February 17, 2011

My concerns on princesses

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17 February 2011

Peggy Orenstein recently released her latest book, called Cinderella Ate My Daughter. I've just read a post on The Sexy Feminist, written by someone who's just read the book.

Orenstein's novel is one of those I put on my to-read list a while ago after reading about it on AlterNet.org. It's a novel that touches on something I'm worried about myself, because, as I hope to have children one day and there's at least a 50% chance that it will be a girl, and I've worried about how I would deal with a daughter who only wants to be a princess. Especially since, despite growing up on Disney princesses, I can't stand the consumer culture that's come of it nor the way it made me feel when I was a teenager.

My niece is 7 this year, and she was brought up without all the princessy stuff, but once she started to mingle with children her age, she wanted to be a princess, and have the Bratz doll. She had a 'boyfriend' when she was in creche.

I dread not knowing to do when my own little girl looks up at me and asks for a tiara "because Jenny has one". I would be adamant that they should not get it just because Jenny has one and only if they really wanted one, and as long as they didn't want one because they wanted to be a princess.

It's such a dilemma because growing up in this day and age, marketing is everywhere - you can't get away from it unless you move to a plot with a cow named Daisy where there's no other little girls with whom your little girl can associate.

Our little girls are exposed to princess marketing wherever they are, whether they're shopping with you in Clicks where they can spot bath products with princesses or pretend make-up sets marketed by Snow White.

The worst thing about the princess mindset is that it makes you worry about how pretty you are, how thin you are, and because of dolls such as Bratz idols such as Miley Cyrus, how hot you are, not least because Prince Charming didn't end up with the Wicked Witch, if only because she was really ugly.


  1. Well said, my friend. I couldn't agree with you more. For some strange reason, I have a very deep sense in my gut that we will have a girl, I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe it's intuition, maybe it's a sixth sense, who knows? Either way, the thought of her being a 'princess' terrifies me. I want a rad little girl who plays with guitars and draws with her dad and listens to music with her mom. Please, PLEASE don't make me play with Barbies!!!

  2. What terrifies me isn't that I might bring a girl up as a princess but that sooner or later she'll demand it - all her friends will be princesses, and you'll have to follow suit to make her happy. That I don't want to do, but how else make her happy?


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