Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Me on DadCentric: The Princess and the Poop

 I was going to write a little riff on DadCentric about a conversation I had with one of my kids yesterday regarding the pooping habits of princesses.  But then it turned into a whole thing, with lots of words.  I thought you might like to check it out, so I posted a teaser here...

The Princess and the Poop

My thinking on the whole princess thing has evolved. In the last four years, it's gone from, "Hell no--keep that shit out of my house," to "Well...just a little princess-play can't hurt," to "Let me introduce you to my daughters, Cinderella and Rapunzel."

I remember, months before the twins were born, we had accrued a mountain of pink, frilly hand-me-downs from friends and family. As the due date got closer, my wife and I tried to organize the mound by separating it into bins based on size. In doing so, we had a chance to cull the worn-out, shit-stained, or just butt-ugly clothes.

Most of the clothes were in good shape, and cute enough, so we didn't have to consign much to the rag bag.  But there was one rule I insisted on following: anything with the word "Princess" on it went to charity or to the "paint" section of the garage.

I know princess narratives have become more empowering to girls in the last few decades, but the message of the classic princess stories is "Be kind, graceful, selfless, patient, compliant, and--most importantly--beautiful, and all your dreams will come true." Of course, "all your dreams" equals "having a handsome rich guy sweep you off of your feet and take care of you for the rest of your life.

I want my girls to have bigger dreams than that. Furthermore, it seems like when parents call their girls "Princess," those parents aren't necessarily encouraging them to be selfless and kind, but rather teaching them that they're entitled to whatever they want because they're cute and special. And, although I believe that my own girls are cute and special and deserve everything, the last thing I want is to let them know it.

Yet somehow, despite my objections, the princess trope made its way into my kids' consciousness and into my house. It started with party favors and gifts from well-meaning friends who, in most cases, weren't trying to totally undermine my feminist buzzkill convictions.

Read more at DadCentric

2 comments:

  1. I am glad u want more than that for your girls..Girls/boys should be raised to be able to take care of themselves and not to depend on someone else... or have someone define how they live. People are disappointed when they do find someone and those people can't live up to what was expected...

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  2. I tried to tell you dude, you can't keep it out. The best you can do is try to subvert it. My daughter thinks princesses wear pretty dresses while they fix cars and swear about football.

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Don't hold back.

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