When I started this blog a few short weeks ago, it was envisioned as a humorous take on having a daughter after 3 boys. Anecdotes, a light hear-ted look at the problems us men have to face when raising a girl. Dating, the fear of teenage pregnancies, boyfriends etc. In the short time I’ve been writing it has evolved, along with myself, into a look at how we raise girls in society.
I’ve found myself spending what little time alone I get pondering stereotyping, gender specifics, schooling etc.
This evening I found myself flicking through a list of Disney movies. I love a good Disney Movie. Bambi (I cried like a baby), Sleeping Beauty (Does anyone know all Seven of the dwarfs without resorting to Google?) Cinderella etc. All of these, considering the time they were made it’s understandable, give girls the aspiration of being a princess. There are no such films for boys? I don’t recall ever turning around and wishing I was a prince. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, play for Tottenham and score the winning goal at Wembley, be a soldier etc the normal list of boys perfect jobs. (Ask me today and the list hasn’t changed lol) Yet you cannot just become a princess you must be born to it, or a prince marry you. So we are giving girls an impossible start. An impossible dream.
Even modern films for girls haven’t really moved on. Frozen still has girls wanting to be either Elsa or Anna, both princesses.
Even when fathers are talking about their girls, the number of times I see or hear them being referred to as “Daddy’s Little Princess”Is it any wonder then, that the girls of today are obsessed with image, clothes that reveal so much an imagination is not called for. Make up and beauty products being sold to and worn by an ever decreasing age of girls.
You can even book a Princess Pamper Party for your daughter, where her and her friends will be dressed and made up like little princesses. Obviously no boys allowed.
Is there a way to avoid this? My boys have watched Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Frozen (I quite like that one, maybe because of Olaf) Do I ban them from the house once #BabyPink is old enough. Do we stick to Doc McStuffins, a decent role model for young girls. A child vet to toys.
In every princess story there is also a wicked witch. Does this lead girls to believe they must be one or the other. Sweet and kind or mean and spiteful? Is this why girls can be so bitchy? I know my boys watch a lot of action centered films and programs. So far this has not been an issue. They have their moments. Sometimes the disagreement over who is the Black Ranger and who is the Red Ranger ends in handbags before the game has started, but that’s boys. Sure I remember breaking branches off of trees, stripping them, putting black trousers and tops on and playing ninjas with my friends.
Why then am I so against Disney Princesses and all they stand for. Do i think that by watching these princesses my little girl will dream a handsome prince will ride up on a white horse and whisk her off to his castle? Meaning she wont want to become a Dr, Lawyer or some other prestigious job.
All her little friends will be playing at princess.Watching princesses and dreaming they were a princess. Is it fair to deny her that simple pleasure? Am I over thinking and worrying about the wrong things? Should I be looking into how to avoid eating disorders, finding out how I can make sure she has the confidence and self belief to wear what she wants, have her hair the way she wants,not to worry her thighs are too big in those jeans, that she can be and do anything she sets her mind to.
Oh now I’m back thinking OMG it’s a girl and the headache has returned. Time for bed and waking up tomorrow to the sweet little girl with the glint in her eye that for now is just happy to sit in my lap and pull the odd smile and poke her tongue out at me, whilst waiting for her bottle.