I'll always remember how magical it was to see Tinker Bell flitter across the TV screen. She would touch the top of Cinderella's Castle with her magic wand and release a million tiny sparkles that cascaded down the television screen and seemingly into my living room.
Since our family normally attended church on Sunday evenings, it was a rare treat to watch the Wonderful World of Disney. On that occasion when I was home and could steal away and turn on the TV, I was instantly transported into a world of fairytales and dreams. Disney was synonymous with innocence, happiness and hope - of Mickey Mouse, virtuous damsels and handsome heroes.
The Disney girls like Snow White and Cinderella were always so innocent, beautiful and kind. They taught little girls that we too should be generous and gracious - that our lives should be marked by goodness and virtue. The Disney message was clear: regardless of your circumstances, you can be lovely and thoughtful, and - if your heart is pure and with a little help from your fairy godmother - you might also find your handsome prince and live happily ever-after.
My, how times have changed.
This is not your mamma's Disney. The lifestyles and fantasies they are selling our young women are anything but wholesome. Disney has deliberately and successfully transformed its brand from one of innocence and family entertainment, to a purveyor of promiscuity.
A recent case in point is Disney star Miley Cyrus. Last week I wrote in this column how, once again, Disney created a young, innocent heroine and then morphed her into a tramp. (Is Miley a tramp in real life? I don't know. But she has agreed to be packaged as one.)
The larger point is that Disney itself has also morphed. They've gone from selling just childhood fantasies into also selling sexual ones.
This new corporate image was missed by many adults, but to my surprise, it seems that some teens recognize -and are beginning to reject - the newer, uglier, Disney.
After Miley's now infamous pole dancing routine before a nation of teeny-boppers, I remarked to my 17-year-old daughter, "Kristin, it looks like Miley has gone trampy on us."
"Of course," she responded, matter-of-factly.
Surprised by her immediate and total agreement, I asked, "Why do you say, 'of course'"?
"Because she's Disney," Kristin said simply.
Wow. I was stunned that my daughter knew what Disney had been up to.
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