Monday, January 17, 2011

Play Pin-cess, mommy?

I previously mentioned my unease with princesses.

I don't recall that I ever went through a princess phase, though admittedly my memory is crap. I think most little girls go through a dress-up / fancy dress phase, though I think when we were children the number of princesses was much smaller (i.e. Cinderella - DONE), and most certainly the Disney marketing machine was nothing like it is today.

Miss E really doesn't talk about princesses yet, but I know that day is coming. She likes to wear tiaras and jewelry, but that is the extent of the dress up so far. I want to have an appropriate response when the princess train roars through our house ...

So, to my point, do any of you get Parents magazine? There was a nice article this month (which I can't find online) called The Power of the Princess. It includes an interview with Peggy Orenstein about her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture.

I certainly can't summarize the book, but one of the main points is that a lot of parents try to avoid princesses at all costs, only to miss the fact that traditional fairy tales often highlight young women who are resourceful, clever, humble and who show strength of character.

Her advice?
1. Tell the fairy tales. Find a version you like and read it together. Movies aren't bad, just consider supplementing with different versions of the story.
2. Don't limit girly things. It's OK for your daughter to love Barbie and dress-up, but give your daughter tools to build a treehouse or fort or castle for her dolls. Encourage a variety of interests.
3. Give your girl choices. Instead of always saying No, figure out what you can live with (princess-wise) and let her choose from those things.

How have you addressed this?

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