Kiki’s Delivery Service, 1989

and Cinderella Ate My Daughter

An animated movie for children, especially girls. Kiki, a young witch in training, flies off for a year on her own. Visually it’s very nice. Though somewhat lacking in story, it wasn’t boring or painful to sit through. I could watch it again, which is important in a kids’ movie. Kiki’s Delivery Service is mentioned in Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein:

“When I was a child it was about baby dolls and playing Mommy. Now it’s all princess all the time. They’ll latch onto whatever the culture gives them that they think reflects their sex. If they think hopping is only for girls, 4-year-old boys will not hop. It can be totally arbitrary or totally stereotypical. So it’s important to understand that — there is a developmental reason why your daughter won’t let you wrestle her into pants all of a sudden and why she wants that princess dress. But that doesn’t mean you totally indulge that.

“It’s the ideal time to offer her choices, images, stories, playthings, etc. that are FUN and celebratory of femininity but not hinged entirely on appearance. The Miyazaki movies, like “Kiki’s Delivery Service” or “My Neighbor Totoro” are ideal alternatives to “Little Mermaid” or “Cinderella.” Greek myths (made child friendly) have fabulously complex, archetypally female characters.”

I read Orenstein’s book a couple of weeks ago; she makes good points, and some less good, but it’s thoughtful and honest writing throughout. Parents, liberal or conservative, inevitably think about how the popular culture effects their children. Kiki’s Delivery Service is certainly different from the typical movies aimed at children, and that by itself may be enough reason to watch it.


2 Replies to “Kiki’s Delivery Service, 1989”

  1. I liked Kiki’s Delivery Service. But I also love most all of Miyzaki’s animated work – Spirited Away, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle… At least the ones that have been redubbed into English I like. :) The others I have not seen. Although subtitles don’t bother me I can’t find them to rent.

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