Friday, July 12, 2019

More Bounce

The other day as my girls jumped in a bouncy house at their friend's going away party, I stared at the imagery of Ariel of The Little Mermaid, and said silently to myself, "Dang."  In my mind I thought of this whole notion of "representation matters" and how even though I had grown up watching Ariel and the gang without a second, third, or fourth thought about her looks and how non-representative they were of my own or the possible--not necessarily inevitable, but possible--effects such imagery could play into my self conscious, seeing my girls and the other children whose essences also contrasted greatly from Ariel's made me cringe a little.

Screenshot from a video I made that day

See, although it wasn't done for me (and I guess I still turned out ok), I'm highly selective of the imagery my girls consume. At least I am to the best of my ability.  They know I'll say with the quickness, "Hmmmm...I'm not seeing any people of color," when we're watching a video or other imagery with a large group of children or people in general who are overwhelmingly Eurocentric in nature (since that's been THE most dominating, mainstream-in-the-US-at-least depiction of characters and people in cartoons and such, right?) .  It's important to me that they understand that, it's cool; everybody is not going to look like you or you like everybody, but be discerning.  Know when it's gone too far or when you're constantly internalizing imagery where you're not represented.  That's important.  Implications of these things upon the subconscious and self-identity are relevant.  As a result of my interjections, they now point out when there are "brown people" or people with hair that looks like theirs with much glee and satisfaction.  I just need them to be aware.   I'm thankful that they're able to grow up in a place as diverse as Hawai'i but also recognize that they still don't see a whole lot of people who look like them.  One day they will recognize it and verbalize it, and I'm hopeful to know just what to say to them to engender understanding, insight, and reflection.  


Despite it all, they bounced in the Ariel-decorated inflated structured without a care in the world.  They couldn't care less about Ariel and the baggage of historical underrepresentation that has plagued society for so long.  The thing that mattered to them was that the thing was there, and they could get in it and jump.  So, I kept my thoughts to myself and let the chirren be!

                                     Artwork by 

I mean, not that Ariel and The Little Mermaid are something my girls will watch anytime soon no matter in whose image she's depicted, cause she's got way too much going on for them to be trying to mentally sort through anyway.  However, I will say that I can appreciate the imagery above.  It'll be fun for them to see some of the artwork and perhaps film imagery that all of this has inspired and will inspire.  

And I found this open letter to the mad people--cause somebody's always mad--entertaining. 

  AND, to get to the most relevant part of this post, here's the video of my youngest daughter in the bouncy house.  She does not like these things and has always refused to step foot in one.  On this day we are at the part for 5 hours.  During the fourth hour, after responding with an emphatic NO! earlier in the day when asked whether she wanted to go inside, she decided to make her way over there and give it a go.  

Yeah, she held down that one spot the entire time, but she had the most fun she had had all day!

Funny girl! 

Edited to add this.

I'm not too up on mermaid mythology from any culture, but it's interesting. 

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