Remember Lucy from Peanuts? The one who always managed to convince Charlie Brown that she would hold the football for him so he could kick it? And she always pulled it away and he always fell? The one who treated everybody like dirt? Yeah. That Lucy. Lucy is a bitch.
I’ve never understood why Charlie Brown let her do that to him. I’ve never understood why he didn’t just say “no thanks” and walk away. Again and again she lied. Again and again he fell and got hurt. I’m reminded of the saying “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”.
I’ve never understood why everybody else let her talk like that to them. She bossed everybody around. She thought that her opinion was so valuable she set up a “the psychiatrist is in” stand instead of a lemonade stand like a normal kid. She made fun of Linus her brother for believing in the Great Pumpkin. So is the truth that Lucy is simply a bitch, or is it simply that everybody created this monster by not standing up to her?
Charles Schultz didn’t do anybody any favors by having this character. The audience, primarily children, wasn’t taught how to stand up to a bully. I feel there is a lot of stress in seeing how Lucy is hateful to people over and over. Children can end up feeling helpless, and learn that being bullied is normal and there is nothing you can do about it.
On Sesame Street there was a character named Snuffleupagus. Only Big Bird could see him. Everybody else thought Big Bird made him up. The creators decided to change this because they felt that it was sending the wrong message. They felt that children would feel that adults wouldn’t take them seriously. They felt that this was especially important if the child had something serious to report, such as if they were being abused. They felt that otherwise they were teaching them that their reality would get treated as a fantasy.
Sure, it is just a cartoon. Sure, it isn’t real. But children are constantly learning even when we think they are just being entertained. Why not teach them something useful for a change? Why not teach them that they don’t have to be victims, whether the abuse is coming from a peer or a parent?