Wednesday, April 18, 2012
P is for Princess
1] Even after reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter, I don't mind the whole Disney Princess phenomenon.
2] I love pink and dainty girl things.
Each year the three of us received Barbies for Christmas. However, we didn't grow-up with bad body images. I think this was because our mother always told us we were beautiful. Heck, she still does. I was raised on "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty". I remember when "The Little Mermaid" came out and watched "Beauty and the Beast" in the theatre. These facts did not distort my sense of reality or help me make poor choices later in life. I do believe that being enveloped in all things 'girl' and still watching shows like "The Six Million Dollar Man" and owning a large set (that I wish I still had, boy, would I be in the money!) of Matchbox cars made me the well-rounded woman I am today. I was always being told to do my best and I was never told that my dreams were impossible.
Now, let's look at those Princessess...I mean really and let's not look at them with the jaded eyes of adulthood, but in the way little girls do...
Each and every little girl that wants to be a princess can find within our Disney heroines such traits as thoughtfulness, caring, friendship, bravery, sweetness. I think it's OK that they learn these aspects of character from girls who sing to mice and worry about what they will wear to the ball. Do I like that every princess has a waist the size of a thimble? Do I like that each princess finds her prince in the end to create that 'happily ever after'? Do I like that the princesses that get the most face time are blonde? Sometimes I find these very traits quite irksome, but then I remember what I thought of the princesses when I was a kid.
I can tell you that I never noticed that:
1] in 1984 (when I was 8) that the majority of the princesses were white, or blonde.
2] those princesses weighed less than I did.
3] Disney princesses live, impossible 'fairytale' (duh!) lives.
4] the villians were always dark or alone or obese.
5] they only found worth by being noticed by their 'prince'.
I just sang the songs while playing outside in the yard.
Growing up with Barbies, Disney Princesses and other girlie stuff doesn't make little girls turn into selfish prosti-tots...it's how we, the grown-ups, present those things that determines that.
I know this to be true.
I know that I can use the Disney princesses to teach my daughter about:
1] being herself
2] standing her ground
4] the power of family
5] the power of friendship
8] facing adversity
9] understanding her strengths and weaknesses
10] respecting her differences and the differences of others
Now, I can spend a large part of my time getting all worked up over the sexualization of toddlers brought about by these gals and I can go on and on about the fact that Disney is being used to sell everything including veggies or I can combat all of that by using my time to teach my daughter to have her own self-worth and how to be self-reliant and then I can let her go play in the yard in her Princess tiara and dress up gown.
I'm learning that the latter bit is a lot more fun to a two-year old.
Check out this blog post. It list six (we own three) amazing princess books...and, they aren't Disney at all!
Or, read this article titled The Lessons of the Disney Princesses...hmmm, she list wayyy more than I do!