Is the Princess Fantasy Dangerous?

Cynthia Dermody
princess obsession

Photo by LisaAnnM

I'm not a huge Princess fan, and never was as a girl. Nothing against them, but my heroes were adventurers like Joan of Arc, Wonder Woman, and various brave women of my imagination who rode wild horses, shot a bow and arrow, and swam with dolphins.

Princesses just sit on their pretty pink butts, comb their hair, and wait for some guy to come along -- how totally boring is that!

Speaking of which, I'm ready to enroll my 4 year old daughter in the local chapter of Princesses Anonymous. Pink, pretty, bejeweled, delicate, feminine, is her entire world. Yesterday I tried to put a perfectly girly orange corduroy skirt on her and she had a conniption.

And today she informed me she doesn't want to wear clothes that she's already worn before -- in other words, she wants brand new clothes every day so she doesn't have to wear the same thing twice. Yes, and on which planet do you reside again, Sweetie?

I'm not sure what that line of thinking that is so removed from reality has to do with Princesses, but I'm on a tear and I'm going to blame them anyway.

An anonymous mom in Answers is wary of the influences of Princesses, too, and offers up a few good reasons why:

"My husband and I want our kids to be able to be whoever they want to be. Our daughters wear dresses, and pink on occasion, but we try to buy them trucks along with tea sets. Our daughter is 22 months, doesn't really watch TV or get clothing or products with cartoon characters on them.

"What is the longest we'll be able to avoid the Disney Princesses? Because this phenomenon really scares me. I've seen so many preschoolers totally obsessed! I'm not saying this stuff is evil, but I do think some of the cultural messages through these stories/products, etc. are not good for girls."

Yup, that's my daughter she's talking about. I'm a failure on the Princess front so my advice is worthless, but here's how one very smart mom, kara_g., answered:

"Remember, you are raising an INDIVIDUAL and not a gender, so you expose her to things and you respect her decisions.

"Don't discount princesses. But when you read Sleeping Beauty, say, "That's silly that she waited for him. She could have just woken up!" There are some stronger princesses too, like Pocohontas. Disney is wising up.

"Buy books about Amelia Earhart, etc. Also keep stong males in her life and show her she can make their choices, too. Say things to her like "you're smart," "you're clever," "you are a good problem solver" and take note when other girls make positive decisions. 'Lisa is a great guitarist!' "

++ Are you troubled by your daughter's Princess obsession? Are princesses a good or bad influence on little girls? What positive qualities do they hold?

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