A while back, I used my blog to answer a mother’s blog post she entitled; “Are the Disney Princesses Sexualizing my Daughter?”
…There was a time when we tried to ban the princesses. It was a couple years ago and we were idealistic thinking that if we told everyone that we weren’t “doing” the princesses that they would stop giving her things with princesses on them. That did not work. And the ban seemed to deepen her interest. Funny how that works. We couldn’t really express why we were banning them. That would lead to more questions.
“Why can’t I have that Princess coloring book?”
“Because we don’t do Princesses?”
“Why don’t we do Princesses?”
“Because they promote the wrong image?”
“What’s an image?” “What’s promote?” “Why don’t we do Princesses?”
“Here’s the coloring book.”
That’s not how it would end. She wouldn’t get the coloring book. But eventually we gave in and she did start acquiring that stuff again. At some time we thought we could counteract the Princesses. We introduced her to Veggie Tales, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Hello Kitty (I will never understand why someone finds princesses better than Hello Kitty. She is the best. The. End.), and many other characters. Her desire was always for the Princesses.
Now she knows practically everything about them. What is starting to bother me is that she’s starting to emulate them. Wanting to be more like them. For a while when she would put on a nightgown with a stretchy neck, she’d pull it off one shoulder and walk around with her head tilted towards that shoulder. And look at us with batting eyes. I would promptly ask her to:
“Cover your shoulder, girls don’t dress like that.”
“So and so Princess does.”
“You’re not So and so Princess.”
We could live with that because there ain’t no way she’s exiting the house while under my supervision with a shoulder bare like that (visualize me doing the three snap). Unless she’s got a part in some 80s theater production and has on a super baggy sweatshirt and some type of covering underneath.
BUT NOW!!! THE REASON I’M BABBLING ON!!! Just the other night, after her dance recital, she had a friend spend the night. They were getting ready for bed in the bathroom and this is what I heard:
Reagan: “Do you know who my boyfriend is?”
R: “E****. It used to be S****, and then P****, but now it’s E****.”
R: “I’d so kiss him. I really would. I really would kiss him.”
WHAT!!??!!??!!?? Where is she getting this stuff from?!?!? It took a couple of days to process. It’s from the freaking Princess characters…
My “answer” post began;
It can be difficult to cope when it seems that our children are growing up too soon. Parents often have a love-hate relationship with much of the media when it comes to their children. Especially their daughters. On the one hand you have the hypersexualization of women and girls in music videos, magazines, internet games and advertisements, and on the other hand you have the classics we all used to love—like Sesame Street and Disney. But as adults, even are old favorites sometimes get on our nerves. Yes, as parents, we have a new perspective.
I then went on to provide tips to help this parent as well as other parents challenge the stereotypes that frustrate them…(see same post as above)
Today I received a long comment from a teen about this post and why parental worry about princesses is oh, so wrong. Samantha…you have the floor:
I would just like to try to get though to you mothers, who are so desperately against Disney princesses.
I don’t think you understand your daughters, and I am so extremely sick of hearing about how you know so much about children today. You are not five, nor am I but I am 16 and I pride myself on being the five year old with a voice. I still believe in the magic of disney, jst as a child does, but i have the other life experiece of growing up, I may not be an adult but I do understand where you are coming from. But i do not agree.
You see your approach to the “sexuality” of these princesses is completely conveluted! Do you really believe your daughter cares what size a princess is, she just wants to see her favorite princess fall in love and have all her dreams come true. The people at Disney are not trying to corrupt your children or make them think they have to be pretty to have it all. That is your job, YOU need to set the image for your daughter, let her believe she is beautiful.
You act as though The disney co. is TRYING to corrupt your daughters. The great imagineer Walt Disney once said “All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” The people at Disney know that these are fairytales, they, afterall, are an entertainment company, and they know what they are doing. They have the power to get your children to believe in the impossible, to believe that their dreams come true.
If you want your children to not have their head in the clouds, then you are setting them up for a pretty depressing life. If real life was worth watching, we wouldnt need movies. But its not, it kinda sucks, and taking away the one thing that convinces your children that maybe life doesnt suck, is horrible.
Think back to when you were a child, didn’t you believe that you could do anything. I would be surprised to say that when you were five or six you dreamed of living in the suburbs with your husband, or fighting for custody of your children. If you did, then god I am sorry, that had to suck.
But the message of the princesses is not to get your daughters to want to be skinny and want to kiss boys, its to show them that no matter what happens or what people try to do to stop you, you can achieve what ever your want, maybe for the princesses it was to be loved, but i highly doubt that your daughters are anazlying this as much as you are. And telling them that they cant watch it shows them that there is something exciting to be seen, you take it away they will want it more, simple as that.
You want to tell your five year old that the sun doesnt shine all the time, and that someone isnt going to love them forever or that their dreams may not come true be my guest, but when they are going through their teen years and the only “fairytale” that they can relate to is the one of how their father left you and his daughter, dont start complaining about how Disney gave them the wrong idea, you did, for telling them that hey this is what is probly going to happen to you so you better get used to it.
I am passionate about this, because Disney is what got me through the toughest times of my life, from loosing my cousin and a best friend during my freshman year of highschool, to my eighteen year old brother having a deadly heart condition, Disney gave me the one thing they try to give everyone, HOPE! And it got me through everything, the friggin HOPE that everything would be ok .
So I fight for these girls the ones who need help believeing that THEY ARE PRINCESSES. I am a warrior and I live for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a pirate. For every little girl who know’s shes a princess. For believers in tomorrowland, and for kids of neverland. And for those who still believe that anything can happen.
Oooh. I love a little conversation from a variety of different perspectives. Let’s discuss! What do YOU think???
Other posts about the Disney Princesses: