Archive for September, 2012

A year ago I wa…

A year ago I was instructed to look up an article that would affect the family and review it. I chose “The Little Princess Syndrome: When Our Daughters Act Out Fairy Tales” by Matthew Johnson. I knew about the ‘Princess Phase’ the so called “phase” when a young girl is obsessed with princesses and princes and mice that turn into pumpkins. I had gone through it, I remember crying when my parents told me I was not secretly royalty. My hopes to live an exciting, magical, romantic life were dashed. Because only princesses get that kind of stuff right? Gradually my longing to be a princess turned into my longing to be popular (the new kind of princess right?) And then, as I sat reading the article it all came together. I find this subject very interesting. And so I thought I’d share my findings. Don’t get me wrong, I love dressup and Disney just as any other girl does. But just like cheesecake, too much is bad. And even a little without proper guidance is terrible.

What is The Little Princess Syndrome? The absolute obsession of all things princess. When a girl has to have everything princess and her play time revolves around the prince and looks. Tell tale signs? Rejection of any criticism of princesses, embodying their story lines (one article I read had mothers writing in about their daughters no longer playing but sitting on the doorstep waiting for their prince to come.) Having to look exactly like the princess.. or at least have all the stuff she’s on. Sounds an awful lot like marketing right? If you wear/have/look like X you will get your dreams. Matthew Johnson points out: “being a princess brings girls wealth, beauty, and romance… As girls get older, the worrying aspects of princess culture -the passivity, consumerism, and so on- may become more and more confining.” Lyn Brown of Packaging Girlhood says “The issue is not princess play but the sheer dominance of princess culture: “when one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice; it’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing.’ 

That’s the scariest thing. You can tell a child’s character often by how they play and what they play, or if they refuse to play. Remember your parents saying “its a phase, you’ll get over it?” And remember growing up and saying, I wish they would have taught me rather than brushing it off rather than labeling it a phase? Same thing with Disney: you have a girl who talks only about a prince and getting ready for the ball and having to dress up in order so that he may see “the true her”, you will get a teen who talks only about boys, obsesses over looks and buys the clothes she thinks will attract the boy so that he can know “the real her”. This teen then grows into a woman, and pretty soon you’ve got a grade A scary woman who believes there is nothing more important in life than “to find her one true love”. Completely neglecting the little hints in the movies that the girl who actually gets the guy is kind, funny, generous, compassionate and smart. 

So after the “Princess Phase” without any correction or guidance, when the girl grows up you are left with _ huge issues:
1) If I am beautiful then and only then I am worthy of finding true love/ having true love find me
   -Sub-point: definition of beautiful is often referred back to princesses (animated, unrealistic, manage to look good all the time).
2) The only thing that will make my life complete and happy is finding my “prince”
3) If he isn’t my prince/true love it won’t work.

Next time I will be delving into the subliminal messages Disney has managed to send. Stay tooned!


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