Tinkerbell: Considerably more evil than you think

Tinkerbell pauses on a mirror to address her pathological body-image issues.

Island Packet —  So I have a 3-year-old son who is scared to death of Tinkerbell.

This, on its surface, is not a bad nor even surprising thing, because I discovered something recently while watching “Peter Pan”: Tinkerbell is a jerk. She’s jealous, she’s petty, she’s got irrational body image issues and she’s consistently mean to the Darling children, even the dippy one with the top hat. I’ll be honest: When my son started saying, “She scares me, Daddy,” I thought, “You know what, son? Six-inch-tall bioluminescent faeries with unexplained powers and vengeful attitudes scare me too.”

Still, having a 3-year-old son who is frightened of Tinkerbell — or anyone involved in “Peter Pan,” which on the whole is about as scary as a high school newspaper class — is not something you exactly run around the playground sharing with the other fathers, particularly if they’re throwing a football around.

I bring this up partly because at some point in the distant future I plan to use my son’s fear of Tinkerbell to get him back for some adolescent transgression involving cigarettes or a fire alarm, but also because his fear of winged blondes stands in direct contrast to things he is not afraid of in “Peter Pan,” which is the latest Movie We Watch So Frequently That Exposure To The DVD Laser Will Soon Cause The Disc To Burst Forth In Glorious Combustion, which will make him extremely displeased but probably sound really cool. (Let me amend that: We watch the first half of “Peter Pan.” And then we stop and watch it again. We are apparently only allowed to watch the first 40 minutes. Honestly, I have no idea how this movie ends. One night, after he’s asleep, at 3 a.m., I’m going to sneak into the living room and watch the end of “Peter Pan,” like a common criminal.)

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Historically accurate.

Anyway, here is a short list of things my boy is not afraid of in “Peter Pan”: Captain Hook, the ticking alligator, pirates, swordplay, fire, flying, Pan’s independent shadow and the Indian chief who sounds like Mel Brooks doing a Chief Illiniwek impression. There is a scene in which pirates threaten all manner of horrific violence on the jovial, plump Mr. Smee, including stabbing him in the gut and shooting him in the face (one pirate succeeds in getting a noose around Smee’s neck, which always is fun to explain), and needless to say, my son finds the pirate-violence scene HILARIOUS, whereas when Tinkerbell shows up and wiggles her nose, he panics and sprints outside.

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Related, sort of

• So, wait, pirates are jerks now?

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We’ve had this problem before. You know that scene in the “Lion King” in which Mufasa is killed? When Mufasa — the wise, just, patriarchal father figure — is betrayed at the hands of his brother and cast forth into a sea of stampeding wildebeests? My son thinks that scene more or less represents the zenith of comic achievement. He has actually FALLEN OFF THE COUCH LAUGHING at that scene, particularly the part where Simba rushes over to tend to his father’s freshly expired carcass, pleading for help and shouting “Somebody! Anybody!” to a deserted canyon. And my son will do the same, wandering around the living room giggling, “Somebody! Anybody!” enviably oblivious to his own father, who is generally, at this point, sobbing loudly.

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I am assured that this what doctors call “a phase,” which is the word doctors usually employ when they are trying to hurry you out of the room. I am also assured that having a healthy fear of adorable pixies at age 3 is not necessarily an indicator of, say, one’s eventual skills as a starting pitcher, professional wrestler or operator of a construction vehicle. So I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about anything yet, at least until I find out how the movie ends.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

44 responses to “Tinkerbell: Considerably more evil than you think

  • Übermilf

    He SHOULD run away from females like that. It will save him a lot of grief someday.

    Like

  • january

    Ha! That’s funny! I’m sure Jake will get over Tinkerbell. Though his ability to laugh at non-funny things (i.e. The Lion King Death scene) will only get worse. Take it from one who knows.

    When Titanic came out I sobbed in the theater. But upon watching the video for the 100th time at home, my sister and I started picking out every little thing we thought was funny and laughed through the whole movie (and there’s A LOT of funny stuff). To this day, my mom shakes her head at us.

    Like

  • Jason

    Forget Harry Potter – you just spoiled the end of The Lion King for me, you jerk. I was getting around to watching that.

    Like

    • Liza

      That is not the end of The Lion King. It is how the story starts. So maybe actually watch the film before you call somebody a jerk. Just a thought.

      Like

  • thekuan

    This makes me infinitely happy.

    Sorry, I don’t know you. We’re opening Peter Pan in my city this week, and your blog came up on a search.

    You just made about 3 people’s day today. 🙂

    Like

  • Jason

    Tinkerbell…the Bel comes from Ba’al, the detestable god of the amorites, to whom they practiced ritual child sacrifice. All angels are male and depictions of female angels are satanic. Lucifer, (from Lux-Fero, meaning light-bringer) combines the goddess of love with the god of war, thus the woman riding the beast in the book of revelation represents satan. It is no coincidence that in Beauty and The Beast the girls name is Bel. In the bible Nimrod founded Babylon, and his wife instituted ritual prostitution as part of their worship of Ba’al who is satan. Prostitution is from Pornea, where we get porn.

    Like

    • Palleas

      Belle means a ‘beautiful girl’ you dipshit. Belle is named like that because she’s a beautiful girl in France (thus ‘Beauty’ in Beauty and the Beast). And Tink is Tinkerbell because she’s a tinker fairy who sounds like a bell and ALSO is a pretty girl.

      Seriously.

      Like

  • humour

    Trs bon article, merci

    Like

  • Meow_Tse_Tongue

    Haha saw this linked on reddit and had a good laugh at work thanks!

    Like

  • Jeanne

    This is great….thanks for sharing it with us! I love all the phases kiddies go through, it certainly makes life fun.

    Like

  • mindymilburn

    After reading about the giggling and hysterical laughter during the Lion King scene I am kind of scared of your son 🙂

    But I do agree, stay away from those crazy blondes, they are way more detrimental to his health then say, a scary one handed pirate.

    Like

  • Jamie

    Tinkerbell has gotten scarier. Or more seductive and that might be scary for a 3 year old. It bothers me that any recent drawing (or should I say digital rendering ~ does anyone really draw at Disney anymore?) she looks like Betty Grable, peering over her shoulder. Only naughtier. Funny column and thanks for public opportunity to unload on Tink. Or whoever is digitally drawing her these days.

    Like

    • Jeff Vrabel

      Thanks, Jamie. In doing research (hah!) for this column, I came across the 3,500 Tinkerbell spinoffs that apparently exist these days. The Disney computer machines have been busy.

      Like

  • Thomas Stazyk

    How does he feel about the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz? She still terrifies me.

    Like

  • polywood

    It is observed that kids often get afraid from the things that are related to their domain just like a strange cartoon but they feel it charming to watch movie like ” Evil Dead”.By this post is related to very deep intellectuality.

    Like

  • wordofabe

    Man, you get some cool comments. And by cool, I mean…weird. 🙂

    The kid sounds awesome. No worries. The phase will pass—into something completely different. My seven year old is afraid of the wind. But nothing else. We are on a four-year Toy Story marathon, counting down to the release of Toy Story 3.

    Like

  • PsychoticAdvisor

    Oh! A kindred spirit! I thought I was the only one who realized how evil The Tink Vixen is. Not only is she a manipulating vengeful winged terrorist, she’s a thief! She and that wicked pickpocket Mickey! If you don’t believe me, just look at the price of tickets to Disneyland. I have a grown friend who can hardly resist buying every ridiculous, cheap, made-in-China Tinkerbell trinket she can find at outrageous markups. It’s a horrible affliction. Your son is the smart one! Pay heed to his fears! Tinkerbell is out to destroy the world.

    Like

  • jennygoth

    i was scared of the daleks and still do not like them lol tinkerbells a sweetheart tell him my fear is the tazmanian devil lol makes me dizzy hi jeff xxjen

    Like

  • SparkLife » Why the Disney Fairies Almost Make Up For the Disney Princesses

    […] I know what you’re thinking: "All_is_Mal, you hate princesses, but you like this TinkerBell?? The jealous, spiteful pixie that’s obsessed with her own reflection? The one that sells Peter […]

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  • Heather

    That was too funny! He seems like a typical boy according to all the things he likes in the movie. I’m pretty positive I was afraid of the ticking alligator and captain hook well into my teens. At least you will be using his fears wisely – as ammunition.

    Like

  • Jeff Vrabel

    IT’S AN ALLIGATOR THAT TICKS. Disney in the 40s was full of jerks, am I right?

    Like

  • hollow tree ventures

    I am constantly horrified by kids’ “phases” (and you’re so right, the use of that word in the doctor’s office is roughly translated in English to, “Well, this appointment is quickly becoming a waste of my time.”). My son laughs himself a hernia every time he watches one of those stick-figure cartoons of people shooting each other on YouTube – but his twisted sense of humor is no match for the new phase my oldest (7 year old) daughter is going through, in which she publicly tests out words like “sexy” and “boobies” with no warning. And she’s not subtle about it, either. Someone save me.

    I’m here from Finding the Funny, and I’ve started following your blog – love your writing!

    Like

    • Jeff Vrabel

      Aw, see, don’t worry about stick-figure violence; I basically spent ages 6-24 playing with GI Joe figures (it got awkward in college) and I’ve really only let myself be consumed by uncontrollable fits of violent rage a few times a year. I still can’t go back to the movie theater. They know why. Thanks for stopping by! – J.

      Like

  • Anna

    Jeff – this is awesome! We totally started watching the Lion King last weekend, and I turned it off after the first 10 minutes because I just couldn’t handle it – we didn’t even get to the part where someone dies…

    I love that your son is afraid of tinkerbell. Classic!

    Like

  • Jeff Vrabel

    Well in his defense he *used* to be afraid of Tinkerbell. Definitely still not a fan of Voldemort-on-the-back-of-that-professor’s-head in the first Harry Potter movie though. Thanks for reading!

    Like

  • Brayden: Obviously the root of all kindergarten evil « Jeff Vrabel : columnist / music writer

    […] shy kid, someone not inclined to do what you asked the first or 12th time you asked it, but one who for about two solid years was scared to death of Tinker Bell. He was not, in our estimation, a Yellow Kid. Yet I should have known something was up when I went […]

    Like

  • Unmei

    wow, the only things that scare the three and two year olds here are rain, the two year old points and says ‘look wain com me scawdy’ and the tries to get picked up.

    Like

  • "Me Likee!" Link Up - July | Stealing Faith

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  • Hannah Brown

    My brother and I had only a select few Disney films on VHS growing up: The Fox and the Hound, Snow White, Fantasia, Cinderella and The Lion King. I was terrified of the woods in Snow White; the dinosaurs in Fantasia; Cinderella bored me; the Fox and the Hound was terrifying (the bear!) and I had to leave the room every time Mufasa “went on holiday” and any time the hyenas appeared onscreen.

    Considering Disney was intended for adults, modern animations are tame in comparison, which is a shame, but I’ve since gotten over my aversion to The Lion King, and at 21 sat singing through the entire film when it was re-released!

    What is your son’s opinion of the Pink Elephants in Dumbo? The donkeys in Pinocchio? Ursula! Maleficent?

    Your description of Tinkerbell as a “six-inch-tall bioluminescent faer[y] with unexplained powers and vengeful attitudes” is spot on; and someone’s response that not only is she a “manipulating vengeful winged terrorist, she’s a thief” made me laugh.

    Now the only thing that terrifies me are the Weeping Angels.

    Like

    • Jeff Vrabel

      Ha! Thanks for reading, Hannah. We’ve not yet seen Dumbo, Pinocchio or any of the evil queens, but we did have a bit of reluctance to see the part of the fourth Harry Potter when Voldemort was reborn. Luckily, after viewing the scene from the safety of the far corner of the living room under a blanket, we deemed it Not That Scary At All. Gonna be weird to do this all again with a new one in a few years.

      Oh God what are weeping angels?

      Thanks again for reading. – J

      Like

      • tardiscat13

        Weeping angels are aliens from Doctor Who- they turn to stone when you look at them, and if you look away, they come to get you. They look like angel statues that you find in cemeteries. Trust me, they’re way scarier than they sound. 🙂

        Like

  • Updates | empire state of mom

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  • Steve

    I think every kid has something they’ve seen in a movie that scares them. For my sister, it was Almira Gulch in the Wizard of Oz. We could just sing the music used when she is riding that bike and she would run out of the room. In Tinkerbell’s defense, she is exhibiting traits that I have seen in A LOT of young girls. I grew up with four sisters. They all had tons of girlfriends. I know what I’m talking about. If you don’t think so, it’s called ‘denial’. Also in Tinkerbell’s defense, her attitude is so far down on the list of what is creepy in the movie Peter Pan that it is insignificant. A creepy dude dressed like an elf and carrying a dagger, sneaking into a bedroom to spirit away a prepubescent girl? Tinkerbell is pretty vanilla compared to that! 🙂

    Like

    • Jeff Vrabel

      Gah! You’re right! I didn’t even think about the dagger part.

      I haven’t seen the Wizard of Oz in 30 years. Still not over the green witch thing. Thanks for reading – J.

      Like

  • janestown / where naval-gazing meets the cancan

    […] Google search and I find this weird critique of TB by a writer whose kid kid finds her frightening: “You know what, son? Six-inch-tall bioluminescent faeries with unexplained powers and vengeful att…. Maybe I was a simpleton as a child, but who doesn’t like a sassy sparkly […]

    Like

  • Jeanetta Brackins

    I googled, “Tinkerbell is a jerk” and this post is exactly what I was looking for. I don’t know if it was happening yet in 2010 when you wrote this, but Disney started focusing on Tinkerbell solely as a way to sell more garbage and now little girls look up to her. She even was made a latina and african fairy friend and has her own stupid movie where she is a good person…which makes no sense. Because: “Tinkerbell is a jerk”

    Like

  • Janaina

    Wow, I’m impressed by the cemtusos you all managed to come up with using a limited selection of clothes. Kinda made me realise I’m overthinking the whole getting together a costume thing.

    Like

  • Marci

    I was terrified of Tinker Bell as a child. I had a huge crush on Peter Pan and because of this I was always afraid she’d have the lost boys try to murder me like she tried to do with Wendy. Plus, like you said, she was just a vain, mean thing!

    Like

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