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Thursday, December 6, 2012

138

Toy Guns, Barbies, Open Pill Bottles...

Andie Fox, on her failed toy gun ban:

Since that night I have been either giving up or making well-considered peace with him; I never can tell with my parenting. In my head I played with some of the moratoriums I saw other parents use: no assault rifle toys, but ninja swords and pirate muskets could be historically charming enough to be okay. I also considered the rule some parents have made about not allowing toy guns, but turning a blind eye to sticks and pieces of toast that make pew pew noises.

What was/is verboten in your home? My husband was welcome to pick off squirrels, unsupervised, with a .22 (BB guns were for babies), while my parents were so 1980s progressive that they had already figured out that some aspect of cowboys-and-Indians was inappropriate, so they bought us two cowboys-and-Indians sets and threw out the cowboy stuff, leaving us with culturally-appropriated headdresses and plastic bows and arrows. Baby steps, guys.



138 Comments / Post A Comment

frigwiggin

I can't think of much that my parents outright banned when I was a kid, mostly because I pretty much lived inside their parameters anyway. I didn't want to see rated-R movies, I didn't want to blow things up, I just wanted to sit and be quiet and read. Although my favorite movie was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and it's kind of hilarious in retrospect that my parents thought that was okay, but most of it went over my head so it wasn't a big deal?

My mom did send me to my room when she and my stepdad wanted to watch The Sopranos, though.

meetapossum

@frigwiggin I am often kind of surprised by what my parents let me watch with them. I remember laying on the floor watching Love Connection, Cops, and Married With Children.

SarahP

@meetapossum Yes! I watched a lot of sitcoms with my parents that, upon reflection, were pretty racy--but it definitely all went over my head.

meetapossum

@meetapossum As a related story, we were down at the Outer Banks one year, and the parents sent the kids downstairs so they could watch a rated R movie. OF COURSE we snuck upstairs to see what they were watching. It turned out to be The Pelican Brief. Borrrrriiiiing.

frigwiggin

@meetapossum @SarahP Haha, yeah. I definitely didn't understand what the "master of his domain" competition was about on Seinfeld until, like, three years ago.

I did get in trouble once when my best friend picked Interview With a Vampire out at Blockbuster and Dad walked in on us watching a scene with a topless chick...

hahahaha, ja.

@meetapossum: I generally wasn't allowed to watch rated R movies, but I did see "Hero" (the 1992 one) and "Under Siege" back to back when I was pretty young, and that night I had very confusing dreams about sexy ladies jumping out of cakes. A few years later, I watched a James Bond movie where a lady did a striptease, and I pretended to do my own that night in bed except I was sharing the bed with my grandma and she woke up and was all WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

In retrospect, I might have natural stripper tendencies and missed my true calling. SO LONG GRAD SCHOOL

anachronistique

@frigwiggin Yeah, I watched a lot of Mel Brooks as a weester that now I'm flabbergasted my parents let me see.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@frigwiggin My parents took me to see Top Gun in the theater when I was like five, and I was like WHAT'S WITH ALL THE GROWNUPS TALKING, ME WANT CARTOONS. My best guy friend was seven and was dying to see it because of the fighter pilots, but HIS parents thought he was too young.

katiemcgillicuddy

@frigwiggin Married With Children was NOT allowed by my mother. Always sucked when I would forget to turn the volume down and my mom would hear the Sinatra start in and yell from the kitchen to TURN IT OFF. Everything else was fine, but god she hated that one.

leonstj

@frigwiggin - When I was little, my dad would watch Bennie Hill on PBS - I think it was on at like 9PM.

I LOVED benny hill (Jesus i was a weird kid), so I would pretend to 'fall asleep' on the floor when i realized it was almost time, hoping that they wouldn't bother moving me to my room until Benny Hill ended.

I found out when I was older my parents knew I was faking it, because my idea of "what i sound like when sleeping" was making comically loud snoring sounds, like in a cartoon.

I should not have been surprised, because even though I was not allowed to watch married with children (which they enjoyed, but felt had no cultural value to a kid) I was allowed to listen to my dad's George Carlin records - my parents idea was that as long as I didn't speak that way in front of adults, and as long as the filth was intelligent filth, it would make me smarter and funnier.

I don't know if it worked, but I do know I can curse very well now.

Beatrix Kiddo

@katiemcgillicuddy I think Married with Children was the only show I wasn't allowed to watch. My parents hated it that much.

fondue with cheddar

@leon s I loved Benny Hill when I was a kid, too! My brother and I were both allowed to watch it. My parents were way less restrictive when it came to sex, and more restrictive when it came to violence. I was grounded in 8th grade for seeing Good Morning, Vietnam on a date because it was rated R. And my dad is a Marine.

the roughest toughest frail

@katiemcgillicuddy My parents hated Married with Children, too! But they let me watch The Simpsons. I remember my mother making a fuss about how disrespectful Bart was, but absolutely putting her foot down when it came to MwC.

fondue with cheddar

@abetterfate My mom loved MwC. I guess my brother and I were old enough that she wasn't worried about its corrupting influence. I was Peg for Halloween my sophomore year and my mom still talks about it.

the roughest toughest frail

@fondue with cheddar I have a feeling I would actually love it if I were to watch it today. My mom had weird reactions to things.

fondue with cheddar

@abetterfate You probably would! It had more impact in its time because you really didn't see dysfunctional families on TV, but I think it still holds up.

KeLynn

@frigwiggin I wasn't allowed to watch Married with Children either, or The Simpsons. My little brother wasn't allowed to watch Power Rangers so I had to go into my parents' room to watch that (which was double weird because I was never really allowed in there).

Faintly Macabre

@Oliver St. John Mollusc A family I babysat for in high school left Top Gun for their kids (girl around 6, boy around 9) to watch. When the sex scene came on, I stood in front of the TV, frantically trying to figure out how to stop/fast-forward the tape while the kids stared at me like I'd gone crazy. I told the parents that the movie had had a scene that was a bit inappropriate (in case the kids either told them I was crazy or started talking about it), and they absolutely did not care.

It's not as bad as the family who used to watch me after kindergarten, though--the dad sat in his recliner and watched violent action movies for hours and hours, and when my mom politely asked them to not watch them in front of me, they said they wouldn't watch me anymore. I still remember some of the movies!

BattyRabbit

@frigwiggin Rugrats? My parents didn't want me watching Rugrats. Because the Rugrats are too anti-establishment, I guess. But the movie 'Abyss' was okay.

katiemcgillicuddy

@abetterfate My mom hated the The Simpsons, too, but we were allowed to watch because my dad thought it was the best thing ever. Hell, we were encouraged to watch The Simpsons. And I guess we slowly ruined my mom over time because, while she will still say "oh, this is awful!" she thinks South Park and the Simpsons are both funny, and she thinks Always Sunny is very funny even though "oh, god, these really are awful people, I can't believe I'm watching this."

TheLetterL

@meetapossum Another one banned from "Married with Children." Also "You Can't Do That on Television." And my parents weren't exactly fans of "Full House," as the Tanner girls talked back far too much.

Decca

@frigwiggin I've told this anecdote a gazillion times, but my parents being really strict regarding movies meant that my "movie star recognition" was shockingly poor for most of my childhood: when I saw Interview With A Vampire aged twelve at a sleepover, the other girls figured out I didn't have a clue who Brad Pitt etc., were, told me the movie was a documentary, and I believed them.

Biketastrophy

The only thing that really sticks out in my mind is that my parents would let me play Doom but not Wolfenstein 3d as a kid, because killing Hell's demons was fine, but killing actual people was a no-no, even if they were nazis.

Biketastrophy

@Biketastrophy And I never got a BB gun, though I think it was more my Mom thinking I'll shoot my eye out over any sort of gun control thing since my dad owned a .22.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@Biketastrophy Haha, my dad has always been the other way around about video games - he just wanted to kill Nazis, and thought the zombie elements of Wolfenstein were the stupidest things ever. Though I think he's warming to the idea since he started watching Walking Dead...

fabel

@Biketastrophy This was basically my mom's rule for my brother (I was a "typical girl" so she didn't have to sort those things when I came around)

But yeah-- fantasy battle was okay. Real-world war play was not. This meant light-sabers= thumbs up & G.I. Joes= thumbs down. I think that's a pretty good distinction to draw, but I guess some of her anti-glorifyin/trivializing-war philosophies rubbed off on me.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Biketastrophy I mention this downthread, but yeah, I couldn't have Mortal Kombat but DOOM was totally fine. Can't kill magical ninjas, can violently kill demons from hell.

Ophelia

@katiemcgillicuddy Weirdly, the was the same for us. No "fighting" games, but somehow DOOM slipped through?? I never really got into it, though.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Ophelia It never made sense. The argument was always that Kombat had blood, but so did DOOM? I guess fake human blood is different from fake monster blood, I don't know.

notfromvenus

@katiemcgillicuddy Yeah, my mom wouldn't let us have Mortal Kombat because there was blood in it. I could see action movies with people getting stabbed, but pixelated game blood was a no-no.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Biketastrophy Yeah, exactly! Movies were different somehow? Whatever, I still played MK at my buddy's house.

Ten Thousand Buckets

Character goods. Hand me downs from older cousins were ok, but I was almost never allowed new character goods of my choosing. I was so into Ninja Turtles that I was going to be one when I grew up, but I only ever had a couple of the story books, a video game or two, and one action figure.

It makes sense if you think it was my mother's crusade against consumerism, but really she was just too cheap. Ninja Turtle bed sheets would have cost at least $5 more than regular ones, and no way was she spending extra. We weren't allowed Happy Meals for the same reason.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Ten Thousand Buckets I'm 28 and I'm still trying to figure out how to become a Ninja Turtle. Don't give up on the dream!

maxine of arc

We weren't allowed to watch GI Joe. Not for any moral reasons, but because my mother didn't approve of their bad grammar.

SarahP

My parents were (are) pretty awesome! Here are the restrictions I remember:
--No movies that the whole family couldn't watch. Not that we had to watch them as a family, but if any given family member (ie, Littlest Brother) walked in, they shouldn't be traumatized by what's on the screen. Ratings were irrelevant.
--No video games in which blood was shed. So we could play Street Fighter, but not Mortal Kombat.
--No lying on the kitchen floor.
--No talking about rabbits when in the car. (No one remembers the provenance of this rule but it was a hard and fast one.)

fondue with cheddar

@SarahP Did someone run over a rabbit once and it traumatized them?

That would have been impossible to enforce in my family because we had a Volkswagen Rabbit. ;)

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@SarahP My mom has a still-existing ban on armadillos, which only really came up when my dad went to Tijuana and saw a mandodillo for sale and she wouldn't let him buy it. I asked her why and she said "I won't have any part of an armadillo in my house."

SarahP

@fondue with cheddar Not that any of us can remember!

@Oliver St. Joyhn Mollusc ...what is a mandodillo?!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@SarahP It's a mandolin with an armadillo shell for the back! I googled it and it didn't return any results... now I'm wondering if my parents just made it up.

SarahP

@Oliver St. John Mollusc Ha, I think I understand why your mother wouldn't want one in the house, then...

hollyrancher

@Oliver St. John Mollusc There is an instrument called a charango that is traditionally built with an armadillo shell. Maybe that is what he saw?

fondue with cheddar

The daycare I went to ask a kid didn't have any guns, but they had every kind of building toy. I figured out how to make usable guns out of each type of toy (the multicolored bristle block laser pistol was my favorite) and would always make them for the other kids.

SarcasticFringehead

I think my parents tried to stay away from branded stuff, although I also don't remember being all that into much of it except for American Girl, which was more OK because it was Historic and Educational. Also, I wasn't allowed to paint my nails a color other than pink or red until middle school.

I don't remember there being much of an issue about toy guns - neither my brother nor I were very into them - but I remember some friends of ours were allowed to play with them all they wanted, as long as they didn't point them at people.

Elsajeni

@SarcasticFringehead That's funny -- red was one of the few banned nail polish colors in my household, because it was Too Sexy. (Also, no black nails except on Halloween and no French tips, and green was not forbidden but my mom did strongly advise me against it. I'm pretty sure that's just because she thought it would make me look gangrenous, though.)

SarcasticFringehead

@Elsajeni I think that my mom's reasoning was that pink and red were "natural" colors, and that blue or green would be too...edgy or something? And definitely no black. And then I hit middle school and started painting them rainbow colors, and never heard anything else about it, so who knows.

TheLetterL

@Elsajeni My mom, too! Literally ANY color but red was okay.

meetapossum

My parents were pretty lenient with most things. I can't remember anything that was expressly forbidden (apart from curse words). I do remember listening to the Good Will Hunting soundtrack and turning down the volume everytime Elliott Smith sung "situation gets fucked up."

I had a friend who wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING, though. Like, she had to wait until she was 13 to see a PG-13 movie. And she didn't rebel at all! I was always so confused by her.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@meetapossum Aww, my parents did the "turn the volume down" thing whenever there were bad words in their music. As an adult, I think it's kind of adorable.

frigwiggin

@meetapossum Hahaha! The first CD I bought myself as a teen (tween?) was Gorillaz' first album, and it was censored, but at one point my mom cruised by my room when the lyrics sound something like, "She made me kill myself," (no idea if that's what it actually says), and she poked her head in the door and was like, "...you okay?" with a funny look on her face. Still cracks me up thinking about it.

Elsajeni

@meetapossum Ooh, this reminded me of the time I made the SERIOUS mistake of letting my mom hear the lyrics to You Oughta Know. Apparently references to going down on someone in a theater are banned in her household, even if the person singing along with them is like eleven and doesn't have the faintest idea what that means.

meetapossum

@meetapossum *sang. Language fail.

In retrospect, I don't really think my parents would have cared that much if hey had heard it. And really, wasn't the music drastically changing volumes for a second much more obvious?

killer_queen

@meetapossum My mom would try to do the "turn down the radio when there's cursing" thing when "Bitch" came on. In the car. Things got...dicey.

bitchycrosstownexpress

@killer_queen My dad was a Jimmy Buffet fan, and had a greatest hits tape that he used to play on long car trips. There was always one song that he fast forwarded through - he got so good at it that he could get perfectly through the entire song only hitting the button once. I was in my twenties before I finally figured out that we weren't allowed to hear "Why Don't We Get Drunk And Screw."

SarahP

@meetapossum This reminds me of how when my sister put on her Oasis tape on family road trips, my father said that if we wanted to sing along to "Champagne Supernova," we had to sing the lyric as "where were you while we were getting PIE?"

Which, you know, I actually like better anyway.

KeLynn

@meetapossum - Well, now I feel like a wuss because I didn't watch PG-13 movies until I was 13, either, and I never really questioned it.

Also my aunt gave me a Spice Girls tape, which my mom stole and hid a few weeks later. She swore up and down that she didn't, even though I KNEW SHE DID and was so mad. And when they were moving a few years ago, she found it in her closet and gave it back to me. I KNEW IT. I'm still not entirely sure what was on it that she disliked. This calls for listening to the whole album tonight, I think.

killer_queen

@bitchycrosstownexpress AH! That song! My uncles were entertaining on Mothers Day with their CD player (remember those?) on shuffle, and what should come up but "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw." I think enough alcohol had been consumed at that point for it to be mostly funny, but there was at least a little pearl clutching.

Baby Fish Mouth

@Elsajeni I remember a family trip to Best Buy where my sister bought the The Offspring's Smash. I remember my dad asking to see the lyric book that usually came with CDs and I thought for sure she was going to be in trouble. While handing it back he asked her if The Offspring was a Christian band. I still can't understand how he came up with that.

Marquise de Morville

@KeLynn Don't feel like a wuss. In highschool we went on a class outing to see a PG-16 movie (Once We Were Warriors). Something I would have not picked on my own (I still mostly prefer PG rated movies), and there was a pretty graphic incest rape scene in it.

The Lady of Shalott

I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was twelve, or wear makeup until fourteen and in high school. And as a kid, my parents were happy for me to spend as much time in the library as I cared to, but I wasn't allowed to have video games.

Now I have multiple piercings in my ears, a tattoo, a huge makeup collection, and a boyfriend who spent three hours playing Medal of Honor last night. Things even out.

Springtime for Voldemort

@The Lady of Shalott My parents restricted a lot of books and movies that they thought were too sexy. And then, at age 11, I started reading bdsm fanfics, and now take lots of classes that have the word "sexuality" in the title.

anachronistique

My parents tried to enforce a Barbie ban. When I was three and was given a teddy bear, I named it Barbie. And then I won a gift certificate in a raffle and bought my own damn Barbies, mwa ha ha.

Bittersweet

@anachronistique My sister and I weren't allowed to get Barbies either, because my mom thought they were anti-feminist, so we only got to play with them at friends' houses. My daughter got a Barbie a few years ago from a friend...and then cut off its hair and drew all over its face.

My mom also wouldn't let me buy black clothes because it was too "sophisticated" a color for a young girl.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

My mom tried to ban toy guns until the day my brother famously bit his toast into the shape of a gun and started shooting everyone at the table with it. After that we went crazy with the water pistols. Also no TV shows in which kids were disrespectful to grownups (so no Simpsons, Salute Your Shorts, or Clarissa Explains it All), but shows with no kids at all and grownups doing VERY grown-up things were OK? We were never shooed out of the room for Cheers or Twin Peaks. My favorite is that PG-13 movies weren't banned until I was ALMOST 13. Can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, guys.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Oliver St. John Mollusc I'm 30 years old and was just terrified by Twin Peaks within the last year. I can't even imagine the nightmares I would have had if I'd watched it as a child!

SarahP

@Oliver St. John Mollusc I had a friend who wasn't allowed to watch the Little Mermaid because Ariel disobeyed her father all the time.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@SarahP Haahaha that is totally something my mom would do!

Ten Thousand Buckets

I should add: I know a little boy who isn't allowed chocolate. He's simply convinced that little boys cannot eat chocolate, full stop. I bet if we offered him some he'd refuse and then go tell on us.

Megasus

@Ten Thousand Buckets Aw, my little cousins don't eat chocolate, but my aunt is so allergic they can't have it in the house.

Heat Signature

@Ten Thousand Buckets Funny story: I wasn't allowed to have chocolate as a child because I had the asthma and was allergic. My step-sisters and I went for a walk to the corner store (I and one of my steps were 11, my other step-sister was 13). Both were sneaking cigarettes, and I said to them, "Promise you won't tell my mom if I have some chocolate?".

martinipie

My mother had dreams of a gender-neutral Scandi child with only wooden toys, denim overalls, and an androgynous bob. Then I showed up and before even being socialized into anything, all I wanted was PINK SPARKLY GLITTER YES MOAR GLITTER YAYYYY! But I also had Batman slippers, lunchbox, and sheets?

OneTooManySpoons

@martinipie Yes! My mom wasn't quite so intense in her efforts, but she says she really wanted us to have gender-neutral toys, or at least give both of us (my brother and me) the same amount of trucks, dolls, whatever. Every month she'd get these toys from a special catalogue designed for that purpose. But then every month, without fail, I'd be like, "GIVE ME PINK GIVE ME DOLLS GIVE ME DRESS-UP CLOTHES," and my brother would grab the cars and crash them into each other, and we'd both ignore the "other gender" toys.

However, he had a pink and purple Big Wheels tricycle that he'd begged for, and I had a lot of Ninja Turtles stuff, so I guess that's something.

cuminafterall

I'm the oldest of 5 siblings over an 11-year age range, so many household rules stayed in force long after they made sense (for me, anyway). Such as the bans on MTV and The Simpsons, which were still going strong when I graduated high school.

My parents were also way cooler with violence than with sex, so I was allowed to read my dad's Tom Clancy and Nelson DeMille books while my mom's Nora Roberts collection was strictly off-limits. Of course, all this meant was that I got to read plenty of crazy conservative rhetoric-- in one of the Tom Clancy novels, the hero becomes President and institutes a flat 10% income tax. Even in 8th grade I knew that shit was messed up.

Megasus

The only things that were ever banned in my house growing up were: Power Rangers (we weren't supposed to watch it after that kid got kicked out a window or whatever, but we did anyway because my Dad wasn't usually home when it was on anyway), and then in high school they tried to limit our internet time to an hour or an hour and a half or something, but we managed to find a work around for the program that monitored us in about a day. OH and I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was like 12, though getting a perm for my 10th birthday was OK.

yeah-elle

I was a PBS-only kid. That was the only point of contention, really. I wanted to watch Saturday morning cartoons, and Friends. When I was about 10 or 11 or so, they became a bit more lenient with that. Most of the things that my parents banned, we weren't interested in anyways—Barbies, action figures, video games. Most of the restrictions in my house were because of my mother's own preferences. Like, I didn't get to watch R-rated movies, but she would never have watched one herself.

Nicole's cowboys-and-indians story reminds me—in 3rd grade, we had to dress up as someone for a biography report. I chose to do George Washington Carver (?? I do not remember my reasoning, except that I think I found crop-rotation oddly fascinating) and I am so, so relieved that my mom didn't put me in blackface. That would have been baaaaad. She did think it was "cute" that I chose to be a black man, though. Ehhhhh.

Ophelia

@yeah-elle Samesies. I did eventually somehow get a barbie, but my little sister immediately gave her a "haircut" and after that she languished at the bottom of the toy box.

When I was about 8, I REALLY wanted one of those uber-lifelike baby dolls. My mom went to Toys R Us, and they had run out of white babies, so she brought home a black doll, and told me that it was either adopted or mixed race, whichever floated my boat. Good job, mom!

yeah-elle

@Ophelia My mom loves to tell the story of how at my 6th or 7th birthday party, someone gave me a Barbie, and I was so uninterested in it that eventually she just gave it to Goodwill, unopened. I'm not sure how true this is, I suspect that maybe my mom just squirreled it away to give to Goodwill either way, haha.

Springtime for Voldemort

Everything.

-The Simpsons, Fraggle Rock and The Muppets, all tv with real people except Full House when I was 10, Star Trek Voyager when I was 11, and then for reasons I'm still not able to figure out, Dawson's Creek when I was 12. All R-rated movies, and PG-13 movies unless the specific movie had been exempted (which it usually wasn't.) Seasame Street and Barney were always ok, though.

-Video games, with an exception for ones that taught you to type, and Oregon Trail (both I and II).

-Guns, including ones made out of toast.

-Music videos.

-Eating food anywhere but at the kitchen table, or, during holidays, the dining room table.

-Toys that were the wrong kind of girly. Barbies, Pretty Pretty Princess, red nail polish, no. American Girls, Fischer Price kitchen and washer/dryer combos, mauve nail polish, yes.

-Pop rocks.

meetapossum

@Springtime for Voldemort Fraggle Rock???

Springtime for Voldemort

@meetapossum Yeah, my mom was worried that it was too fun, and I'd want to watch more tv than the half an hour, hour that I was allotted per day.

meetapossum

@Springtime for Voldemort Ok, that is a reasonable ban. Your mom was right because that show was really awesome.

VolcanoMouse

My mom banned realistic toy guns-- I don't know if this was out of any particular anti-gun sentiment or out of some misguided paranoid? She was convinced that Kids Wielding Realistic Guns Would Point Them at Cops and Get Shot. Is that a real thing, or just the sort of urban legend specifically crafted for moms?

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@VolcanoMouse
Yep, that's real. If you're black, it extends to cell phones and wallets!

Valley Girl

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll You beat me to it!

@VolcanoMouse It was definitely a thing! At least, there was this big scare in the 80s/90s about cops accidentally killing kids for holding, like, Super Soakers. In hindsight there's definitely a little bit of a racial/class angle to the whole story since it was only the idea of White suburban kids experiencing police violence that caused such breathless fear.

OneTooManySpoons

My mom didn't ban it, but she didn't like us watching Home Alone because of the way Kevin talks to his mom (rude, and swearing). She'd let us watch it, but it was always accompanied by a lecture on Smart Mouths.

katiemcgillicuddy

My dad refused to buy us Mortal Kombat for Sega (my mom bought it for us more than once and he made her return it). Which is just annoying now, seeing as by the time my youngest brother was old enough to want to play incredibly violent, first-person shooter games, neither my dad or my mom refused, BUT! When I was 24, for Christmas my mom bought me one of those plug-directly-into-the-tv, joystick deals of - wait for it - Mortal Kombat. FATALITY.

They also had no problem with us watching, Earth Girls Are Easy about 6 million times, so, consider their judgment with a grain of salt. (Earth Girls Are Easy is one of the greatest movies of all time).

katiemcgillicuddy

@katiemcgillicuddy Come to think of it, my dad also excitedly brought me to see Jurassic Park when I was eight and my brother was six. I also have a very intense memory of the time my dad had IT on TV in the background, and my three-year-old self sat and watched it for a few minutes, MUCH TO MY HORROR. So many things are suddenly making sense for me now.

iceberg

@katiemcgillicuddy My dad took me to see Working Girl with Melanie Griffith. Considering the title you'd think he might have figured out it was not appropriate for a young'un... I still have Feelings about Harrison Ford.

sunfastrose

@katiemcgillicuddy Someone else understands the joy of Earth Girls are Easy? My day is complete. Or at least my younger self's day is complete.

katiemcgillicuddy

@sunfastrose I'm not kidding, it's one of my favorite movies EVER. We used to watch it like, twice a night (on BetaMax? Which, I still am confused by cause were talking like, mid to late 90's) when we were at the beach as kids (way out in the boondocks of the Chesapeake so there was no TV reception). I still know all the words to "Cause I'm a Blonde".

So, basically you and I are automatic friends.

Heat Signature

My mom's big thing was horror movies and R rated movies, which has resulted in a life-long aversion to anything remotely frightening. Also the Simpsons, because she didn't like Bart's disrespectful treatment of his parents. MTV was also verboten, but my cousin and I would sneak-watch it when my grandmother left the house (she was the only one in our family at the time who had cable).

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Heat Signature Are you me? These are exactly the same things that were forbidden in our house. And my grandmother had MTV so my brother and I would binge on it whenever we went to visit.

Reginal T. Squirge

"I have been either giving up or making well-considered peace... I never can tell..."

I know how you feel.

Slutface

My parents only banned makeup and New Kids On The Block.

schrodingers_cat

We didn't have a TV in the house growing up, so there was no need to ban TV shows or movies. I can't remember any specific type of toys being banned (water guns were definitely ok, but my sister and I never asked for other types of toy guns).
We weren't allowed to have our ears pierced until we were 13, and that's the only personal appearance rule I remember.

iceberg

@schrodingers_cat Oh yes I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears until 12, and CLEAR mascara only, no eyeshadow, and tinted lip gloss at most, no lipstick, until I was like 16?

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears until 16!

schrodingers_cat

@fondue with cheddar It was so frustrating to me at around age 11 or 12, because I went to school with all these girls whose ears had been pierced since 5 or whatever. And then once I got my ears pierced I didn't care very much. But good to know that I wasn't the only one whose parents didn't automatically have their daughter's ears pierced at a young age

fondue with cheddar

@schrodingers_cat My next-door neighbors pierced their daughter's ears when she was a baby! I didn't understand how it could be okay for her but not for me. It was extremely frustrating! Especially when you get cool earrings as gifts from people who just assumed your ears were pierced.

I didn't care much by the time I got mine pierced, either. When one of my holes got infected and closed up a couple years later, I never got it repierced. I wore one earring for awhile in college, but eventually I let that one close up, too.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

Sort of unrelated, but this reminds me of how my brother and I would argue every day on the way home from preschool about whether we were going to watch Sesame Street or the Dukes of Hazzard when we got home. Clearly TV bans had not occurred to my parents at that point.

fondue with cheddar

@Oliver St. John Mollusc The Dukes! Thanks for mentioning something that didn't come out when I was in high school or college. ;)

I was in looooove with Bo Duke when I was little.

iceberg

Oh! I wans't allowed to watch Beverly Hills 90210 or Melrose Place because they were "too sexy" - I was in like 5th or 6th grade when 90210 started. I don't think any type of toys were ever banned though.

Ophelia

@iceberg Hah. I remember sneak-watching 90210 in my friend's basement while all the parents were upstairs. I think it was the utterly scandalous prom episode where Dylan and Kelly have sex (or just talk a lot about it? memory unclear.).

Chrestomanci

@iceberg Ohh I wasn't allowed to watch 90210 either even though everyone else at school was (at the age of 10 or 11).

The other show my parents banned was Shortland Street (a NZ soap opera), but I think that might have just been because they thought it was rubbish television. So missing out on those two shows made half the playground conversations incomprehensible to me.

bitchycrosstownexpress

Because I was the first child of a young and idealistic mother, I was not allowed to have Strawberry Shortcake anything, because my Mom hated that the cartoon was "just a commercial for the toys." Of course, by the time she had three children she sacrificed her scruples for the relative peace bought from letting my little brothers get up to their necks in He-Man and Ninja Turtles figures.

She stuck to her guns on the Simpsons, though. The problem there was that she didn't approve of all the toys marketed at younger kids when the show wasn't appropriate for them. So we weren't allowed to watch it until my youngest brother was 12 (which means I was 16). By that time it was on syndication 10 times a day -- my brother immediately turned into a Simpsons junkie and now the entire family (including my mother), peppers our conversation with Simpsons quotes. (But she still maintains she was right to make us wait, and I can't say I disagree with her - though I will certainly be trying to find a way around not letting my oldest child do something because younger siblings aren't old enough.)

harebell

my parents didn't ban things, exactly, but my dad was quite upset when he caught me reading The Way of All Flesh as a pre-teen. that is a potent book!

MilesofMountains

My parents were weird about swearing. 'Fuck' and 'bitch' were fine, even directed at them, but I got in so much trouble for calling my brother and know and 'douche' is still a banned word.

the roughest toughest frail

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup or nail polish until I was about 15 or 16, nor was I allowed to wear tank tops. My dad still gives me shit about these things, and I haven't lived in his house for nearly a decade. I also wasn't allowed Hostess product as a kid. I remember seeing commercials that made the cupcakes look soooo good and my mother telling me I couldn't have them because they had alcohol in them.

On the other hand, my dad would watch movies like Cujo and Fatal Attraction with me in the room and just tell me to cover my eyes when something wildly inappropriate would come on screen. Oh, and one my cousins thought it would be hilarious to give me an R. Kelly CD when I was like, 8, and my parents let me listen to it regularly.

KeLynn

@abetterfate My parents had a lot of rules about appearance but I wish that they would have further explained how to dress myself to their standards. For example, they gave me this huge makeup kit for Christmas one year when I was about 13. I promptly covered my whole eyelid with black eyeshadow and my mom made me wash it off every time. But I was never told how exactly to wield black eyeshadow, but they had given it to me, so I just kept doing it and kept getting in trouble. Or when I was trying to go somewhere in 7th grade in a tank top (that my parents bought me) with my bra straps out, and my dad told me that I couldn't walk around outside with my underwear hanging out, but no one told me that something like a strapless bra existed. So now I just had this shirt I wasn't allowed to wear anywhere? There are a lot more rules (or outfit-specific bans) that I remember that were entirely confusing or contradicting.

the roughest toughest frail

@KeLynn My folks had really contradictory reasons for all the weird rules and bans. My mom bought me a tank top once and my dad was the one who decreed that I could not wear such a scandalous item outside. I mentioned this upthread, but my mom wouldn't let me watch Married with Children, but my dad let me watch Cujo? My childhood was a weird place, let me tell you.

The makeup/nail polish ban was part of my elementary school uniform, so that was pretty obviously easy to enforce. My dad's much older and very conservative, so he really believes that I shouldn't wear dark nail polish or heavy eye makeup because it isn't ladylike.

KeLynn

@abetterfate ha! My dad doesn't like makeup either. Or pierced ears, or dyed hair, or anything that isn't "how God made you." I appreciate that he didn't outright ban those things, although he has made plenty of comments. Thankfully, now that I'm grown up the comments are more about what he DOES like than what he doesn't. I mean, when I was a teenager he would say "I really don't like that makeup/hair color on you" but now, he will wait until I change it and say "wow, I really like you with less makeup/hair closer to your natural color." I didn't actually realize the switch had happened until I started reading this. Off to go hunt my dad down and hug him!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

We weren't allowed to have realistic toy guns or weapons, and my mom outlawed any sort of fighting or killing video game. No Simpsons, no Nickelodeon (I don't know why on that one), and no swearing. My mom still shouts out "BAD WORD" when someone cusses in a movie, even though all of her children are old enough to legally drink alcohol at this point.

Decca

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Sounds like a fun drinking game.

fondue with cheddar

When my mom took me shopping for my 8th grade graduation dress, we found this beautiful peach taffeta strapless dress with some kind of sparkly white applique on the front. It was amazing. But when I brought it home, my dad said no because it was strapless. So we went back to the mall and I ended up with this pink dress with a zigzaggy hem. I liked it, but I didn't LOVE it like the other one. As it turned out, there were four other girls wearing the exact same dress, two black, one white, and of course one pink one just like mine. ALL THE SADZ

wearitcounts

@fondue with cheddar i kind of have the opposite story. when i went shopping for my bat mitzvah dress my mom wouldn't let me wear the enormous, sparkly, poufy bridal-type dresses that were ALL THE RAGE with the bat mitzvah set because my parents have always had classic, minimalist taste. so i wore a little jackie kennedy-style a-line dress and jacket set that looked really adorable and 15 years later i am still thanking her because GOOD LORD what fun my family would have been able to have with an entire photo album full of me dressed as an overfrosted cupcake.

fondue with cheddar

@wearitcounts Haha. Yeah, you definitely dodged a bullet there. You must be around the same age as me, because there was a lot of poofiness going on at that age. So many short, balloon skirts.

adorable-eggplant

My brother made a big push for getting a G.I. Joe when he was about 11 and my folks caved, but with the caveat that he had to learn that war was about real people and that it wreaked havoc in real people's lives. He had to watch the evening news with them (Desert Storm and it's lead up happened around that time) and then talk about consequences and stuff. I could've probably gotten a Barbie by a similar ploy (my parents were big on the 'if you want it enough, write us an essay' method) but I didn't really want it enough. And now I've got a healthy body image and my brother has an abhorrence for war and respect for veterans, so I guess lesson learned parents, lesson learned.

flanhoodles

@adorable-eggplant One summer, my dad got a laser pointer, and he wouldn't let me play with it until I wrote a report about lasers.

Faintly Macabre

My parents were pretty easy on toys/activities, I guess because my sister and I were mostly goody-two-shoeses. The only toes I remember not having were video games (waste of money, why sit in front of a screen when you could be outside?) and non-educational computer games. I was allowed to have a huge water gun collection, water balloon fights, and knives (for pretending to whittle and camp in the yard!) from a young age.

On the other hand, we never kept soda in the house, and until I was in middle school, the only cookies we had were weird healthy ones my mom made and Snackwells. We had to ask our mom if we were allowed desserts and sodas at parties. My mom's siblings said that she'd make us obsessed with junk food when we were older. Which has finally been proven false, as I only really indulge in cookies/chocolate on a mostly-healthy diet, and one of my cousins named her kid after Kraft mac n cheese.

Ophelia

@Faintly Macabre We had these epic summer-long supersoaker battles that were truly awesome; I'm not a fan of, like, toy assault rifles, but my kids will definitely have squirt guns.

Is the kid named Kraft, Mac, or n'Cheese?

adorable-eggplant

@Ophelia Is it weird that I thought, "Oh Mac, that's a nice name." I do eat mac n cheese at least 3 times a week.

Faintly Macabre

@Ophelia Variation of Mac!

I think squirt guns are a bit different from other toy guns because there's not as much pretending to kill/maim people. I remember my mom got really angry when she chaperoned a field trip to some law enforcement place and a kid started pointing part of a cop's empty Glock that was being passed around at people. Though I used to shoot our dog with my supersoaker--I think she liked it and considered it a magic drinking fountain, but my sister claimed I was some Bad Seed dog abuser.

adorable-eggplant

@Faintly Macabre I am so tempted to borrow that (for my imaginary hypothetical child) but then I'm worried it would backfire and they would hate Mac n Cheese and I'd have to disown them on principle.

Imaginary scenario: "Mac (Maque/Mack), you don't like that fried mac n cheese ball??? Get out of my house! Forever."

Trixie Firecracker

I remember I used to play in front of the TV while my mom watched "her stories" and when I put my dolls down, pointed at one of the characters, and declared "I know what he is! He's a... a bastard!" she just laughed (while looking kind of horrified). But to her credit, she didn't let me watch South Park with the rest of the family until I was in junior high.

polka dots vs stripes

I couldn't watch any TV with commercials, a ban that was technically never lifted. PG13 movies when I turned 13 (I couldn't see Titanic at 12 even though I was obsessed with it), R rated ones at 17. Definitely no video games (although that might have been a money issue, not a violence/get outside and play issue).

I didn't bother with a lot of pop culture stuff generally as a kid, because my mom tried to have "conversations" with us that were not subtle and generally not worth it. She asked about the Backstreet Boys' "Black and Blue" album, "Is it called that because they beat their wives?" No, ma. I still don't listen to pop radio stations for the most part.

Ophelia

I wasn't allowed to watch PG-13 movies until I was actually 13, but I remember once for some reason we all watched "Gung-Ho," which is the most boring movie ever, about a car factory? Whatever it was, I was convinced for years that anything with a rating higher than PG simply wasn't worth my time.

BattyRabbit

I remember my mom telling me I wasn't allowed to use the word 'idiot,' and when I asked her 'What about if I'm doing an impression of Ren from Ren and Stimpy?' she said that was okay.

Miss Maszkerádi

My parents never actually banned anything, they just did a really good job having "conversations" with me about those terrible things all the other kids got to play with. Mom to five-year-old me: "So, do you think Barbie looks anything like a real woman? Do you think it's a good idea that real girls play with something so fake and plastic? Do you think girls should be made to feel like they have to be white, skinny and blonde with huge breasts? You're too smart for Barbies, right? What do you think of those other girls who only play with plastic dolls and have no imaginations?" (This may be slightly less subtle a transcription than the conversations actually were, but I was five.) Mom to eleven-year-old me when I and all the other kids on the block got obsessed with Pokemon: "So, have you heard about this new "Pokemon" thing? Did you read that article in Newsweek about the kids who are getting into fights over their cards, and skipping school to play games? What do you think about that? What do you think about the fact that this whole franchise is just a commercial money-making machine? What do you think about the way it's all about making animals fight each other?" Mom to fourteen-year-old me: "So, those other girls who are talking about makeup and boys and hair all the time are really silly, aren't they? Don't you think they're being silly how they're just pretending to be grownups and practicing having crushes on boys?" Mom to seventeen-year-old me: "Have you heard about this new "Facebook" thing? You don't have any social networking profiles, do you?"

Yeah, eight-year-old me pulled off a spectacular neighborhood black-market deal and procured several used Barbies with my own hoarded allowance money, eleven-year-old me was playing all manner of Pokemon games (both electronic and make-believe) with the other kids from the moment everyone got home from school till the streetlights came on, fourteen-year-old me just learned how to repress her crushes to the point where I STILL am convinced relationships are for Other People, and seventeen-year-old me had been on Facebook for a few months when my mom gave me that knowing look and said "I know those other losers are all obsessed with this destructive new fad, but YOU don't do that, right?"

OK, the more I look back on my childhood the weirder it looks.

BadWolf

Oh, man. I have mentioned here before that I was raised Orthodox Jewish, so as you might imagine, pretty much everything was forbidden. But apart from candy with gelatin, cheeseburgers, Christmas, Palestine, and turning on the lights between sundown on Friday and nightfall on Saturday, we were also not permitted:
- Almost anything on television, but especially MTV in any form, "The Simpsons," "My So-Called Life," "Married with Children," "Full House," and "South Park";
- Popular radio, which at the time meant my mother had it in for Alanis Morissette, Green Day, and Nirvana, especially; I got grounded for listening to Cypress Hill's "Throw Your Hands in the Air";
- Hip-hop;
- Guns, swords, Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, video games;
- This one book I desperately wanted to read, called "A Promise to Keep," which, if I remember correctly, was about a girl with a crush on a boy in the Hitler youth (I don't know why we had that);
- Any clothing my mother thought too "skimpy"---this is probably the worst; I grew up to blame a lot of my body image malfunctions on the fact that my mother bought most of my clothes a size or two up, not so that I could grow into them, but so that they would obscure my body as much as possible. I grew up thinking I was always the most gigantic person in any room.

We were, however, allowed frequent access to appalling sugary cereals, and pretty much no one monitored what books we read, which was very, very nice. And I watched lots of soap operas with my grandmother, and my grandfather gave me M&Ms before they were kosher, so I turned out okay.

Miss Maszkerádi

@BadWolf I was raised completely secular by nice liberal parents, and my mom was ALWAYS buying me clothes at least one or two sizes too big. She always said stuff like how uncomfortable tight clothes were, how I wouldn't be able to move, etc. I just felt ridiculous as I flopped around in size large T-shirts at less than five feet tall, not comfortable. I still feel a slight frisson of rebellion whenever I wear a tight shirt. LOOK, mom who completely unintentionally gave me Issues About My Female Form, I have BOOBS.

Decca

My parents were moderately strict on some stuff that annoyed me when I was ten and that now I completely agree with. My sister and I weren't allowed have a lot of big brand-name clothes if the company in question were known to use sweatshops, but we were told the reasons for this ban and it was always clear that when we had our own money we could chose to spend it on whatever unethical products we wanted. We owned a Monopoly set, but my parents weren't fans of it because Capitalism. Growing up in a house of girls, toy guns weren't really an issue, but once on holidays I found a toy pistol and started to play with it: my dad asked me not to, cause he was uncomfortable with the trivialisation of gun culture. They also tended to adhere to age-restrictions on movies.

All that said, we were encouraged to read anything we could get our hands on - if I was capable of reading it, I was allowed to. And, thankfully, unlike many of my friends' parents, they loved The Simpsons and we watched it all together as a family.

Overall, I think they picked their battles wisely.

mich

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mustelid

Whenever anything sexy happened in a movie/TV show, my dad would yell, "What is this garbage??" and change the channel for a few minutes. He probably still does that.

One thing that seems commonly banned is makeup, and shockingly my dad never banned that? My parents were divorced and we lived with my dad, so we couldn't pinch makeup from our mom. It was only whatever horrible shit we could afford to buy from Claire's with our allowance.

And what do you know, I grew up to, as someone upthread said, "take a lot of classes with the world sexuality in the title." And as an adult I almost never wear makeup.

Cap Guns@facebook

Toy guns were never an issue growing up for me. I viewed them more like a right of passage than anything.

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