Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Princess dreams...

Its been a year now. Or maybe even two. When I have had to raise a princess in my house. It all started very nicely. I was in control of things and I was able to be true to my convictions on unisex upbringing (hubby might have had objections, but minor such). Most clothes I bought to our baby girl was unisex colored. I usually found more practical clothes in the baby boy section than in the baby girl. Hello- how is a baby supposed to gracefully wear a dress? There is no way a dress will fall nicely on a baby lying on her back, needless to say on a girl who has learned how to crawl... But around the age of two, this girl of ours started to have an opinion of her own. And the older she grows, the stronger it gets. At the age of three, our health care nurse gave me the advice to forget about deciding her clothing; "let her decide, then it will pass". Eleven months later and it has not passed. Every time I try to have a say in her dressing, it ends in major world war scenario. In sum, my dilemma is how to maintain my own peace of mind while letting my daughter live out her princess fantasies.

There is no end to her obsession with the princess theme. And whenever she sees a product (does not matter what type of product) with Snowhite, Cinderella & Co, her imagination kicks off; "mommy, that is me in blue, you are the one in yellow, and best friend is the one in pink". If she could, she would be dressed as princess every hour of the day. Night time she already sleeps in a Disney princess dress pyjama - my fault- impulsive reaction in a Chilean mall in February - just had to buy it to make her day!!! You see, I have my very weak moments, after all I am the mom of the best chick in the world! What bugs me the most about all this is that although I know that it is a perfectly normal developmental phase of any preschool girl, I cannot forget that most of this materialistic obsession has been created by the very talented marketing staff of Disney. And this is what is driving me crazy.

An extract of the informative article (What's wrong with Cinderella) on the subject: Head of Disney Marketing explaining how they started to develop the princess gadgets:
“Standing in line in the arena (of Disney on Ice), I was surrounded by little girls dressed head to toe as princesses. They weren’t even Disney products... And the light bulb went off. Clearly there was latent demand here. So the next morning I said to my team, ‘O.K., let’s establish standards and a color palette and talk to licensees and get as much product out there as we possibly can that allows these girls to do what they’re doing anyway: projecting themselves into the characters from the classic movies.’ ”

My daughter's imagination has been kidnapped by Disney! And she is not the only one. I note a group frenzy among her daycare friends. On toy day, they bring their small Disney princess to daycare, to play princesses. Whenever there is a birthday party, the obvious theme is of course: princesses. And thanks to Disney, there is absolutely no problem in creating the most faboulous pink princess party. You just go to the nearest paper store and you'll find napkins, princess crowns, paper plates, and small plastic bags (for the toys to be given to the invited friends(!)) with the most famous Disney princesses printed on top. And the majority of this stuff will not last for longer than a day - cheap and bad quality.

Most of us go with the flow. I confess having organized a pink princess party last summer. I tried to avoid Disney stuff. But still, our girl had a crown, she wore a princesslike dress and the table was decorated in pink (with princess-printed napkins). We want to see our girls happy on their birthday, we want them to fulfill their dreams - already at the age of three!

Now, getting close to the age of four, I would really like to stop the train somehow. But I do not know how. It is clear that pear pressure is not going weaker. The girls are influenced by each other and the more the friend gets, the more envy it produces at the other end. Anyway, as we get closer to the next birthday party, I start planning to do something different this year. To show that mommy is still in control and Disney has not got its foothold in this household yet. I will not give in... at least not before time and ideas run out and I find myself obliged to head to the nearest paper store to get the essentials for a successful princess party....

In two more years, you'll find me writing a posting on the boy's obsession on the dinosaurus theme!


Daniela said...

Love it!!! (this post)
I dread the day Olivia starts with the unavoidable princess obsession... in the meantime, I rule!
Isn't there a way to avoid the princesses all together? I remember watching all the movies when I was a little girl, but never obsessing like that about it, maybe on Halloween, but that's it...

Mia said...

If you want to avoid it all together: don't take her to daycare, - directly to school, then the phase might have passed (but she'll be an outcast and to keep up with the others she might overreact on horses instead...)
Oh, and you need to keep her at home, no public places with other princess girls, no shopping centers, supermarkets where the Disney offering is lined up... High price to pay?

Mia said...

Actually, to minimize the phase, I think you need to take away all attention from how she is dressed. We have given much attention to her beautiful dresses, she has done the catwalk to Chile infront of Skype. I think she already knows where a girl gets the attention - and that is part of the problem. The other is the pear and pressure from surroundings.