Friday, May 7, 2010

Princesses are.... bad?!

It seems like every journal, newspaper editorial, or anything else I've come across lately has nothing better to do than malign the "princess craze" that every toddler is into. From bashing the Princess and the Frog to some woman bitching about someone at the grocery store saying, "hey princess" to her little girl, I just feel like I've had enough. Seriously, get over it.

Of course I understand that some parents are concerned about the princess craze- it's teaching my child a horrible gender identity, it's teaching my child that she has to be skinny with a big head, it's teaching my child...blahblahblahblah.

Okay, I know this is really mean of me, and I should know better, but I feel the need to remind a few people...


You don't want your kids to watch princesses or be princesses, tell them no. End of story. That's the great thing about parenthood. When they are that young it is as easy as going to the television set and clicking the "off" button. That's what it's there for.

But honestly- I don't see the harm. I grew up watching princess films- I also took ballet and had big poofy dresses and got to wear lipstick and be in pageants. Did it give me a bad outlook on my gender role or on how I should look? Nope. Being a teenager did that almost completely by itself. You want to blame someone? Blame it on the seventeen magazine you get for your thirteen year old daughter that has twenty or so articles on how to cut calories and the rest on what you SHOULD be wearing to look sexy. Yep. I said it, SEXY. You can find that word in seventeen magazine A LOT.

But instead of blaming it on the media, why not take a little initiative? When you are putting on make-up and turning your hair colors it wasn't meant to be, don't tell your child that looks don't matter. Because that's kind of hypocritical. Instead of being scared because your daughter wants to wear pink, and oh my god that "isn't a gender neutral color"- remind yourself that it is just a color. We got lots of 'em.

I just think some people are going way overboard. And keep in mind I say SOME people. Many people do have valid points about the films and toys available for little girls. The people I'm mentioning are the fanatics who seem to go in an entirely to severe direction with it. I mean yes, the early Disney films, women were idiots waiting on the prince to ride his white horse and save them (e.g. Snow White). But later on we get Alladin- where Jasmine is the princess and he's just a homeless man, Meg (Hercules) who is vivaciously proud of her femininity but strong enough to stand up to the God Hades and lose her life for what's right, Mulan, the woman who saves China, and Tiana- the hardworking waitress who takes care of herself in the 1920's New Orleans (The Princess and the Frog).

And even if princesses are bad role models, which I disagree with- take a walk down the toy isle. If it's not princesses it's little baby dolls that pee, play stoves and kitchen sinks, tea sets, and a myriad of other things that look an awful lot like training your little girl to be a housewife with eight babies. And I haven't found a fat barbie doll yet- but I look every time we go.

I must also mention this- they are CARTOONS. If cartoons were realistic, I am pretty sure my little girl wouldn't want to watch them. They are meant to be out of this world fanciful beautifully illustrated glittery images of wonder.

My little girl watches princess movies. You know what? She doesn't even like pink. Her favorite color is yellow. She doesn't care about the prince, she just likes the singing and the slapstick humor. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and she told me she doesn't want kids- she said I could have more and then she could just play with them. She is learning to cook from her step dad because that's what he does for a living. She doesn't like makeup, but she loves painting her fingernails because she likes the way they look when they are painted- she said it makes them look bloody (A little disturbing, but hey it's not gender biased now is it?). Overall I don't think my three year old is going through a gender identity crisis- I think she's a pretty normal little girl, bloody nails aside, with a piqued imagination and a joy found in watching an alternate reality made in animated film.

And really if there is one thing I'd want my daughter to learn from princess movies- it's this- be kind, be compassionate, believe in yourself, and it's okay to want things and go for them. Because I haven't found a princess movie yet that doesn't have that criteria. And if she wants to wear makeup and dye her hair so be it- but I'll teach her the same things my mom taught me- makeup isn't to impress boys or fill a gender role. It's something you put on because you want to be a little artistic with the canvas that god gave you. And hair dye is permanent. Real permanent. So if some gets on your face, you'll look like you have sideburns for weeks.

On another note, what do you think? Do you think it's bad that little girls watch Disney Princess films? Do you think that it gives them a bad example of a gender role?

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