By Corinne Wnek
When I was a little girl, I never watched a lot of TV. But I do remember that two of my favorite shows were “Annie Oakley” and “The Mickey Mouse Club’. I really loved watching Annie outsmart bank robbers. She could ride a horse, throw a rope and lasso a bad guy better than any cowboy on the show with her. She was ‘da bomb’ even before there was such a thing.
I was also a fan of the original ‘Mouseketeers’ because these kids, about my age, could all dance, sing and act. They just seemed so nice and I liked the way they made me feel like I was really a part of their club. Somehow, the mouse ears seemed so right. I still remember the special songs for each day of the week. When they saddled their pony, I pretended to saddle mine. Go to YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Good times.
Looking back now, I can see why I was attracted to these two shows. It was all about the way the women were presented each week. They were strong, talented and independent. Annette and Doreen didn’t need Tommy or Cubby to help them open the special vault that held a new ‘Mouse cartoon’. They could do it themselves with a little song.
Girls were just as important as boys in Mouseville and you could really feel that. I was empowered even before I knew what that meant. I learned that I could do anything I wanted because each week I saw girls like me on these shows being who they wanted to be. Somehow, that made it okay for the rest of us.
That’s why it is hard for me to relate to the ‘princess mania’ among little girls today that comes courtesy of, yes, Disney. Sure, these ladies are beautiful, have fairy godmothers, wear gorgeous ball gowns and have interesting men in their lives. But ultimately, they wait for men to find them and then go off to live happily ever after. Exactly what does that entail? But that’s for another article on the perils of a long-term relationship.
The Disney princesses remind me of Kate Middleton, except I’m sure she was never forced to clean the house while Pippa went dancing. But since marrying a real prince, Kate now takes her identity from her husband because everything is about preserving order in the monarchy. She can still be an individual as long as she tows the royal line and looks good doing it. But exactly what ‘happily ever after’ means in Windsor castle is a matter of wait and see.
I’ll bet that the only royal title Annie Oakley would have been interested in was ‘rodeo queen’. Yee Ha!
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