disney movies for decades (I once had a classmate who wrote a research paper on how anti-feminist many Disney movies are). Sometimes concerns are pretty valid (yeah…maybe Disney needed to stop making quite so many movies in which the heroine accomplished nothing but falling in love and being rescued by the man). Sometimes concerns were just too silly (like the hubbub over the hyenas in Lion King being voiced by African Americans…um…so was Mufasa and he was definitely a good guy). But I think it’s safe to say that when your movie is sufficiently messed up enough that the audience can’t enjoy watching it (because they’re so annoyed by the characters) that you might want to reevaluate things. I mean, at least with most of the movies people have complaints about the movie is still fun to watch. But, sorry, watching Tinkerbell pout for 77 minutes is just not fun.
So there’s my two cents on an issue that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
*”the word has been used in a very racist and sexually abusive way, so it definitely has negative implications now. Like “nigger,” the word “squaw” should be retired from public use. It is also not an Indian word and no Indians ever use it among themselves.”