Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tough Week for a Princess

In my university classes, we've been reviewing the hazards of gender specific toys and my students have been writing on how market driven princess paraphernalia can negatively (or not) influence a girl's personality and ambitions. As a mother of a 5 yr old daughter with a love for everything 'princess' this gives me food for thought. So today I asked Eliot: "So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" She usually answers: "Teacher or a mother." So, with a reassured feeling, I asked: "You don't want to be a princess, do you?" With a look of awe, she wondered:
"I can be a princess?!!" Not exactly the thought process I was hoping to put in motion. Very smooth, I know. Job well done.
Earlier in the week, I tried helping Eliot confront her fear of the school bathroom. I accompanied her in to show her that "no sweetie, there are no monsters coming out of the toilet." At which, she pointed to a sign which, in fact, clearly depicted monsters coming out of a toilet. What? The wording underneath the picture said: "If you do not flush the toilet bacteria (monster looking creatures) will come."
Unfortunately, most five year old children cannot read yet. The sign has since been removed.
It's not easy being five.


  1. What a cute princess!

  2. I don't know if you've already got it or not, but there's a book that was just published about the whole "pink princess industry"called "Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontline of the new Girlie-Girl Culture" by Peggy Orenstein. I haven't read the book yet, but I read a review in the NYT last week and it sounded great.

  3. Thanks LeeAnn, and yes, Peggy Orenstein is indeed one of the authors the students need to critique. Interesting stuff. Didn't really see what the big deal was until I started reading about all the 'hidden' messages.

  4. I found all girls grow out of the princess thing by 7. Now Tess won't touch anything princess and cried when she lost her lunch box and I said she had to use the one she was given (never used) with princess's on the front. This is girl who had Snow White and Cinderella attend her 4th and 5th bday parties. No more! Now it's Taylor Swift all the way.

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  6. Above comment accidentally deleted.
    That's what I figured so I'm not too 'worried.' I don't really find her current love of princesses that harmful, anyway.