Every time Lily watches “Tangled”, I cringe during the “mother” scenes. Rapunzel’s fake mother, aka the woman who abducts her to abuse the power of her magical healing hair, has to be one of the most evil and manipulative mother figures in Disney history.
Mother Gothel pretends to be a caring and loving and have Rapunzel’s best interests at heart, but we all know she’s only using Rapunzel to get to her hair. The manipulation is obvious to adults who can follow the plot line and understand the verbal introduction, but then there’s my 3 year old. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t understand this seemingly kind mother who later tries to kill Rapunzel’s love interest Eugene isn’t REALLY Rapunzel’s mom.
I worry that when she hears the song “Mother Knows Best” and sees the evil things Rapunzel’s mother is doing, she is questioning me and thinking that maybe I am also an evil mother. I tell her the things I do for her are in her best interest, but what if I’m secretly using her for her magical… something. And there are times that I might appear mean, maybe even evil for someone so small. And, like Mother Gothel, I slip in a lot of “I love yous” and hugs. It has to be confusing.
Mother Gothel’s deceit and manipulation makes for a great movie. My daughter and I both love it, but sometimes I question whether I should keep letting her watch it over and over again or if my authority and intentions will come into question. I’ve been explaining that Mother Gothel is not really Rapunzel’s mother and the kind queen at the end of the movie is REALLY the mom, but who knows how much Lily believes me.
Next Week’s TV Tuesday: My thoughts on “Tangled’s” treatment of hair color.