Friday, March 23, 2012

Be Your Own Kind of Princess

I recently read, Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter. She covers many subtopics under the question of Is the current pink Cinderella culture good for our children? but she has a strong distaste for the Disney Princesses, and won't allow the movies in the house. The author's main beef with the Disney Princesses is that they don't do anything. They basically wait around for their prince charming to come. She even states that all Sleeping Beauty does, is sleep.

To this I cry foul. For I have many childhood memories of re-enacting singing and dancing scenes from Sleeping Beauty while listening to it on my record player. I believe my mother found me on top of my desk belting out, Once Upon A Dream, more than once. I would never deny my children the magnificent animation, the humor and the magical music encompassed in that movie. As for the sexist story line, well folks, that what we call a teachable moment. But buy my child all the mass merchandised Disney Princess garb? Never. If they want a "princess" outfit, we can make one. I want them to use their imaginations, not just buy what the marketers are selling. In the end, the author comes to the conclusion that children ultimately model themselves after their parents, so if we want our children to be strong, brave, smart and not overly concerned with how they look, we need to not be either.

I see nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be pampered, wear nice things and helped out with things. Heck, the whole point of the TV show, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, was letting straight men feel pampered and taken care of. The problem comes when one's only value is beauty and all life choice is taken away.

So be your own kind of princess (or prince): be generous but expect respect, take good care of yourself. Solicit help from others, but know that you are ultimately the one in charge of your life.
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