1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The message: Once you conform, you’ll be accepted

One of the most beloved Christmas films of recent years, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an excellent family flick for the festive season. Adapted from the Doctor Seuss story of the same name, the film stars Jim Carrey as the titular Grinch in a performance that has become iconic for an entire generation. It also teaches a few problematic lessons, though.

One of the film’s more problematic issues was documented on our dysfunctional festive families list (seriously, go and check it out), but it actually has a more prevalent theme that’s potentially more harmful to the millions of young viewers: the glowing endorsement of conformity.

After all, while the Grinch lives alone in isolation, driven to despair by a town full of people who ridiculed and mistreated him, he’s mostly ignored and generally feared by the residents of Whoville. It’s only when he begins to embrace Christmas that he’s accepted, but when he deviates slightly from the norm, he’s shunned once more. In the end, he once again comes around to their way of thinking, to be accepted again – as he’s then seen as normal, instead of the fringe weirdo he was reputed to be.

This sends a pretty powerful message to children about the importance of fitting in, and it’s actually quite problematic. Nowhere does How the Grinch Stole Christmas attempt to explain that the Grinch was fine as he was, or have anyone truly embrace him for who he is, instead having them work at changing him into something a little more palatable to their tastes. We’re moving away from those ideas as a society, and as we do, How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘s message becomes increasingly problematic.

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