Insidious Princesses

February 5, 2010

I feel as though the princesses have closed rank around us and are slowly advancing, lifting up their sequined skirts and tip-toeing in on satin slippers.

They’re coming for Moo.

I don’t know how it happened – we haven’t seen any of the movies, we didn’t visit the princesses at Disneyland, we don’t have any princess books.  But suddenly, one day last week, Moo announced she was Snow White.  Damn!  The next day, she was Cinderella.  Augh!  The princesses are unavoidable.  You walk into a grocery store, bookstore, drugstore, I bet even a seminar on herpetology – there would still be pictures of Belle and Jasmine plastered on the walls.  And when Moo points to one and says, “What’s her name?”  What can I do?  I guess I could have lied and said Florence Nightingale or Dian Fossey…SHOOT, why didn’t I think of that?  Too late now.

I admit as a child, I loved Cinderella.  I pored over my beloved Cinderella book (better not let Moo find that) and even dressed up like the glass-slippered-one for Halloween.  But there’s just so damn many of them now!  I knew Moo’s interest in princesses was inevitable, but I was really hoping to avoid the obssession for as long as possible. 

My sister Fiona has an almost-six-year-old and so far, they’ve deftly walked the line between interest and obsession with princesses.  I’m still hoping to follow suit.  Fiona’s warned me about the super-obsessed princess girls, and her stories are disturbing.  Hell, I’ve seen them for myself.  A generation of princess-obsessed girls (thanks, Disney marketing department) have become obsessed with their looks, visiting salons at age 5, referring to themselves proudly as spoiled brats, expressing a sense of entitlement that will probably stretch all the way to adulthood.  And I don’t know much about her, but I don’t think Miley Cyrus has helped much, so I’ll put some of the blame on her, too.

For a while, Moo loved the Disney fairies.  Disney developed a whole back story around Tinkerbell, giving her friends, and more importantly, a JOB.  I think this is awesome.  The princesses – what do they do?  Look pretty and wear dresses.  But the fairies all have unique talents – Tinkerbell is good at fixing things, Lily is good at gardening, Dulcie loves to bake – and they all feel personally fulfilled while at the same time contributing to the fairy community as a whole.  That is FANtastic!  Moo still likes the fairies, but she hasn’t asked me to be Dulcie in a couple weeks, leaving me worried that they’re being pushed aside for princess fever.

And yes, I know I’m probably worrying too much.  It’s just what I do.

A few days ago, Moo and I were playing pretend.  She was Snow White and I was Snow White’s mommy (and that’s another thing – all those missing/dead mothers make me very uncomfortable).  Moo threw herself down on the couch, proclaimed herself sick, and demanded a story to make her feel better.  “What story?” I asked, playing along.  Moo thought a moment and then brightened.  “How ’bout Cinderella?”

And so I unspooled my toddler-friendly version of Cinderella, which went something like this:  “Once upon a time there was a very nice girl named Cinderella, who lived in a big house with three not nice ladies who made her do all the chores and never helped or said thank you.  Then one day there was a big dance party at the castle nearby.  Cinderella wore the most beautiful dress you’ve ever seen, and gorgeous glass slippers.*  She went to the party and met a very nice prince.  They danced and danced and realized that they were going to be best friends forever, just like Mickey and Minnie.  But then Cinderella realized it was past her bedtime, and so she ran home, but she accidentally left one of her shoes at the party.  The next day the prince gave her back her shoe and asked if she wanted to come live at the castle instead of in the house with the not-nice ladies.  Cinderella said she’d love to live at the castle.  So she and the prince lived at the castle, and played all day and had lots of dance parties, and the prince always helped with the chores.  The end.”

*Well, I couldn’t leave out the part about the dress and the shoes.  Nothing wrong with an appreciation for fashion!

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6 Responses to “Insidious Princesses”

  1. Beth H. Says:

    i think you are worrying too much – but then again, i don’t have a daughter. and if i did, i most definitely would not want her to be the princess type either… how do you feel about Barbies? i am conflicted, because they are just as unrealistic & shallow as princesses, but i LOVED Barbies as a kid & i think i turned out fine. so probably, even if Moo goes thru a princess phase, all will still be just fine. 🙂

  2. pam b Says:

    ugh i am dreading this day with yael. she is only 20mo and MUST bring her purse with her (luckily as you saw on my FB post, stuffed with books and a sippy). princesses and barbie is just something i can NOT hang with. i am hoping the fact that yael has an older brother will help tame the obsession (she currently loves playing geotracks and legos)

  3. Shelly Says:

    I have the same worries about the princesses. The need to find the prince to make it all better really irritates me. My kid has even said something about having to have a prince rescue her and I’ve told her when she’s a big girl, she will be able to rescue herself. But for now, I’m letting her 3 year old imagination go where it will. She loves princesses but is not obsessed with them. More than anything she likes the shoes and who can blame her??

  4. mamarose Says:

    Good point, Beth, I loved Barbies (was obsessed with them, really), and I turned out okay. And really, there’s nothing wrong with a love for fashion and shoes. I guess I do just worry about that idea of needing to find a Prince, yes, because even I had that in my head too much as a kid, I think, and I worry about that sense of entitlement that I see in so many young women. But maybe those girls just didn’t have such awesome mothers (like us!).

  5. Leslie Says:

    The other day, we went to a home in which girls lived and William went straight for the Princess Grocery Store Check out machine. bright pink. princesses everywhere. Should I be concerned?

    • mamarose Says:

      Maybe it just means he’s got good taste in chicks. They are an attractive bunch, after all. 🙂 And also – Princess Grocery Store Checkout Machine?!?! What the??


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