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Change the archetype associated with princesses
At first glance, little girls playing princesses seems innocent, but it is making it more of a threat to the little girl’s psyche with our culture’s growing obsession with body image. It seems that all that’s being marketed toward their demographic are dresses, lip glosses, and fashion accessories. It’s not just toys that are getting girls to start thinking about the way they look; it’s is also brand name clothing. Stores have started selling clothes marketed toward children that mimic the clothing worn by adults.
If you don’t think that the princess playtime is having an affect, you probably haven’t seen the statistics. One study at the University of Florida showed that half of girls who are between the ages of 3 – 6 actually think that are fat, and according to a study done by MTV and The Associated Press a fourth of high school aged girls have sent nude pictures of themselves, or received them from someone else.
Our culture is becoming more materialistic, and the princess fad isn’t helping. By teaching little girls to be concerned with their looks, we are training them how to objectify themselves. We are starting to award people for their ignorant behavior, rather than praising more important values.
Instead of exploiting human sexuality and making a capital gain on their self-image, we should be teaching younger kids real values. Kids are growing up way too quickly; they are being exposed to things that used to be reserved as rights of passage at earlier ages. We can’t blame Disney and stores; we can only blame ourselves for buying into these markets. The only way these companies are going to stop making inappropriate children’s products is if the consumers stop supporting it.
I don’t think that its the princess that are dangerous to little girls; I think what is being associated with them is the bigger problem. Typically the role of a princess is to be pampered and wait to fall in love, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Recently, I watched the Disney movie, Brave, with my nephew. The princess, Merida, was a spunky girl who didn’t want to be married off as her mother wished for her. Unlike most of the Disney princesses, Merida wasn’t concerned with finding a prince, she wanted to be herself. I think that more princesses should teach young girls to stand up for themselves, rather than wait for a prince to do it for them.