the crystal ball is showing a fast approaching fog

Cod grant me coherent sentences to articulate these ideas to Peanut when (seems too optimistic to say “if”) she finds herself in the princess stage. Any of you dealt with it already?

I pilfered this graphic from spacebook. I would love to give its maker proper credit. But I haven’t a fucking clue who its maker is. So if you know, please fill me in so I can give credit where it’s due.

And jaysus the waists on Disney women just kill me. Blarg.

0 Comments on “the crystal ball is showing a fast approaching fog

  1. Disney movies are a perfect illustration of what I do not like about the ridiculous artificiality of the prevailing beauty ideal. I guess it’s an American thing originally, but unfortunately it has steamrolled cultures the world over.

  2. Well, I’m dealing with being a princess-resistant stepmom. My husband’s two children live with us half the time and the girl(8yrs.) has been in thrall for the past three years…In the beginning I listened politely to her princess stories and her enthusiasm, until one day I announced that I’ve actually never liked princesses, let alone wanted to be one. I wasn’t being harsh or anything, merely said this in a neutral way, but she looked at me like I was crazy 😀 (I’ve never been too fond of babies, either, but I always used to take really great care of my teddy bear, monkey and other furry toys as a child. And had a fascination for trolls and such.) I want to be the true me to my stepdaughter, but I also respect her interest in princesses, and she has plenty of other – and more wholesome – interests, as well. I even bought her a crown for this Christmas, my only contribution to the whole ‘business’ and it’s not made out of plastic, mind you.

  3. Funny story Sara. Pretty easy to shock the young uns isn’t it?

    I have to say, I don’t have anything against princesses, per say. I mean, I’m not into monarchies or anything, but there are some stories that feature some badass princesses that I would feel good about my daughter emulating. I’m just not into the meekling, waiting to be married to my prince in order to find value in my life, Disney variety. And like I said THOSE WAISTS. Sheesh. When is Disney going to make female character who doesn’t look like an hourglass?

  4. Just be harsh if the kid gets into the princess thing. Tell her that in real life, princesses are the rich girl that everyone hates, the ones that have all the stuff, but lack real friends, they are the property of the king and married off to fat old men in exchange for land or political favors and are often murdered by peasants.
    I did this with my sisters kids and they switched to unicorns.

  5. I’m with you on the Disney thing. I happen to come from the land of the Moomintrolls and they’ve also been turned into these Disney-type, easy-to-digest things which I hate. The original books had edge.

    Thanks, cheesegan, for the reality check, I must be a real softie :)(&conventional, semi-bourgeois etc.) I’ve often wished my mother had had stronger convictions about the important stuff. I detest unicorns, however.

  6. cheesegan: Heh, that is a pretty amusing way to tackle the problem. Sounds effective too. Good sides of princessdom to bring up with kids too to balance out the Disney bullshit.

    What I want most of all isn’t to eventually get the message “princesses are stupid” across, but to get the message across as to why the ladies in these stories, especially the Disney versions, are particularly non-interesting, about how the stories make their value completely rely on marriage and men, etc, etc. I want her to be able to figure out the difference between an air-headed hour glass princess and a badass princess born into what sounds like it is probably a pretty situation in real life.

    Haha, and now that I’ve already put so much thought into this, I’m sure Peanut will turn out to be totally into dragons and bugs and like totally other sexist cartoon propaganda that I don’t even know exists, thus making all my premeditations in this department futile.

    I also feel I have to note that I loved the little mermaid and cinderella and all those damn Disney cartoons when I was a kid, and I still managed to become the way I am. But having grown up to question this stuff hasn’t changed the effect I think it has probably had on me as far as beauty standards and accepting sexist shit as the status quo way too much in the past. Here’s to a world with more strong female role models and less air-headed hour-glass princesses!

  7. i never really had a princess stage, if that’s any consolation. i think some of these super girly things are kind of a package deal & i don’t really see you encouraging your kid that way, so maybe she’ll have no idea who any of these sparkly waifs are.

    that being said, i watched a lot of disney with my younger sisters, & i did always have a soft spot for belle. reading was her passion, she refused to marry the super-masculine asshole pretty boy, & then fell in love with the beast. as far as crappy disney princesses go, i think she’s the best. if it does happen, just try to talk about the good qualities. (if the heroine has any…)

  8. RHRealityCheck ran a point-counterpoint about the Royal wedding. The woman dealing with her daughter’s princess phase used the opportunity as a teachable moment, informing her daughter that beyond the magic of a “commoner becoming a princess,” Kate worked hard to educate herself AND was a young professional. While the writer trotted out the old hat about royal women volunteering with charities, she showed that it wasn’t Kate’s beauty alone that caught her Prince William.

    You might balance her potential love of fantasy princesses with real-life examples. It may dampen her zeal! “You have to go to college, get really good grades AND work real hard to catch one of these guys? No, thanks. I’m going back to my shoebox toy-trucks and corn-cob dollies now.”

  9. just have to say…one big, huge, giant vote for the Moomins!!! Totally beautiful set of books, especially Finn Family Moomintroll.
    I read them over and over again when I was a kid and many of the images stay with me in my travelling. Especially when I’m doing exploring kind of things like going into caves or following rivers. It manages to capture a world where everything is totally new and strange and frightening, on the edge of real darkness, the Groke for example, but somehow completely safe at the same time. Wow, there are loads of fantastic images in these books; hope you get a chance to read them.

  10. I would certainly recommend the original Moomin books both for you and for Peanut, so there’s two votes for them in these comments 🙂 I’ve read them in Finnish(the originals are in Swedish, our second official language), good to hear they work in English as well. I also have many images and anecdotes that I carry with me from these books, since I grew up with them.

  11. I read a really interesting article a while back which I can’t find now, of course, about how kids go through a stage where they really want to gender identify right about when they hit 6. They want to be the girliest girl they can be. What is the girliest girl in our society? A pink princess. Disney just figured out how to capitalize on this phase. The same way little boys really get into cars, or sports, or cowboys. They are working on identifying themselves as male by liking the manliest men our society has.

    Could you avoid the princess stage by emphasizing that women who play guitars and wear combat boots are the most feminine? Don’t know.

    Wish I could find that article for you, but all that comes up with “princess stage of development” in google is princess stage makeup. Or sexual orientation stuff.

  12. Hi!! I just wrote about a version of this princessey stuff on my last blog post here:
    Being the parent of a daughter is tricky business in this day and age but the coolest moms I know seem to navigate the girly border of culture by just letting their girls be who they want to be that moment. Sometimes that means pink things. Culture will be screaming at her but that is nowhere near as strong as the gentle whisper she’ll have had from you since before she was born as to how to honor her truth. I love reading your blog posts and look forward to following your journey. Cheers!

  13. I’m dealing with this to some degree now with my 3 year old daughter. She saw the image in the post and got all coo-y and gushy and pointed out the one she liked best. I’m finding it all a bit weird because I never cared for “girly” things growing up. That may have been because I picked up early on the idea that girls did not get much respect in my family, so I developed a knack for behaving in a way that let people forget I was a girl. Anyway, I just assumed that since I had no plans to intentionally steer my kid toward that stuff, she would be unlikely to become immersed in it. Obviously that’s not the case. Ultimately though, I respect the views and interests of my children and don’t try to undermine them. I feel it’s most important to be able to talk out concerns as they become more able to articulate their attraction to certain forms of media. Last year I read a book about the insidious forms of marketing aimed at children and talked about what I was learning extensively with my son, now 8, and about how these issues affected him. He began to see signs of it everywhere. It made him much more conscious of the manipulation and outright lies that were affecting how he formed opinions and developed interests. It was an important step for us because he was deeply susceptible to marketing messages. But my daughter’s not. She clearly takes the elements she likes of something and leaves the rest. She cares not one whit if something is marketed toward her. She knows exactly what she thinks and what she likes. So I buy her Disney Princess Barbies because she digs the dress, or wants a princess to play knights with her brother, and I don’t worry that it is corrupting her or altering her idea of what a woman should be. It would be difficult to think that way when Snow White Barbie is crushing all the invading dragons.

    At the root of this lies the question, “Can we make our convictions our children’s convictions?” The popular answer is yes, but I disagree in general. Children are people. People differ. The best you can do is to share and listen and provide a safe space for them to do the same.

  14. Rachele: I couldn’t agree more. And out of curiosity, which princess did she like best?

    At the end of the day I don’t care if my daughter likes princesses or not, likes pink or not, wants to dress up in sparkly princess shit or not. But I do want to be able to explain the sexism inherent in all these characters to her so that she doesn’t just accept it as the way it is and incorporate it into her view of herself and her goals. I definately think that, when kids turn out to have the same convictions as their parents, its more luck than anything–luck that their personalities can jive in that way. Seems just as likely that your kids would turn out to have completely different ideas about everything, particularly if you are interested in teaching them how to think for themselves, which I know I would like to do.

    So many interesting things to come in the next years! I love even thinking about it.

  15. Ariel – a novelty, I suspect. We’ve never watched the little mermaid. I always felt Disney messed up that particular fairy tale more than the others.

  16. It seems interesting from a guys point of view because I was thinking of your post and how cliche it is. But the stereotyping kind of goes both ways for the sexes. I mean aren’t men promoted to be attracted to dim witted hour glass girls? I actually almost ended up marrying my first gf who was the air head princess type.

    I find it interesting that pochahontas isn’t in the above post. I never much cared for the movie but I thought she was a pretty strong character. I think maybe because it mostly spoke to my pagan roots.

  17. Eyecon: Good point and something I didn’t think to mention explicitly since I posted this specifically thinking about the effect that Disney princesses could have on Peanut aka female children, but of course sexism in cartoons also has a negative effect on men. Though unfortunately the negative effect it has on men is to teach them that treating women in a sexist way is normal which I would argue isn’t quite as damaging as being taught that you are an object and then being treated as such. But it’s part of the problem for men too and Disney’s not doing them any favors either.

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