Warning: I loved Barbies when I was little girl, pranced around the house in my mother’s high heels and scarves and used to be a model, it is quite possible I am one of the “corrupted” and my views have been skewed!
I have read a lot of disturbing post lately attacking Disney and what is called the “Princess Phenomenon,” including this one that discusses the book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” with author Peggy Orenstein.
The women leading these online rants have a mass following and are working hard to instill gender equality for their daughters giving gifts of workbenches for Christmas in lieu of dolls and pink glittery dress-up clothes and I find myself baffled.
The Parents Role
Maybe it is the fact that I spend so much time with my children, educating them at home, but it would seem common sense to me that it is not the nature of the toys, movies and other consumer products marketed to specific genders that shape the children and roles they choose to take in life, but the parents.
I’m certainly for banning certain toys from the home that you feel are detrimental to your child’s character development with conflict with your family’s personal values. In fact, Bratz dolls and those similar are not allowed in our home, simply because I find there are more child friendly dolls available.
Succumbing to the idea that a little girl who falls in love with the magic of fairy tales, happily adorning her blue Cinderella dress almost daily is going to grow up with skewed versions of her place in the world and a crappy self-esteem is ridiculous though.
I don’t care if your daughter never touches a toy car, plays in the mud or shows an interest in sports, her ability to be a strong woman when she reaches adulthood is entirely up to the lessons the parents instills in her. With the proper attention to detail, love and care in shaping your child’s character, no amount of mass consumer culture can dictate their lives.
Blurring the Lines
What worries me the most about these “Anti-Princess” campaigns and the like is that these women who proclaim they are fighting the good fight for Feminism are blurring the lines between necessary freedoms for women and the path that nature has intended.
I am more than proud of the feminist movements in the past that granted women the right to work (those left without a husband are no longer forced to remarry as in the olden days to care for their children), my ability to vote and so much more. The current campaigns seem to go against everything that is natural to me though.
First, you must understand that I am not religious; I am however, a very spiritual person deeply rooted with a love for nature and cycles of life around us. That being said, I feel that every living creature has its place in life, even the female.
It is in our nature to be kind, compassionate, passionate, fierce whenneeded and so much more giving us the maternal instincts needed to care for our children. Look at the female across all species, the norm among them is providing the nurture and care their children need while protecting and educating them.
In no way to feel every woman should stay home and care for her children and home, there are those that must work, and in doing so are exerting those same maternal instincts by caring for their children in the way they have to.
I do believe though that the consumer society we have come to live in, where both parents work to pay for two cars, a home with square footage far beyond their needs and the newest luxuries as they hit the market has caused the lines between what nature has intended for us and what people think must be done to be blurred.
I often think about my grandmother who passed away 11 years ago, she was a strong female in every sense of the word and a truly strong matriarch. She wore flowery dresses, woke each day hours before the rest to prepare breakfast and washed every dish in the home but she also held more authority and respect amongst family and peers than more than half the men I have met in my lifetime.
She fell into the roll that nature intended and she walked her path in life well. She was not silly enough to think that a man’s worth was more than hers because she made her place in the home, she wasn’t’ afraid to get her hands dirty and her self-confidence glowed despite the fact that many today would call her place in life “archaic.”
How You Really Raise Strong Women
Don’t shelter your girls from the world of princesses or encourage a choice of gender-neutral décor over the pretty flowered duvet she really wants, instead embrace your child’s personality for what it is.
Flow with the rhythm of life and let your child find their path, encourage them when they need a gentle nudge, introduce a world of opportunities and education to them but remember to always let them MAKE the choice of that path without an overwhelming amount of jaded opinion from you.
Disclaimer: If you find yourself overwhelming offended by my post, feel free to politely share with me why. Alternatively, you can sit on your thoughts for a few days (a week in my case) and write your own blog post about the topic yourself. I DO NOT feel that women must be obedient to their husbands or look to men to solve are of their woes. I am however very favorable of recognizing the Ying and Yang throughout all of life and try my hardest to respect and embrace it!
Do You Have Princess Phobia?
How influential are Disney Princesses and other popular gender specific characters and products when it comes to raising your children?
Do you have a firm belief that women should stay home, make their mark in world or have you found a happy balance on what is expected of you and your daughters in todays society?
I would love to hear your thoughts!