25 February 2012

Barbie, Princesses and Self Esteem

 When I was little I played with Barbie. I never looked at her and thought that I needed to be tall, skinny and blonde for society to deem me beautiful. (Mainly because I played with brunette barbies, but whatever.) I never read a fairytale and said, "Holy shit, I need a Prince Charming in order to be happy one day!"

Disney is no longer making princess movies because they apparently teach little girls outdated ideals and gender specific roles. I don't really care that they are, I'm not a fan of princesses, but it's the basis of  why they're doing it that bothers me. I think people are reading too far into what is suppose to be innocent and fun.

 I don't think that dolls are the starting point for eating disorders. I don't think that fairy tales teach girls that they need a man for their dreams to come true. I don't think that wearing a pink tutu and plastic heels teaches little girls to be submissive and passive. I think that just like the Cookie Monster deal, it's all about what parents are teaching their children.

 I know that parents can not avoid their child getting picked on for one thing or another. It's inevitable that one day my daughter, all our children, will feel less than beautiful. It's our job as parents to teach them that they are and that beauty is about character. It's up to us to show them beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors That seems like a pretty easy and understandable concept to bypass raising a shallow person, despite what one's childhood interests may be.

14 Thoughts :

Venassa February 25, 2012 at 4:17 PM  

I completely agree. I watched all Disney movies, played with Barbies like crazy and yet I still turned out normal. How a child turns out has a lot less to do with what they do or watch and more so what they learn from their parents.

Holly February 25, 2012 at 5:49 PM  

I agree with this too. I was pretty girly as a kid, I watched every Disney movie and played with Barbies regularly...and I still don't feel like it impacted me negatively.
I think, if girls/women have body image or self esteem issues, there has to be more causing them than simply having watched movies or played with toys.

Stephanie February 25, 2012 at 7:19 PM  

I'm with ya too! I'm sure we will still have our fair share of Disney princess movies.

marie February 25, 2012 at 7:45 PM  

No more princess movies? Wow, it's the end of an era. I played with Barbies for so many years but never thought I had to look like her. I just had fun playing make believe.

Along these lines the whole 'don't buy your kids toy guns', that's fine and all and I am not a fan of guns, but I am a huge fan of Lego's. The other day my son came downstairs with a gun made out of Lego's. Watcha gonna do?

kyna... February 26, 2012 at 1:03 AM  

My little one is OBSESSED with the Disney Princesses right now...and she is constantly asking me things like "Do I look pretty mommy? Look at my beautiful skirt"...I never was a girly girl, so I never put too much emphasis on looking pretty as I was growing up. I was such a tom boy. But now that I have a super girly girl, I know, more than ever, how important it is to teach her that beauty comes from within!
♥ Kyna

Jilean February 26, 2012 at 1:58 AM  

couldn't agree more! Society places the blame on everything else before the parents when we should really be looking at how they are being raised. While I know that i will never be a perfect parent or have a perfect child, I hope their learn true values and humility!

Melanie February 26, 2012 at 2:29 AM  

I will give you an amen... & a hallelujah sista! There's nothing wrong w/ a little bit of fairy tale, as long as you know it's just that... a fairy tale!

Becoming Supermommy February 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM  

I'm in the anti-princess camp. Not because I object to playing dress up or dancing or singing songs, and not because I object to the "true love" themes...

But there ARE lessons in those movies. And it's not just about a woman's need for a man to make her happy.

It's the more subtle stuff. Like Beast and Gaston treating Belle as a piece of meat- like the movie using essentially a date-rape scene as comedy. Or like Jasmine using her sexuality as her only weapon, when we KNOW how smart she is and how competent- why is it that the only way she can distract Jafar is by seducing him? Or how Cinderella gets to go from her emotionally abusive mother's house to the violent and possibly homicidal king's castle... and his violence is acceptable and comical.

The overall morals are one thing, it's the tone of the whole that really really really bugs me.

...I wrote a lot about this. I have twin girls (2 and a half years old now), and I'm expecting girl #3. And I would much rather watch versions of those fairy tales that don't include the subtexts of domestic violence at least.

Here: Some Day My Prince Will Come (And Things Will Just Get A Whole Lot Worse)

Marjorie February 26, 2012 at 1:17 PM  

totally agree. so sick of this big government crap when it comes to kids toys, movies and food. it's all about parenting. period. kids can eat every healthy thing in the book, but if they go home to MacDonald's every night and junk food they will be obese. it's all about teaching self control and making the right choices. we can't protect kids from everything, so we have to teach them how to make judgements and good decisions.

Danielle-Marie February 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM  

I love this post. So very true!

Shannon February 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM  

Ugh. I have a friend who is deadly set against the Disney Princess thing and it drives me a little bonkers.

It's all about parenting. End of story. Excellent post.

Krista February 27, 2012 at 9:32 AM  

Totally agree Sean!

Kristin February 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM  

100% agree!! Very well said!

Chaton T. Turner February 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM  

I missed the domestic violence subtext in the Disney films. I may have been too distracted by the pretty colors and the music... That being said, I agree with your overall point. We have to be careful about the messages that we send our children. They're very impressionable. I'm a lawyer and I recall as a younger single lawyer talking with other young single lawyers about whether we should lie about our profession to men at bars. We thought a less impressive job would be more attractive. Did we get that as a subliminal message from Disney movies or simply learn to be conniving in law school? Who knows. I think that it's noteworthy that Britain has one of the most stable monarchs in the world and it is lead by its queen. However, there are no stories about a poor little boy who was lucky enough to marry a queen. Check out a piece on my blog about girls, mothers and math at http://chatonsworld.blogspot.com. It discusses a related topic.