Recently, I was in the Pirates of the Caribbean line at Disneyland when I witnessed a yelling match between a young lesbian couple, who were holding hands, and a stereotypical Orange County mother. I could only imagine what they were arguing about. I figured it centered around this question: “How am I supposed to explain to my child why those ladies are holding hands?”
It’s not a new question, but it remains a popular question. Just in the past few days, Democratic U.S. Senator Evan Bayh said he was happy that the faux-lesbian kissing on the MTV Movie Awards took place after his kids’ bedtime and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton said "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" should not be repealed because "What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?”
When we made it onto the ride, I couldn’t stop thinking about the mother in line with us, and what she would tell her child about the lesbian couple. I tried to see the world through her child’s eyes and I immediately realized that there is no shortage of difficult things to explain to your children.
Like millions of other parents over the last 50 years, the mother apparently felt comfortable taking her children onto the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Here is an example of a conversation she could have had with her child on the ride:
Child: Mommy, what is a pirate?
Mother: “A pirate is someone who commits robberies at sea, usually without being appointed to do so by any particular nation.”
Child: Oh, a pirate is a robber? Why are we waiting in line for such a long time to see robbers?
Mother: errrr, look honey, the ships’ cannons are firing!
Child: Are they fighting a war? Why do we have war?
Mother: *Perplexed look*
Child: Mommy, why are those pirates trying to drown that poor Latino mayor while his wife calls him a chicken?
Mother: Oh, well they are waterboarding him to try and get him to reveal vital information.
Child: That sounds awful, I hope we don’t do that in real life. Mommy, what does that sign say?
Mother: Um… it says “Buy a wench.”
Child: Oh, so those women are selling their bodies for sex? How come all of the pirates are looking at that woman in the red dress instead of the larger woman who is being auctioned off?
Mother: Well, I guess it is because we live in a patriarchal society that has created a very narrow model of what a woman is supposed to look like.
Child: That doesn't sound very fair. Why are those intoxicated men irresponsibly shooting their guns toward the barrels labeled “explosives”?
Mother: errrr, I don’t know, wouldn’t you rather know why those two ladies are holding hands?
Child: Oh that’s easy, they are probably just in love with each other. I get it.
Photo credit: Disney Andy