Shaun Baer

actor - singer - writer

The Disney Details - Part Four

Captain's Blog - Stardate 60506.2

PIRATES - THEN AND NOW

For a brief moment, the niece was napping. We were on the way to the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland before a 2:30pm appointment with Ariel on The Little Mermaid ride. Taking advantage of her snoozing, I suggested a quick diversion to The Pirates of the Caribbean for me, my boyfriend, and his brother-in-law. 

Boy was that fun! I don't think I'd been on that ride since it inspired the summer blockbuster franchise. I took great pleasure in seeing how they incorporated some of the movie elements into the existing ride. And an animatronic Johnny Depp? Super creepy and brilliant.

When we got off the ride, the four-and-a-half year old was a little miffed that we went on a ride without her. We explained that it was a bit of a scary ride and we'll take her on it when she's older.

What was fascinating to me was that, later in the day, it seemed her take-away from our Pirates excursion was that Pirates are for boys.

Given that she loves princesses, which some consider to be "gender appropriate" for girls, that could be considered an understandable perception for a girl her age. So, why was I surprised?

Well, for starters, over Christmas when we played, she was comfortable with an almost gender-fluid assignment of characters. She wanted to tell a story about a princess who fell asleep, a princess who rescued her, a fairy godmother, and a villain. She was playing with me and my boyfriend. Already we were a player down, so one of us had to play two roles. But, each time we played out the story (which we did many times in a row) we would be assigned new roles. At one point she was the prince, and then there was her "Princess Uncle." With gay grandfathers and uncles in her life, this comfortability in play is no surprise. 

Which is why the Pirates comment seemed so out of left field for her. I'm chalking it up to Disney over-stimulation. And here's why...

The day before Disney we had lunch at the burger joint Johnny Rockets. The radio was playing a lot of 50s boy band songs back to back. At one point, she looked up and said to no one in particular, "They're only playing boy music. Not girl music." She was totally right, and that observation was enough to impress me. 

But wait, there's more.

"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" came on the speakers. She listened as she ate her fries and then said, "This doesn't count. It's a girl song but it's about a boy."

That four-and-a-half year old just gave Carole King a big "F" on the Bechdel Test. She may still be learning about the similarities and differences of boys and girls, but I'm certain she'll never be limited by anyone else's ideas. Brilliant.

Hailing frequencies closed.