Disney has been spewing Princess all over their stores and everyone else’s for about a decade now, and the backlash is gathering force. Cinderella Ate My Daughter is just one of the books coming out vilifying the princess phenomenon. The extreme anti-princess view is essentially that Princess or Pink is a gateway drug to Barbie, Bratz, Monster High, and primes little girls for early sexualization. The anti-princess camp laments that toy stores are segregated into the boy side and the pink side. They fear the world is divided into Firemen vs. Princesses, weapons vs. housework implements, dinosaurs vs. unicorns, science projects vs. pedicure packs.
Newsflash: Disney didn’t invent pink 10 years ago. As a little girl I was obsessed with pink. Once Grandma Dorothy gave my sisters and me some beautiful handmade pillows. She gave Gloria a blue pillow (her favorite color) and Jenni a purple pillow (her favorite) and then said, “That means that Heather gets…” “PINK!” I squealed. “…green!” said Grammy pulling out my pillow. Cue the water works.
I don’t view princesses as the root of all evil, but I do worry that the old standard princess movies portray snaring a man with your looks as the ticket out of all your troubles.
Another aspect of the princess culture that I truly loathe is the celebration of narcissism with words like princess, spoiled, brat, and diva plastered all over little girls’ toys and clothes. I see no redeeming value in encouraging self-absorption and entitlement from the onesie-wearing stage.
I haven’t sorted out my own opinions well enough to be perfectly consistent with Fluffy. She knows I have a low tolerance for princess talk and that when we’re telling stories she has to come up with characters other than fairies and princesses. She knows in a general way that “Mommy doesn’t like princesses,” yet I authored her pink “Princess Room”, put up her pink Christmas tree, have taken her on a princess date and even bought her the (gulp) “Barbie Princess Charm School” DVD. For shame!