Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pippi Longstocking

We are fairly new to Netflix and are still in that first honey-moon phase where we are oooing and aaaing about the movies and programs that are there for us to watch whenever we want to. I remember, in a not to distant past, when I used to fantasize about being able to watch, rewind, fastforward, pause and watch TV on demand. It is pretty wild that that is now a reality and that my youngest child will never know any different.

The girls recently discovered that Pippi Longstocking is available on Netflix. It is, however, not the Pippi that they are used to. We have a collection of Astrid Lindgren movies, the movies that I grew up with - the Swedish (and original and best!) versions of Astrid's fantastic books. The girls have been watching these movies since a young age and Pippi is, to say the least, a hero in our house. The girls love Pippi and there was a time, when our oldest was about 3 years old, when everything was Pippi - the outfits, the pjs, the boots, the hats, the dolls etc. etc. The youngest one is entering that phase now and once again our lives seem to revolve around a red-headed, freckled faced girl with attitude to spare.

Pippi is the strongest girl in the world, she is independent, brave, and kind. Not a bad role-model to have.

However... The Pippi we met in the American version on Netflix is not quite so... Pippi. First of all, the girls were shocked to find out that Pippi's horse had been named Alphonso (really? Alphonso?). In the books and in the Swedish movies, the horse doesn't have a name. Everybody just calls him Lilla gubben - the little man.

Then, we are introduced to a Pippi that is scared, that needs her dad to come rescue her, a Pippi that gives in to the adult-world's expectations and moves into a children's home. What gives here?

Why would anyone want to make Pippi, one of the only truly strong and resourceful girl role models out there, weaker and more vulnerable? Is there a movie-executive out there who is feeling a bit threatened  maybe?

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