Sunday, November 27, 2011

More princess talk

This weekend, I was given two of the best gifts I’ve had all year– our friends visiting from out of town each provided a guest blog, sparing me, for the first time in over 300 days, from the daily drudgery of coming up with a blog subject. My gratitude is boundless.

I was also interested to see their takes on the princess discussion I had introduced in an earlier blog. And while apologizing to readers who do not particularly care about princesses or Disney and are already bored by this subject, I can’t help weighing in again with my .2 cents...

Do I think interest in Disney princesses will condemn my daughter to a life of eating disorders, sexual submissiveness, appearance obsession and pink convertibles? I do not.

Will she encounter Disney stories, movies and characters during her lifetime? Absolutely. And hopefully she'll come through the experience with a kind of affection and nostalgia that most of us have for the fictional characters we met in our youth. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

That said, as a mother raising a daughter in a mass-media dominated society which is constantly telling women and girls that their value lies in their beauty, sexuality and youth, I feel that a certain amount of diligence and proactive effort is required.

I feel it is my duty to be aware of what is she is being exposed to – through the books, games, puzzles, music, videos, etc. I think about what messages she is receiving through these various mediums – do they promote friendship, empathy, social responsibility, or do they talk about winning, appearance, and selfish behaviour?

I also feel it is my responsibility as a parent to be aware of how my daughter, given her age and development, absorbs and responds to the messaging around her. The way a two year-old understands a message will be very different than how an eight year-old or teenager will respond.

While the messaging of Disney princesses may not be entirely negative, I need to be aware of how she is receiving it.

There may always be princesses – I just need to be sure they’re not the ones raising my daughter.

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