12/02/2010

Don't Cha Wish Your Princess Was Hot Like Me

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day that I would grow up and marry the prince. I would be the beautiful princess who lived in a beautiful castle. I would travel by carriage and and have lots of beautiful babies and life would be forever blissful.... with tiaras...

Laugh, I know. But, wasn't that your dream too? And wasn't it wonderful?

Maybe I don't really live in a castle and maybe I'm not really a princess. I don't even own a tiara *sigh*, but, it was a wonderful dream that helped shape my future. I was shocked and alarmed the other day when I read that Disney will no longer be making princess movies. They cited 2 reasons: 1. they want to target boys as well and boys think princesses are boring (ok, I get that one) 2. 5/6 year old girls no longer dream of being princesses, but instead long to be "hot" and "cool".

WHAT???? No more princesses????

Actually according to an interview by the NY Times, Disney says:

"Among girls, princesses and the romanticized ideal they represent — revolving around finding the man of your dreams — have a limited shelf life. With the advent of "tween" TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models such as the Disney Channel's Selena Gomez and Nickelodeon's Miranda Cosgrove.

"By the time they're 5 or 6, they're not interested in being princesses," said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois University and an expert in the role of media in children's lives. "They're interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values."
"

Yikes!!! Scary!!!

But, are we really surprised? The last time I glanced at the clothes in "Justice", they looked more like something I would see in "The Limited" or "Express", not in a clothing store for children. Little girls are dressed in bare midriffs and low cut jeans. Bikinis are the norm even among infants. Even the cartoons and shows on the Disney Channel are showing that "Less" is sexy and sexy is cool. Ad campaigns show provocatively posed models smiling and happy. Slender, beautiful (airbrushed) models who appear to have perfect lives. So from the time they are born, society is telling our girls that the way to get ahead in life is to flaunt their sexuality. Really? Is that what we want our little girls to learn? The American Psychological Association has shown that sexualization in women and young women has been linked to "three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression."


This year my family attended a large Halloween party. I was shocked at the number of young women who I felt were inappropriately dressed. Plunging necklines and skirts so short you were afraid they'd bend over. These girls came from educated, affluent families. The interesting thing though, is that it wasn't the young men or mothers I heard whispering about the costumes, it was the men, the fathers. They were the ones saying, "I can't believe her parents let her wear that!" "Doesn't she know that it's not just the boys who noticed, but all of the older men too?" Of course she didn't! At their age, these girls and young women don't realize they are attracting the wrong kind of attention. They don't think that way. That is why they have parents !

Not only were they attracting the wrong kind of attention, but they were also inviting the wrong group. The boys who would respect her for the amazing girl that she is would not want anything to do with her, but the boys who were looking for an easy lay, were sure to be attracted. The only people attracted to her were the ones who were attracted for all the wrong reasons.

I don't have girls, but I associate with quite a bit of youth, and I can tell the ones who believe in themselves and carry themselves with an aire of self confidence. We do them such an injustice when we teach them that their sexuality is their best asset (it is only their best asset when they want their husbands to buy them a new pair of boots, or a new purse or a new car.... just kidding... I think :). The interesting thing is that the self confident young women who show their self confidence in dress, speech and actions, attract just as many boys as the sexual ones.
It is the caliber of boys that is the difference.

Our little girls are quickly loosing their
innocence, and there is no way to shield them from all of the sexuality that is thrown their way. But, we can talk to them. We can bring it to their attention and call it what it is. We can let them know how amazing they are; that the shape of their body is NOT their best asset. Their best asset is what is inside. We can tell them over and over and over from the moment that they utter their first word that the images they are seeing are not real or even realistic and that the way for them to be happy, truly happy, is to first learn to love themselves. And then maybe if we are open and honest and a little lucky, they too, will be able to grow up to be princesses... with tiaras.

"The world will teach our children if we do not... What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today." -Rosemary M. Wixom

Whaddya think?




7 comments:

  1. I vote bring back the princesses! And Shay, I got an inexpensive tiara at the craft store, and I sometimes wear it while cleaning the house. You should try it. It adds an extra bounce to your step while you mop the floor. Great post. I fear for my son. By the time he grows up what will all of these little girls have turned into? Scary.

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  2. Shay,
    I liked your post. You may enjoy reading this article: http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Standards-Night-Is-Substandard-Teaching-Sexuality-to-the-Young-Women?offset=0&max=1

    I thought it was great!

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  3. It is scary raising a little girl. I worry about her constantly. Thankfully she is a smart and sensitive little girl. She is very aware of clothing choices and choosing to be modest. I know that my vigilance will have to continue and keep an open relationship with her. I'm doubly thankful she has a wonderful relationship with her dad and they talk about everything together. I just hope other moms are raising their girls the same way for my boys.

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  4. Shay,
    Thanks for your post, I was not aware that Disney is going to stop the Princess movies! I don't even have words to describe how sad that makes me feel. I worry about my daughter growing up in this world that has an increased acceptance for sexuality at a young age. I can't believe they are targeting 5 and 6 year old girls for this! They shouldn't have to worry anything at this age, let alone about being sexy! Anyway, thanks for the post.

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  6. I recall helping you change into your "evening gown" for the 'Miss Chapin' pageant and feeling very sad and disappointed for many of the other beautiful High School young women. Their mothers (who were not of our faith) were helping them change into revealing dresses and were actually encouraging it.

    In regard to a comment Lauren made on fb, this is one of the main reasons I sewed for my girls and encouraged them to learn to do the same. After leaving my home, it would be up to them to use the skill set or not, however, they would at least have the knowledge to do so.

    Finally, I work with little children in my profession. Needless to say, I have had to 'stock up' on more Princess games in the past year...and even the boys have asked to play with them, which has surprised me. Perhaps a different market survey would be in order for Disney.....

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  7. I had to make another post as soon as I heard the news this morning. I couldn't believe my ears when they were claiming it is the fault of the "Princess" obsession in little girls, why we have girls wanting to be more "sexy". To the point of some woman writing a book called 'Cinderella Ate my Daughter'. The Author blames the push on young girls ages 2 and 3 for their sexy behavior when they are older, claiming that they want to be more like the real life princesses, such as Miley Cirus, when they are only 5 or 6. How in the world can someone get sex appeal from a Princess?! Who, all she wants is to find her prince and live happily ever after?! I don't know about you, but I found this obsurd and wanted to throw a Disney princess movie at this lady.

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