Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Die Princess, Die!
The Disney princesses will, if you let them, swallow your life, and regurgitate Chinese-sewn polyester costumes, Cinderella home decor, and low self-esteem. That is why, when I was pregnant with Catherine, my first and only daughter, I issued an edict from on high. There would be no princess crap.
Two and a half year later, that edict has not been broken. Mostly. There was one pair of pajamas bearing a frog princess which sneaked in. And her Grandma gave her a tiara with a flowing veil for Christmas. I considered this more of a dress up item, (and it was just adorable), so it slid in too. Until Catie woke up with a yard of tulle wrapped around her neck. Twice. It has, sadly, been put up, and only gets to make guest appearances for now.
But, my edict, and the resolve with which it was issued, are quivering under the weight of the Disney marketing machine and my daughter's unrelenting cuteness.
My mother gave, also for Christmas, bed tents with Disney characters on them. In a valiant and much appreciated (though ultimately futile) attempt to keep princesses out of my house, she gave Catie one with Tinkerbell and friends. No harm in that, right?
Catie calls them "princess" anyway! "My princess bed. My princess pillow." Where did she even learn the word princess?
My ban was meant to avoid unintentionally sending the message that beauty is a girl's only value and catching a man her only needed skill. It was meant to keep advertisers from turning my own daughter against me, because I did not want to spend money, or my aesthetic integrity, on Beauty and the Beast sheets. My ban should have been extended to fairies too.
Fairies, it seems, are the new princesses. But with wings. More makeup and fewer clothes. And, instead of waiting around for a strong, lantern-jawed man to save then (which is nice), they have done away with men all together (not nice). Tiny waisted, man-hating tarts! Not, not nice.
And marketing, is marketing.
A few weeks ago we were in an unfamiliar market. One where I did not know, instinctively, which aisles to avoid for fear of arousing my children's lust for sugar and artificial food coloring. As we zipped down the "fruit snack" aisle, we passed a box of artificially flavored gummy pieces in a box bearing the faces of the Disney fairies. Catie saw that box blur by, and started to squeal. "Mine. Mine. Have it! Have it!" She did not even know what "it" was, but boy was she mad at me for not stopping to buy it.
I think it is time to introduce her to "Dora, the Explorer." Hola!