This week, I saw a comment that Incredibles 2 was not for children, and no one better bring their children to it because it was for people who’d been waiting for twelve years to see what powers Jack Jack has. And half of us sighed, and we said, “This person makes me want to find a child to take to this, just out of spite,” and the other half said, “Why are you taking it seriously? This is obviously a joke!”
I mean, look. I’ve been telling the story for twenty years, almost (sigh), about seeing Mystery Men in a theatre full of children who were only quiet when [spoilers of a fairly graphic nature]. And maintaining that those children should not have been there. But Mystery Men is rated PG-13. I’ve been telling the story even longer (sigh) about seeing Austin Powers with a group of small children who were in one case quite vocally not happy to be there. But Austin Powers is also rated PG-13.
Incredibles 2 is rated PG. So yeah, you know, be aware of what kids you’re taking to see it, and be aware of what they can handle. We took our son to see PG-rated Coco on the advice of several people who’d seen it and knew what Simon was equipped for. (As it turns out, what he was not equipped for was sitting still in the theatre that long. We’ll try again when he’s older.) I’ve written several times about making this decision.
On the other hand, though? I have absolutely seen people shame parents for bringing their children to children’s movies in the theatre—not because the children were misbehaving but because it wasn’t for the children. There are several children’s cartoons that have adult fandoms that seem to resent that the show is aimed at children instead of the adults who obviously appreciate it more. (I have a dear friend who’s a bit of a Bronie, but he’s also willing to talk about the show with Simon without being weird about it. If anything, he’s embarrassed for knowing so much about it.) I’m frankly glad my son is too young for Google Image search even with safe search on.
As the author of a series about Disney that’s reaching the two-year mark in September, I’m certainly not going to shame adults for loving stuff that’s aimed at kids. That would be ludicrous of me—even if I believed there was any shame in being an adult who loved things aimed at kids. I’ve written about that, too, and how I genuinely believe you’re entitled to love what you love even if it’s kids’ stuff. No one, child or adult, should be ashamed of loving what they love unless it’s something truly appalling like snuff films or something. (If your child loves snuff films, seek medical help for your child immediately. Also, where did your child see snuff films?) We can share our entertainment.
We as parents have to be aware of the potential for toxic fandoms and protect our children from them. I’m not thrilled about that. I love that Simon can talk to my friends about some of the things he enjoys and have them know what he’s talking about. But we parents couldn’t just assume that post was a joke; there was nothing in it on its face that was any different from things we’ve heard people say about our children in earnest.
I won’t be taking Simon to see Incredibles 2, but I’d quite like to go; you can help be sure I can review it by supporting my Patreon!