The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls through the Princess-Obsessed Years by Rebecca Hains was released last week, the latest in the books about Princess Culture--especially that spawned by Disney's marketing machine. Since fairy tales usually get painted by this brush, I thought I would share. The book only references "fairy tale" itself 14 times but of course, fairy tale heroines are the discussion, at least those as portrayed in popular culture.
My thoughts on some of this appeared in my post almost four years ago for New Book: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture and More Cinderella Ate My Daughter.
These days my four-year-old niece is Disney princess obsessed which has one of her grandmothers--my mother--more than a little twitchy. Their playtime consists of lines from my mother like, "Oh Cinderella, you are pretty in your dress and slippers but I am really interested in a smart girl who went to college." I observed such last week when I visited. So I understand the concern of all and am curious to see how this all pans out in my own family. I'm not too worried because this niece--my second one--is extremely independent and she is going to get plenty of alternate fairy tale imagery in the years to come since she is related to me. And when I share stories with her, she is quite thrilled with Three Billy Goats Gruff. But, yes, she is princess obsessed which can be disconcerting to those who love her. The first niece, now 11, had her Disney phase but it wasn't as long or enduring. She hasn't been interested in a princess in years. These days she wants to be either a scientist astronaut or a super villain depending on her mood.
How to Raise Empowered Girls in a Princess World
It's no secret that little girls love princesses. Behind the twirly dresses and glittery crowns, however, sits a powerful marketing machine, encouraging obsessive consumerism and delivering negative stereotypes about gender, race, and beauty to young girls. So what's a parent to do?
The Princess Problem features real advice and stories from parents, educators, psychologists, and children's industry insiders to help equip every parent with skills to navigate today's princess-saturated world. As parents, we do our best to keep pop culture's most harmful stereotypes away from our kids, but contending with well-meaning family members and sneaky commercials can thwart us.
The Princess Problem offers language to have honest conversations with our kids and shows us how to teach them to be thoughtful, open-minded people.