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!


  1. I totally understand not wanting "princess" stuff in your home. It really does give a false body image. One thing I've especially noticed it the change in the necklines of princess attire. If you look at the original Cinderella movie and then look at a current Cinderella poster, the neckline is at least 1 1/2" lower. That irks me to no end.
    We do have some princess stuff. Cassandra LOVES to play dress up and such. It's a hard thing to avoid. Girls just love being girls!
    So, anyways... I decided to tell Cassandra about Princess Di. I showed photos of her and told hear about all the wonderful things she did in her life. I told her that she didn't have animal friends and that she's never been held captive in a tower by a wicked Queen. She was so excited to find out that there are "Real" Princess' out there! Now, we have a new princess in our midst. I told her that Prince William is Princess Dianna's son and that Katherine's engagement ring was his mother's. She was surprised to see that modern princesses dress much like you and I...and that they don't wear a crown everyday. She now uses the phrases, "Real Princess" and "Fake Princess"...I like that. :)

    Hugs~ Pamela Farley :)

  2. I think she has princess fever and there's nothing you can do about it! lol. Awww. It's cute! But easy for me to say with all these men and no girls! :)

  3. Ugh. I feel your pain. But, just like boys have to go through some sort of violence related phase, so do girls need to go through some sort of 'princess' phase. In my experience, it's better to give in a little, they do grow out of it if better examples of real women, like your friend above pointed out, are supplied on a regular basis. My Kate loved Dora by the way. Ola! (and we learned to count in Spanish!)

  4. Give it's innate. LOL

    Just kidding. :)

    I understand your feelings; had some of the same when my first daughter was born. I even cringed when people overly complimented my girls about how pretty they were.

    Now, I just let them know that they should like what they see in the mirror as a matter of confidence; as the physical being that God created. I don't allow conceit. Besides, they're not perfect (whatever that is) anyway. lol

    The Disney thing: we ended up with the dolls, the costumes, PJs, etc. Even went to see Disney on Ice a few times, and got the Disney comforter, etc. for the bedroom after the little one begged for it.

    Now 15, almost 13, and 10, Disney is a fun memory for them. They know how sappy the whole thing was.

    I drew the line at Bratz dolls. Didn't go there.

  5. Hurray for you for paying attention to the messages mass marketing sends. My daughter did a little of the princess stuff, but not so much that it worried me, and I made sure she was getting other messages too about being smart and strong, etc. I was more worried about my son and guns, and so I forbade them and he made them out of everything he could find for awhile. But not long; the novelty wore off.

    Once I took a child psychology class and learned about kids' ability to discriminate at certain ages; they just can't do it -- e.g., they first learn to stereotype and then they learn all the many exceptions and ultimately (let's hope) no longer have to stereotype. so perhaps the princess role has something to do with that -- about learning the differences between boys and girls, and then learning being female is so much more than coquettishness.

    (and oops! i was a fairy at halloween...i didn't know they hated men! don't tell my husband.)

    In any case, it's fun to see pics of your cute kids and hear your humor again.