Thursday, March 8, 2012

Princesses and so forth

NOT A NEWS FLASH! A lot of little girls today sure like to do the princess thing, right? And there's lots of princess stuff for them to enjoy--books, coloring books, games, dolls, dress-up clothes.

Anyway, I know there's a conversation going on about this phenom among parents, educators, psychologists, and possibly real-live princesses who are pissed that their turf has been hijacked.


I haven't paid much attention because I didn't have daughters, but I might now that I have myself a couple of grandgirls. What do you think about this? Why is it happening? Is it healthy? A problem? A little of both? Should I write a princess book myself?

I will say this. I never ONCE pretended I was a princess when I was a kid. I was more interested in being an orphan because orphans are awesome and no one tells them when to go to bed.

Your thoughts?


Mrs. Mordecai said...

I guess that explains why Sara Crewe is so awesome, because she is an orphan and a princess. Also Cinderella. I spent most of my childhood pretending I was one of them or the other.

So my thoughts are that if princesses are awesome and orphans are awesome, than orphan princesses must be even more awesome.

James said...

Some are born princesses, others have it thrust upon your little brother when he was forced to go get the mail in drag. Is it different than a little boy's dream of being an MLB player? We all know little (insert name) is not going to be a major league pitcher, catcher or hitter. Yet we encourage him to paticipate, for the experience, for the memories, and for the fun. If the Princess movement can stay at that level, then I think its probably ok.

I think one reason (not the only reason) for the princess product movement might be the diversity in business/marketing decision makers that has developed over the last couple of decades.

Maybe its a backlash to Snooki.

Lisa B. said...

Oh YES, case in point: Pippi Longstocking. Way better than being a princess. That said, I think princessery is fine. And I believe that James has it right. Is a princess any more entitled, more diva-esque, than a major league ball player? I submit to you that she is not. Carry on, little princesses of the world. Have a tiara, on me.

IN other news, I saw a tiara for sale at Urban Outfitters and I really really should have bought it.

Thelma said...

I read Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. It was very interesting and all about the phenomenon of princess overload.

Louise Plummer said...

Oh why not? We all learn soon enough that we aren't and never will be princesses. The Paperbag Princess is one of my favorite princesses, because she decides not to marry the prince.

Joseph Ramirez said...

I... have nothing intelligent to say upon this topic. :) Sorry. I spent my misspent childhood wanting to be a Jedi. No frame of reference for this princess thing.

Though I agree with you, Ann - orphans are way cooler than princesses. Spider-Man... Batman... Superman... David Banner (The Incredible Hulk)... Wolverine... Luke Skywalker... all of 'em, non-princess orphans. And they're all cooler than princesses. I rest my case, your honor.

Kamp Kyburz said...

One of my fifth grade girls had a Disney Princess notebook with, you know, the four or five major/current princesses that year. I was working with her at her desk one day when she seemingly really SAW the notebook cover for the first time. She held her hand over her chest and said, "Belle isn't very modest...and neither is Jazmine (sp?)." She examined each one and noted that they all had plunging neck lines.

At our wedding reception, my friend introduced his three year old daughter, "This is my friend, Jody. See? She's a princess just like you!"

Marcia said...

When we were kids, we often played a game we called, "Run Away from the Orphanage." It was awesome. And, no one told us when to go to bed. There was that one time, though, that mom came out back and saw us playing on the roof of the garage. For some reason, that made her mad, and we weren't allowed to do that anymore.

Sara Z. said...

Team Orphan.

shelley said...

Oh I love princesses. I do. They are polite and kind and wear fantastic clothes.
I do think at the base of all the stink is a commercial ploy. I think Disney saw a way to make a lot of money, and did it. It is a business, after all.
I believe its the parents' choices that end up influencing whats in the house and around their girls. I think the same parents who dress up their kids in make-up, like in "Toddlers in Tiaras," would be doing just as weird and psychopathic things to their kids if it was another fad, like an orphan fad. (Which gives me a funny mental image, dressing up your daughter like a bedraggled orphan and finding it adorable). I just think Disney is a broad target to hit, and an easy one. People love to blame companies on their parenting failures.
That sounded harsh....I've just been thinking about it a lot, and I've listened to the whole "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" thing, and I just think parents need to take more responsibility for their own choices.

Tiffany said...

I'm with you Ann: I was always the barefoot orphan picking poisonous berries off the neighbor's bushes. Which is probably why the Good Lord sent me four boys--I'll take a battle scene over princess drama any day.

Though a princess book would always be fun to write...

SWILUA said...

My five year old might play princess sometimes, but only so she can get practice with the sundries of totalitarian rule and ultimate world domination.

I used to like to play, "We're alone in the woods and our parents are dead so we have to survive!"

My kids do something like this, only they call it playing "Survivor." Which sort of puts an entirely different spin on it.

BBB said...

I've got two girls. I don't mind the princess thing, but at the same time, without really thinking about it, we don't go completely overboard with exposure to it. My oldest (3) actually asks to watch Star Wars and plays with a light saber more than she's ever asked to watch princess movies.

I'd actually prefer that she act more like a princess than her current lion or dog act, when we're in public and people say hi to us:
"Hi, you're so cute, what's your name?"

Jayne said...

I don't remember wanting to be a princess ever, but the Disney myth I bought was only-girl-with-a-dad-and-no-mom heroine. Even in The Parent Trap we knew that the one who got life with the dad was luckier. Dad alone buys whatever you want and THINKS you're a princess, mom alone works hard and teaches you morality and discipline. Lucky for me my mom and siblings never did die in some mysterious but romantic way.