Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pretty pretty princesses with bad attitudes

"Smile for the Camera" by Brianna Garcia.

Before I had children, I said that I didn't want my kids exposed to the Disney Princess monolith. I didn't care for the fact that the majority were white, sweet, nice and subservient in their baby pink frocks. I didn't care that the majority of the story was about falling in love and getting the man of their dreams.

But it's hard to avoid the Princess monolith when you have a baby girl. It's like trying to avoid the color pink, dresses or sparkles (Not that there's anything wrong with pink and sparkly dresses. I will say Benevolent Dictator has gotten me in touch with my girlier side, which is kind of fun). The more you attempt to avoid it, the more your child will gravitate towards it.

We tried man. We tried. Then we got this:

This is not the Disney Princesses I approve of.

It is one of the books that I'm trying to "lose". I hate that I don't want to read this book to her, but it's seriously pissing me off. The worst story is the one with Ariel and her first day as a human and running into Prince Eric. Who is obsessed with finding Ariel, yet takes this mute stranger out on a (basically) a date and can't stop talking about this hot singing chick that rescued him.

Admittedly, both Jeff and I have been open in our dislike for this book, telling BD, "Eric is sending mixed messages and talking about some other girl in front of his guest." Or I end up in my head putting everything through a gangsta filler. In my head of course.

I think that for me, there's been way cooler heroines than Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Snow White, Ariel and the sparkly lot. From Disney I prefer Alice, Lilo and Sitch, Mulan (GO GIRL!), Wendy from Peter Pan (even though the "Why is the Red Man Red?" song truly offends me. As well as the fact that Tinkerbell -- the current symbol of girly attitude -- is a HEINOUS BITCH in Peter Pan), even Jane from Peter Pan 2 and others.

Outside of Disney, there's Fanta-Ghiro, Pippi Longstocking, the eldest princess from the 12 Dancing Princesses, Puss n' Boots and tons of others. None of these characters are seeking true love. They're looking for adventure, fun, keeping the family together or even a good party.

I think what bothers me more is if the only literary diet BD has is "pretty princess rescued by princes", for obvious reasons. Which is why I'm trying to fight the tide of pink princess sparkles. I'm willing to tolerate sparkles and dresses (BD as of late has been doing, "CUTE! DRESS! CUTE! BOY! EEEEW! BOYS!" so I figure that we're going to have pink sparkles in our future), but I also like the fact that she's also obsessed with "boy" stuff like pirates, dinosaurs, lizards, bugs, swords and insane climbing stunts.

I guess that no matter what, I want her to know that being a girl doesn't exclude her from doing what she likes to do. There's nothing that's assigned to the "boy" or "girl" bin. She can do whatever she wants, be it among a flock of girls or a pack of boys.

I hope that in the best case scenario, there's BD dressed in pink, with combat boots, battling the neighborhood boys with light sabers. That's when I will smile and say, "That's MY GIRL!"

1 comment:

QuietlyGoingMad said...

Jim Henson seemed to get the woman thing---his female characters might have wanted dates and pretty dresses (Miss Piggy) but they were fierce about it!

I wish I would've had the guts back in the day to don a Buffy (the movie) prom ensemble--rocking the white poofy dress, white combat boots, and a black leather jacket seems like the wisest prom choice ever!