Domestic

The representation of domestic has been seen widely through movies, novels, and stories. In a section of Keywords for Children’s Literature written by Claudia Nelson, she introduces the topic of “Domestic” which has been defined as closeness, primarily focus on household, indoors rather than outdoors. Domestic also has a representation for housework such as cleaning, cooking and taking care of the children (67). This keyword has always been attached to girls and women in general. It promotes the image of housewife rather than the intellectual or wisdom of the women. The concept of domestic can be seen from American Indian Stories and Disney movies.

American Indian Stories is a collection of childhood stories written by Zitkala-Sa and Sioux. In American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Ša, there is a scene where it related to the definition of the keyword “Domestic” in the Keywords for Children’s Literature that girl is often attached with performing domestic tasks. As a kid, she learned mostly from her mother, from the way she thinks and how she treats others. She learns most of the domestic task by watching her mother and build up the skills every day. Her mom influences her on how to care for people in the community with kindness and love. There is a part in the book where Zitkala-Sa made coffee for the first time. Her mom taught her to be hospitality when there is a guest in the house. Although she has never made coffee before, she attempted her best to make a cup of coffee for the old grandfather. With her best effort, she gives the old man a cold mug of coffee mixed with dirty water. This part of the book demonstrates clearly how domestic plays a role in this children book.

In popular culture, Disney produces a variety of princess movie that also contains a lot of domestic aspect in their movie. Snow White is one of the Disney princesses that has this trait. She performs a variety of tasks around the house along with dwarfs and the animals. The movie also shows that Snow White is naive to take a bite of the poisonous apple. She later then have to wait for the price to save her. This concept is repeatedly used in many Disney movie. Cinderella also shares the similarity of housework. She works as a servant in her home and doing many domestic tasks. She is depicted as an obedient girl and never stands up for herself. Later on, a prince saves her from the devil stepmother and stepsisters. These movies send messages to young children and girls specifically of how they should act and behave. In other words, they should enjoy cleaning and cooking and taking care of others while waiting for the prince to save them.

The keyword “Domestic” can both be seen in the through the assigned reading and the Disney movies. They shared the common theme of domestic traits and value. These have a huge effect on children and girls as the watch and read these as a kid and grow up believing that they have to behave like these role models. Fortunately, Disney has altered their plot and introduce more independent and strong female characters that cooperate with the success of the movies in the past few years.

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