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By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog. Please bear with me because you might find something useful here after all. My daughter is just over two years old. Her mom and I love her with the heat of a thousand suns and we want the best for her. We want her to become faithful, independent minded, strong-willed, kind, and courageous. We want her to be herself. The bulk of the section on media discusses pornography. My referring to her as little and tiny was done with affection. The trouble is that the media and toys I expose my daughter to might bring such consequences about unless I help her navigate the right and wrong, the good from bad.
This post includes a brief overview of the book and a few tips especially for d like me who want to help their girls be mighty girls. In T he Princess Problem, Rebecca Hains describes four main problems of princess culture: the beauty ideal, the gender stereotypes, the racial stereotypes, and the pervasive marketing that spre princess culture far and wide. First, think about the marketing.
The pervasive marketing. Try as you might to keep your daughter away from princesses. And Hains points to research suggesting that princess marketing is particularly potent because it exploits a normal childhood stage of development By the time they hit preschool, kids are paying attention to gender. In contrast to a variety of boy-aimed products, though, girls are offered mostly princess products thereby limiting their options. According to Hains, contemporary princess culture is hyper-focused on appearance.
The positive reinforcement little girls receive from adults and friends helps solidify their self-perception as princesses. A little girl dressed in a little princess dress will hear compliments about how pretty she looks more often being praised for her interests or abilities This mentality persists through adulthood.
On a recent People magazine cover I saw stories about four different women. The standard for princesses and for many of these women on magazine covers is perfection. Girls need a variety of women role models to emulate, women who have struggles and failures and who take risks, or else they may find themselves too afraid of thinking outside the box for fear of being perceived as imperfect Speaking of role models, Cute lds girl looking for prince charming only takes a moment of reflection to see that knocking down Disney princesses is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Belle falls in love with an emotionally abusive beast. Ariel literally gives up her voice and alters her body in pursuit of a guy she just barely met. Jasmine acts sexy, using her body to fool a villain. Most princesses are white, with a few minority princesses included presumably to represent their entire race. The women in these stories spend more time being acted upon than acting see Hains, Sounds pretty bleak. On the bright side, Hains found that more recent princesses buck some of the stereotypes perpetuated by the classic princesses.
For instance, these women matter even apart from their connection to a male figure even while the importance of healthy relationships with others is not overlooked She writes:. Rather, it is to help girls reason through the problems with princesses and see that there are many other ways to be a girl—to help unfetter their imaginations and help them dream a multiplicity of dreams. This book is actually about teaching your children to be savvy media critics. See, I actually plan on letting my kids watch films like The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beastand other classics.
Long-suffering, kindness, inquisitiveness, and other positive things are also on display. Girls can benefit from imperfect media.
Rather than protecting children by filtering out every potentially problematic toy or show, parents can empower their children by teaching them to be smart media consumers. I recommend reading the whole book to get the full effect, but the basic steps pop-culture coaching are:. Establish a healthy media diet for your children. This includes the amount of screen time kids are allowed as well as the types of programs they are allowed to watch. The book gives a lot of tips for each step, but steps three and four seem the most important to me.
Hains encourages parents to use media to directly address stereotypes and difficult issues rather than forcing children to avoid all media:. Acknowledge her comments and answer her questions. Always let her know that you are listening to her, and that her ideas are important to you. You empower her to employ critical thinking and you show her that you value her perspective and that you have an important perspective to offer as well.
Hains argues that one of the best ways to communicate our values to our kids is by discussing them in connection with books, movies, and toys. Finally, teaching your daughters to be critical and wise regarding princess culture can be especially helpful in the event that people outside the home employ princess culture for parties, educational purposes, or other reasons. Princesses are everywhere. The best I can hope to do is give my daughter options—to help her become more assertive and critical in the thoughtful senseto empower her to be the mighty girl I know she can be.
Rebecca C. I strongly recommend it. Provide alternative role models instead of princesses. See pp. One of my daughters is majoring in neuroscience. She is on fire considering what contributions to the world she can make.
Just this morning I got a message from her about a TED talk she had watched talking about the future of neuroscience. I can do Cute lds girl looking for prince charming Real words of wisdom here. Thanks for this. As the parents of four daughters, I fear that we might have been too laissez-faire with princesses and barbie movies which are just terrible but the girls loved them when they were little. But we have open discussion about media and about the negative messaging in the princess and barbie films, so perhaps it will work out in the end.
Also, I appreciate that today we can pick and choose our media with so much more ease. Thanks, Blair. Love this, Blair. My daughter has never been interested in it, either, so we never went through any of this. However, I have friends who are all about the princess for themselves and their daughters. I am all for self-awareness about it which I think is one of the points of the OPbut I also think that lots of pain can be avoided if we are less one-size-fits-all for ourselves as well as for others.
As Hains suggests, as well as many other health care oriented specialists, parents should focus on general principles of eating healthy, exercising, etc. I just added to my post a tip of the cap to Neylan McBaine in the post, who just yesterday blogged about a problematic New Era feature from February She is two.
Getting rid of the TV altogether would help considerably so there cannot be a daily diet of princess media. You choose the books she re. When my oldest was little our weekly trip to the local library was a highlight of excitement and we read the books avidly until the next trip.
The rest of the time he played his own games and exercised his imagination, sometimes based on the stories we read. By the time our daughter came along the TV was back, but we had few videos and watched them seldom.
My daughter went through a little bit of a princess phase — we tried to balance it out with other classics of Western civilization, like Brigadoon, The Wizard of Oz, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I pointed out to her at a young age that the early Princess movies had marriage to that prince as the ultimate goal Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella.
Later movies often carry the implication that girls should not listen to their fathers, because fathers are wrong Little Mermaid. She can often come home from Young Women and complain how activities and lessons often resemble a Disney movie, where a temple wedding to a returned missionary is the ultimate goal in life and if one achieves that, the rest is easy and automatic.
Well, Queen of Night goes without saying Peter — the girls have loved her arias and the entire opera since their earliest cognizant days. I have two girls. We managed to avoid the princess stuff. Neither of my girls were obsessed with princess stuff. It can be done! It was a fun stage and I grew out of it. My young daughter likes princesses, but not princes. I would discourage parents from letting them watch too many movies of any sort too often. Help introduce them to other interesting things like science and nature.
Read to them about many other topics. This is good advice for boys as well.
I highly recommend the book So Sexy So Soon. Jenny: in the book, Rebecca Hains discusses the disparities between the films and the toys. Our stake has had entire camps built around that theme. The girls are taught to think of their princess status when choosing clothing, hairstyles, attitudes, and behaviors and they still end up looking in the mirror for validation of their choices. Leaders try to reappropriate rather than counter or even balance princess culture.
The girls come away uplifted, believing that because of their divine heritage God will make them into the princesses they want to be and are deep inside. Just like a Disney movie. They have such a challenging job. As a father of six daughters one son I can appreciate them in ways I never could have before I had. I want to add an AMEN!
I rarely tell anyone to avoid a specific production, but I try to always counsel thoughtfulness, personal awareness, balance, and responsibility. I also want to put in a good word for the media creators out there who are trying to make things better. So, those of you who are trying to make a difference in this from the production side, carry on. Oh, by the way, Brenda Chapman wrote and is credited as a director on Brave. That was at least one before Frozen. Excellent work. Thanks for linking, Ben. I had a section of the post that pointed to 19th century LDS leaders and their views on novels that suggested some of the same things Hains suggests but the post was already too long.
My daughter is well immersed in the Princess thing, but is very independent about the way she does it. Earlier this month we were at Tokyo Disneyland. This time around we wanted to get her one of the ones from Frozen and the only way to do so was to go to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.
We tried getting them just to sell us the dress, but noooo the only way was to do the whole make-up, hair and photos shemozzle. It was ALL about churning out replicas.Cute lds girl looking for prince charming
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