Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Princess Dilema

It is official. Annika would sell her soul for a princess. Particularly, anything - anything at all - that has the disney princesses on it.

She's been saying "princess" for about a month now, but only in the last two weeks has she started shrieking "PRINCESSSSS!!!!!" every...single...time....that she sees one in the store. And I bet you never noticed (unless you have a daughter) - PRINCESSES ARE EVERYWHERE. They surround us.

Princesses stand for everything I don't like in life. Ok, that's a bit extreme, but relatively true statement. Let's try again.

I don't like princesses. I hate how they portray unrealistic beauty, I hate how they are helpless, I hate how ridiculous the romance with a prince is, and I hate how skinny their little waists are. If I could do exactly what I wanted with no consequences, my daughter would never see a princess and especially a princess movie her entire life. (ogre, I know)

BUT, I've always said "I won't encourage princesses, but if my daughter is into princesses and barbies, I won't forbid them". Because I know all about the allures of forbidden fruit. And they snuck into our house via birthdays - because I didn't want to be psychotic about it and never told anyone I didn't like them. (I promise, promise, PROMISE, I am not angry if you gave my child a princess. Promise.)

Unfortunately, two year olds LOVE branded characters. Saben loved Thomas the Train at this age. But somehow boys are offered a hardworking train to admire, while girls are offered helpless beautiful damsels. And more than anything, more than I even hate BRATZ dolls, I HATE how...commercialism? the media? THE MAN? gets to choose what my child will be into. By plastering those stupid smug faces on absolutely everything. What two year old isn't going to be excited to see someone she recognizes on everything from toothbrushes to pillows? It is such glorious fun having someone you recognize on all your stuff.

So I've given up. I will get her the princesses because her joy in them is beautiful. I know a couple princesses won't ruin her forever. Saben stopped liking Thomas, so maybe she'll outgrow the princess phase too? (of course he never got into superheroes either - an entirely different blog post altogether)

Did I mention that she wants to wear her princess nightgown each and every night? She squeals and dances around everytime I pull it out. Who am I to deny my child's happiness? Even if it does make me gag a little everytime I look at their stupid little starry eyed faces and teeny waists.


Vicky said...

i love this post. you know what i hate maybe even more than princesses...DORA!

Jen said...

LOL we haven't hit the phase yet, but she does like to wear her birthday crown and call herself a princess. Oh and she loves CARS and DORA! So each child pics their favorites.

Andrea Elliott said...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOUR PRINCESS STATEMENT!!! I have never liked the over-commercialization and the unrealistic desires they create. Whew. Well said.

Grandma Young said...

I'm one of the guilty ones....grandma....because we gave her the nightgown. Who knew it would cause such delight for my princess, Annika, and such angst for her mama!? Sorry, Kari, I'm giggling that Miss Annika loves her nighty! Naughty Grandma!!! :)

Ken V said...

I agree with the sentiment, but I also agree with your eventual solution. Sometimes I think we underestimate the ability of young kids to sort fantasy and reality into separate mental buckets. They seem to have no trouble at all grasping the concept of "I'm pretending to be...", and not confusing that with "I am...". In my experience, the problem often comes when parents get caught up in the cuteness and push it too hard - then the child starts to feel like "I need to be..." or "I have to be...". Happily, I think there are lots of creative ways that a parent can celebrate the fantasy while still reinforcing that it's just that (and maybe even introducing other role models into the game at the same time).

Kimberly said...

I feel the *exact* same way! I want my girls to be a perfect mix of girly meets tom boy. Dress up really nice and proper, yet do anything the boys do better!:)
This entire ridiculous commercial garbage is not cool! We've done pretty well with Sylvia- she loves Thomas! And pretty much doesn't know about the other mass produced kids characters.
However her interest has just recently been peaked by a "princess" dress given to her about a year ago (that I kind of put away...shhh) which has surfaced and since perked her interest. Dress up in general is a great way to imagine so I encourage it. Especially since she just saw her first princess movie (without my knowledge- Nana!) and is not yet effected by it, phew.
Ella on the other hand, has been super "girly" from day one and I think she'll be an entirely different story.
Anyway, glad to know I've got another mom friend on my page!

Katie Brase said...

Oh my gosh. She & Leah would love to be friends and talk princesses. This is my life every day: 1. in the car: "Mom will you tell me a story about (naming princesses who I should tell about)." or 2. at the dinner table: 'Let's talk about princesses. Will you talk with me about princesses?" Scott and I wonder when this fascination might wane.