I am pretty certain that I have shared the link to a really good read - BeautySchooledProject.com. If you haven't been in a while I would suggest that you check it out today. Virginia has a new post up, The New Toddlers In Tiaras, featuring a very familiar toddler.
I am looking forward to reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. As I have written about here and vented about at knitting, I'm in the midst of a "Princess phase" at my house. Everything is associated with a princess "Yellow, like Belle", "Blue, like Cinderella"... and I pull an eyeroll that I used to give my mom when she told me something I didn't like.
As far as this princess culture goes, I am conflicted. She is being creative and making the box of princess stuff into her own version of it. So what if she doesn't know anything really about the movies. If and when we do show them to her most likely those major things like awful gender stereotypes will go over her head. So because it bothers me a bit I should stop her from having a good time? Am I bothered more by the fact that that is the only option around? For the record I have no problems with princesses or fairies. It's specifically the disney ones that are everywhere you turn (for crying out loud, a certain yogurt company that I used to buy because it did not use HFCS has been repackaged to include the princesses). And should I want to purchase something princessy I do not have many options for non branded items. When I was around her age (through elementary / middle school) I adored Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Punky Brewster, and much to my parent's delight I am sure, Daisy Duke from Dukes of Hazzaard. My parents let me play each of those phases out and I became interested in something else - crafty projects, drawing, reading (Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie - each are probably helped balance out any harm inflicted on my by Daisy Duke), music, drama, etc. She's been into Elmo for 1.5 years and that seems to be on the outs. Princess stuff is in for her now...we're still in the early stages.
I was surprised, but a tiny piece of me was happy when she was given the box of dress up clothes. I had spotted that item in one of the store fliers and seriously considered getting it for her for Christmas. I knew she would love it. I read on a different parenting blog that their way around it was to have the princess stuff come from Santa - so the kid still got it and was happy, but it was not directly from mom / dad. I held off because I really don't want to buy her princess
stuff. When she's out with me I can pass off a lot of it with "We'll tell Grammie you like that". I was actually surprised that we didn't get more princess stuff for her birthday and Christmas - I take that to mean that I have made my stance fairly
clear to my family and friends and they understand and respect we don't want to be
overrun with princesses. If other family / friends choose to give her princessy items its fine - I'm not going to be an outright evil character and return gifts or not give them to her because they have princesses. We have seen our friends get overwhelmed with princess things for their daughter - for her last birthday they flat out said "Nothing with princesses" - I think we are on the right track to avoid
Am I worried this princess stuff will impact her? No. I'm not worried that it is going to shape her personality - a lot of it still is over her head. She can't give me an answer when I ask her what princesses do. I have accepted that she is more girly-girl than I was and that's not a big deal. She likes the sparkly things, who
doesn't? She likes her pocketbooks and shoes and I could care less. She is who she is. I think (hope) that by offering her opportunities to do other things along with supporting what she is interested in. She was really loving dancing all over the house, so we enrolled her in ballet. She likes to run around - she'll probably be a soccer kid. She likes to draw and paint. Certainly she is spoiled and has a good life, but at the same time she is helpful and independent and can take direction and is friendly - I don't think that I have to worry about her ending up on an awful
reality show like "You're Cut Off" or "Bad Girls Club". She's a toddler in a tiara, but she is not treated like a pageant princess. We have set expectations for her - she can help clear the table / set the table / give jackson his food - those little jobs are part of shaping her personality too.
True I am lacking the automatic pink gene. Certainly there are people that are ready to frill / fluff / frou-frou out their little girls from birth. And I won't deny - little girls are incredibly cute and it is quite fun to dress them up. We are lucky to have family and friends that want to (and can) indulge the Lorax in things she is interested in and will at the same time respect the wishes of her parents.
If you've made it this far into this long winded post, I want to share a link for pretty good alternatives (from Peggy Orenstein's blog): resources. Good stuff there to keep checking on as Lorelai gets older. I picked up a "My first Little House" book at a book sale last fall and Laura Ingalls Wilder has been a big hit lately (yay!). At the grocery store when given the choice she chose Batman chewy fruit over the box with Rapunzel / Tinkerbell! Maybe I could work up a "Wonder Woman" cuffs and red cape and transition the princess box into a dress up box. We have read some princess books with more positive outlooks (Very Fairy Princess was a good one, in my opinion. Cinder Edna made me and DH giggle, but the main ideas go right over her head.)
Moderation is key. I was most surprised when Lorelai and I were at a store and we made a game out of spying the "princesses all over" - she asked to look at a Disney Princess toy of some sort - she took it, looked it over and put it back unasked! No asking if she could buy it. No whining that she wanted it. I think we are going to be ok.