Podcast: The Disney Impact
In this episode of Happiness in Progress, you’ll hear from Jennifer Borget. She is a former journalist, mom of three and the creator behind Cherish 365. She writes, takes incredible photos and is always looking for new ways to tell stories with incredible videos. Her blog has won several awards including for Best Photography and ‘Mom Blog of the Year’ in 2018.
You’ve seen her on CNN, The Today Show, The Huffington Post, Baby Center and many more.
This is Jennifer’s second time on the podcast. She came on in the early days of this podcast. You can check out episode 19 about cherishing motherhood and life.
But I wanted to have Jennifer back on for her love of Disney. We’re celebrating the launch of Disney+ by talking all things disney. This is a little lighthearted, but we also take Disney a little deeper. We talk about everything from the impact movie night traditions have had on Jennifer’s family, to talking about how Disney movies create a space to talk about difficult things happening in a child’s life. We also talk about about Disney’s decision to cast a black woman as Ariel. You guys will love the first reaction Jennifer’s daughter had when she found out and hear Jennifer’s thoughts on why representation matters.
INTRODUCING TOUGH TOPICS TO KIDS
Every week, Jennifer’s family sits down to watch a Disney movie. Their movie tradition has built a tight bond, but also brings up serious conversations.
Jennifer shares how talking about Gabby Gabby from Toy Story 4 helped her children understand bullies are often dealing with something else in their personal lives. Jennifer talks about how Disney movies provide a safe space for kids to play with emotions that are darker - bullying, loss, etc.
She said, “Maybe it brings up other things that are happening that you haven’t talked to your parents about and you can feel those emotions in a place that is safe.”
THE PRINCESS STORYLINE
We all know princesses get a bad wrap for being hapless women in need of a hero to save them with stories based largely on falling in love.
But Jennifer and Danielle talked about how even some of the original princess stories teach young girls values like a love for reading from Belle or a desire to collect things from Ariel.
Danielle mentions how, as a child, she loved Ariel for her fearless attitude and desire to follow her dreams to have legs. It wasn’t until Danielle became an adult, she realized the storyline was largely about falling in love.
Jennifer talks about how the role of Jasmine has evolved with the new live action movie, giving Jasmine a larger role, beautiful song and her ambition to become sultan.
“For me growing up there weren’t any princesses who looked like me,” Jennifer said, “It didn’t stop me from wanting to be them and wanting to dress up like them for Halloween.”
However, as Jennifer became an adult she realized some of her role models did look like her. There was power in the fact that she could see parts of herself in these role models.
Disney is telling more stories with different casts like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. Jennifer says a black Ariel will make an impact.
“It gives an opportunity for more little girls to see themselves in these different spaces. And not only girls like my daughter and girls who will say “wow, she looks like me,” but for the rest of the world to see that, to see that beauty comes in different forms, different colors and different shades. I think it’s important for everyone to see that.”
She also mentions a black Ariel will not take anything away from the classic red-headed Ariel we all know and love.
MORE TO LOOK FOR
How the book Sulwe has made an impact as Jennifer’s children deal with racist comments at school
Which Disney movies have made a big impact on Danielle and Jennifer’s lives
What we learn from Walt Disney’s legacy