Wednesday, April 25th, 2012...9:25 pm

Let’s Not Start The Princess Wars

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I wrote this post after reading this article on the Huffington Post. Despite its title and sometimes right-on point about marketing to girls (“It’s not about anti-girly, anti-pink, anti-sparkle or anti-princess; it’s about anti-limitation.”) the tone was wrong. And It ruffled my feathers. Read it first if you wish. Or don’t….

 

I let my daughter love all things princess.

So hate me.

Tell me I’m teaching her the wrong lessons.

Help me second-guess yet another aspect of motherhood and parenting. Because, you know, I don’t have enough to worry about already with the so-called mommy-wars (I work full time. Want to hate me for that too?)

I draw the line at Barbie. Is that better? Am I doing a better job raising a daughter just because I don’t buy in to the slutty clothed plastic doll, but I do buy her more fully-clothed princess counterparts? Does that make me a better mom than someone who buys Barbie?

Pitting mothers against each other for any reason is wrong, unproductive and unethical. Please. Let’s not start the Princess-Wars.

Let’s, instead, teach our children – our daughters and our sons – about kindness. Let’s model for them civil discussion, understanding of multiple valid viewpoints. Let’s teach them that it’s ok to disagree as long as we do it with respect. Let’s teach them, as Jon Stuart Mill wrote, that every opinion has value.

Let’s, instead, teach them to love themselves, their inner beauty and, yes, their outer beauty too. Let’s show them that true outer beauty comes from within. That there’s a reason people say someone is “being ugly” without at all focusing on looks.

Let’s teach them about the power each of us holds to change ourselves and our world, the power that education and deep thinking give, the power of speaking out against injustice, finding your voice, of caring enough about something or someone that you’ll do everything in your power to protect it/them.

Let’s, as I’ve written before, start to acknowledge how important it is to educate ourselves and our children on the manipulative power of the media. If we did that, if we were smart consumers, if we taught our children to be the same, we would usurp some of Disney’s power to market to our daughters (and to our sons). We’d return the power more fully to ourselves. And isn’t that where it belongs? Aren’t we as parents repsonsible for making smart choices and encouraging the same in our kids?

So when you see me out and about with Nora, who is almost always dressed in Princess attire, feel free to judge me. Or, maybe, we could chat and you could find out that despite her dress, despite my approval of her princess phase, I have high hopes for my daughter to seize her power, relish her inner-beauty and one day change the world.

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3 Comments

  • The archetype of the princess is one that instills confidence and reinforces the idea of a positive self image. Who in the world would want to take that away from a young girl’s childhood experience? Reinforcing your daughter’s belief that she is one of the most beautiful things in the world should never be seen as a negative attribute. As for fairy tales, they widen our own capacity to believe in the unbelievable and serve to deepen our ability to develop our imagination, a necessary constituent for becoming a well rounded and open-minded member of society.

  • Yes, Brian! Another great way to think about this.

  • [...] I read all of those articles. I read them and I dismissed them. [...]

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