Saturday Morning Cartoons Aren't Pagan-Friendly
Author: Niccole Windstorm
I am a Solitary Wiccan of 22 years and a mother of two children and I was using a Saturday
morning's cuddle time with my son while watching cartoons as "mommy-son" bonding time. We were watching Berenstein Bears
on the Treehouse (Canadian) programming channel. This show is full of very good morals and values for growing children,
with often very effective resolutions to everyday problems. It's a wonderful forum to discuss things that the show demonstrates
- such as how to deal with a bully, or how lying hurts everyone or even what to do when homework piles up. The Bears themselves
are a wonderful jump-off to discuss sacred animals and guardians, as well as what lessons animals can teach us.
this Saturday morning episode had a few surprises for me.
I was shocked to see one of the Berenstein cubs say to the
other, "Momma wouldn't be friends with someone who is a Witch, would she?" To which the other replied, "No, I guess not."
I was deeply offended. So troubled, in fact, that I've sent an email to the programmers at Treehouse
before writing this one to ask for an apology for airing such a discriminatory episode, and to submit that apology to Witchvox for all Pagans to see. (I have not heard from anyone at
the Treehouse programming via my email, and I wonder now if my complaint was brushed off.) Although in the episode the main
moral was a good one (not to judge people before you get to know them), the other themes of "Witches are unsavory people that
no one would be friends with" and another that was darkly hinted at - "witches do not exist" - were not resolved at all.
I shouldn't be surprised. Parents of all religions should be screening the information their children are being exposed to,
for content and to enhance the child's learning experience (such as using the TV show or computer site to cement the bonds
of family through the excitement of discovery and the opportunity to discuss ideas and reflect them in morals and ethics appropriate
to each family's standards). It was my own complacency that led to my disappointment - I honestly thought that in this day
of unlimited information that I was not going to see such stereotypical attitudes on my child's favorite cartoon program.
Also, Canadian Programmers are USUALLY very good about this sort of thing - weeding out all kinds of offending material so
that no one is discriminated against. I suppose that the censors forgot that we Witches DO exist. That shouldn't surprise
me either, since the Canadian Military has yet to formally recognize alternate religions, but the Canadian Government DOES
recognize Wicca as a religion. Which is why I had to say something, to prove we exist and we do have a voice and we should
stand up for our rights, and our children's rights. It was eloquently put with a wonderful poster that I saw with two children
of different nationalities with their arms around each other and smiling. The title of the poster was "NO ONE IS BORN A RACIST".
And our children aren't born with knowledge of which religion to discriminate against, either. Our Pagan teachings recognize
all religions as having truth, so who wouldn't want to be friends with someone as validating as that?
that Canadian Broadcasting Services are not directly responsible for specific content in their shows, but doesn't SOMEONE
preview the shows? I love the Berenstein stories; I've read them to my daughter for years and now again with my son. But now
to have a much-loved group of characters to suggest that I'm not deserving of friends because I'm a Witch caught me completely
off-guard and wounded my sense of security. Yes, I realize that they're referring to the "Hollywood" image of a Witch - the green-faced, black-robed cackling old hag who only wishes to turn
people into toads or spiders and such. I am so much more than that, although I do have a black robe and tend to cackle when
I laugh, and Wicca is definitely more than those ubiquitously ignorant images - but my SON only saw that "witches don't have
friends, " and linked that to "Mommy's a Witch." I would love to have more Pagan-friendly cartoons to expose my children to,
but the selection is very limited as far as I can determine.
This is obviously the Lord and Lady's way of telling
me to make sure that I know what my son and daughter are watching on TV and to be a responsible parent.
It's that last
bit that prompted me to write this. I am taking responsibility and showing my children that one person CAN make a difference
in the world, and it's their world I need to make the difference in. I know that I don't have to watch cartoons with my children,
but turning away doesn't make it better. There will always be this type of event - some ignorance that ranges from "cute"
(think of Hallowe'en decorations) to "costly" (remember Tempest Smith). There are ways to raise our children to treat the
Earth and all its creatures with sacred actions. There are many Pagan-parenting books, weblinks, and meeting groups. The Lord
and Lady both have much to teach us and our children if only we open our eyes to the wonderment of Nature and experience.
And there is so much that They are teaching me by seeing through my children's eyes.
"Witches don't have friends."
My children have shown me innocence, honesty and trust. I wish to bring these same core ideals back to all
who read this, and to remind us all that the Path of the Wise often indicates us to be less of a "bench warmer" and be more
of a "player" in our lives. As long as I can, I will be a player in my life, and play with my children in theirs.
just for the record, I have many good friends, of all faiths. May we see the end of discrimination someday.
blessings to all, each and every one.