Monday, January 6, 2014

Princess culture: harmless beauty or brain melting subservience

Yes, I have dared to touch on this highly contested subject. Are we ruining the dreams of our children while polluting their minds with role models of subservient male dominated bimbos or are they a harmless brand realizing a perpetual childhood fantasy.

What is the essence of Princess culture that appeals to little girls? Certainly the glamour is appealing. Little girls are naturally drawn to sparkle and beauty and seek adoration. Princess culture simply focuses these consistent desires into a marketed brand. I do not think we can blame Disney, as do the generic imitations hold the same sway over them? Little Girls love to pretend and they love to emulate adults, so why is it surprising that they are so drawn to these beautiful women?  They sing, they dance and they get a "happy" ending, the appeal is obvious.

We have princesses in our house and they are some of Evie's favourite toys. We also have books and movies (which were ours long before she came along) but she has only had moderate exposure to them.   She enjoys her Princess toys no doubt because of their playability and not the brand. However I can freely admit we may have a Sofia problem and I am ok with it. Compared with some of the other options offered to the under five set (do NOT get me started on Tinkerbell) she is rather inoffensive and pretty cute. I would buy her 50 princess items before I would even consider a Bratz or Monster High dolls. I have purposely never watched or read any of their social media, but when i see a doll marketed to children with only a few spare inches of clothing on them, I stay far far away!

I am inclined to a pro-princess opinion, but there is a measure of truth in the negative argument as well. It is true that I would not like my daughter to directly emulate some of the choices demonstrated in these stories. But it is pretty obvious that they are simply products of their era. Yes, they make choices which are less than feminist, but that is a  concept would have been completely foreign to the storytellers, and indeed counter-cultural even to the movie makers. I think we can offer some historical consideration to these traditional stories. Certainly because they are new stories, It is pleasing to think that Disney has recently added some stronger Princesses to their brand. Merida, Anna, and even little Sophia.

So obviously, as in all things, Princess culture is best in moderation. I think it as a sole example it might be harmful, but it is our job to moderate the influences of our children. If you demonstrate for them, in your own actions, the role of a strong confident woman,that will have far more effect on them than a simple princess fantasy.

I admit that I have always liked the princess brand, long before it became a Disney powerhouse, but it is not a Disney exclusive love. Bring me a novel about a queen or a period movie about a princess and I am in my element. I think this appeals to something missing from the modern mom's life. Bring on the beauty, bring on the glamour, bring on that moment of being special and adored. I mean, when you are toiling away at your daily mom chores or can't seem to find a shirt without dried breast milk on it, wouldn't it be great to have a laundress and handmaiden at your beck and call? I think that that what started in our childhoods, has now continued and change in adulthood to an escapist dream.  One could argue it is no different than our obsession with the Kardashians or any other similar vice celebrities. We admire the lifestyle without necessarily wanting to emulate those who currently live it.

Oh, and most of those Princes, they are damn hot!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erin,

    Hear hear about the princesses! I think Disney has done a good job into making them better and better role models for kids.

    We're interviewing a fellow Mommy Blogger, Julia Goolia of "My Life in Transition" this week. She's been a blogger for 6 years and mother of 2 (soon-to-be 3!).

    Is there anything you'd like to ask a fellow experienced Mommy blogger? We are taking questions right now to add to our interview here:

    Please ask any question you might have about blogging, being a mom, or anything else.

    Keep up the awesome blog :)