Does the little girl princess craze frighten you? Frankly it scares me, and I used to be of the mindset that I wouldn’t allow my daughter to participate in this frenzy of consumerism, wands, toddler-heels, impossible waists, glitter and thin-values. So of course she took to it like bunnies on carrots. She’s only 3, but the girls at her daycare younger and older are already obsessed with princesses. On her second Birthday, one of my friends got her an Ariel play make-up kit, and she wouldn’t put it down for months. She adored pretending to dry her hair, and giving me pedicures with a pretend-plastic bottle of nail polish. On her third birthday, she got princess dress-up gowns and tiaras and she just loves dressing up. I abruptly came to the realization that I’m not going to be able to stop this-like so many things you vow never to do as a parent.. the no princesses rule went right out the window.
I didn’t want her to become obsessed with Beauty and the Beast or the Little Mermaid, because to me they were not good role models. Belle, at the beginning of the movie dreams of leaving her little town, traveling and having great adventures, only to end up marrying a guy who held her prisoner for several months and has serious anger management issues! Forget her own ambitions, she fell in love. The Twilight series has basically the same plot: hate life, fall in love with violent monster, forget dreams, have no ambitions, continue obsessing over monster. Why the cultural craze towards these weak female role models? Am I to let my daughter grow up thinking this is the best outcome in life you can hope for as a girl? I’ve heard there may be a good role-model in Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Trilogy. Has anyone read this yet? I can’t wait, but I asked for it for Christmas, so I have to-I will be sure to comment on it in the New Year.
I can’t stop her from liking princesses, dressing up or watching movies like Beauty and the Beast, in fact I enjoy those movies. I like them for the songs, music, and animation. I want my daughter to sing along to Under the Sea, and Be Our Guest, and feel the same joy I did watching Disney movies. And let’s be realistic, watching these is not going to ruin her self-esteem and future relationships (is it?…no I don’t think so…I’m going to go with no). The key once again, I think is balance, finding other movies, stories, and books with positive female role models to balance it out. Dora is a multi-lingual, intelligent, and independent little girl who spends far too much time exploring on her own…but tonight we read the story about her going to the dentist. The dental assistant was male and the dentist was female. It’s a small thing to notice, but it sets up a good example for Anjie and maybe somehow subconsciously it will send the message that she is not limited by her gender. Also, remembering that we don’t have to engender movies at her age or launch “girly” items at her from all angles. She is so into Cars right now and to her, right now, it’s not a boys movie, and cars aren’t toys for boys it’s just a movie she really likes.
I’ve also just read that there will be a new Disney Princess unveiled, named Princess Sophia who is a child princess aimed at toddlers. My first thought is they are marketing to an even younger audience to sell more swag and milk the princess craze for all it’s worth. Their defence to critics is that the show will be educational and teach lessons like how to get along with your siblings. Colour me sceptical!
More on raising girls in princess culture .