June 6, 2018

Princesses (If You Must)

The princess phase feels pretty inescapable. But does every Royal Sparkle tutu a Honey Boo Boo make? Or is our princess paranoia a bit misguided? Here’s why we say you can ease up and let your kids be anything they want. Even if it’s princesses.

You may think (as both of us once did) that little girls who are all-princess, all the time, are just not that cool. You may have also believed that any daughter of your own would be a far more independent-thinking, overalls-wearing sort of spunkster. 

 But once that daughter is born, and turns two, and a well-meaning party-goer shows up with something from, say, the Disney Princess Little Kingdom Royal Sparkle Collection? All bets are off.

We’re here to tell you that the princess phase, as brief as it is intense, is pretty much unavoidable–or at least it feels that way. And shaming your daughter for falling for all of it may be less than productive. As Peggy Orenstein points out in her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, the princess imperative lines up perfectly with a 4-7 year old child’s “inflexible stage,” where one’s identity as a girl (or a boy) is felt to be actually predicated upon appearing like one.

But then it becomes a bait-and-switch that Amy wrote about it for Listen To Your Mother NYC: first, our daughters are told that they MUST like princesses– then, just as suddenly, they are told that they must stop. That doesn’t seem so great, either.


In this episode we discuss:


* whether princesses are okay only if we counterbalance the messaging

* whether girls who play with princess toys have lower self-esteem

* what boys might be learning from princess movies

* why a tiara-wearing preschooler is not really a reflection on our parenting- or what she’ll be wearing in another five years

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