Don’t worry, I am not about to go all Peggy Orenstein on you. I don’t think Cinderella ate anybody.
The article reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance several years ago. She was about to have her first child, a girl. One evening over dinner, the mom-to-be told me she refused to allow her child to be a princess lover. She had recently visited a friend of hers, who had a young daughter, and the kid’s entire room was pink and purple and filled with ruffle this and princess that.
“Not my daughter,” she said.
I asked what she planned to do if, a few years down the road, her kid wanted to be Cinderella for Halloween. She shook her head, adamant it would never happen. The future baby’s room, which was truly awesome in a 60s sort of way, was decorated in gender-neutral yellows and greens, and with zoo animals. The last time we saw them was for their kid’s third birthday party. It was robot-themed. Will she keep her daughter princess-free? I guess only time will tell.
If you happen to be one of those moms (or dads, dads can hate princesses too) that refuse to let her daughters have a tiara, or frilly princess dress, or watch Disney cartoons because you feel it perpetuates a patriarchal society, then that’s fine. Of course you should absolutely raise your child in whatever way you see fit in order to instill what you perceive to be the correct world views. I agree with the notion that teaching your daughter she is a special and unique princess, and that the world revolves around her is a terrible disservice to the child (and that applies to both boys and girls). It annoys me endlessly to see a child with a t-shirt that says Spoiled Princess. But regarding the cartoons themselves, so long as you teach your child that the princesses in them are make believe, then I don’t see the harm.
I completely understand the desire to teach your daughters to be strong women, and if I had a daughter I would do the same. But to be frank, I, along with many women in my age bracket and above, grew up with Disney cartoons (along with Barbie), and I turned out just fine. I’m an intelligent and capable woman. Princesses did not destroy me. If I had to chose between my child being into this:
I would choose Cinderella, every time, because at the end of the day she’s still a princess, not some kid that goes home and tweets sexy photos of herself to her fans (and yes, I know, kids make mistakes).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some huge princess person. While I certainly saw the original Disney movies as a kid, I did not have dreams and illusions of being Cinderella. I was more of a Strawberry Shortcake kind of girl. I also spent an entire year telling people my name was Wonder Woman. Perhaps not the most feminist thing to do, since she wore a revealing onesie and those sexy boots and all, but come on…she was kick ass.
On a completely different note – tomorrow I’m selling out. Yup. A guest editorial from Adam and Eve will appear. I was a little iffy on the whole thing, but when they sent me the content it was so ridiculous, I had no choice but to post it.