I finally came unhinged in the dentist’s office — one of those ritzy pediatric practices tricked out with comic books, DVDs and arcade games — where I’d taken my 3-year-old daughter for her first exam. Until then, I’d held my tongue. I’d smiled politely every time the supermarket-checkout clerk greeted her with “Hi, Princess”; ignored the waitress at our local breakfast joint who called the funny-face pancakes she ordered her “princess meal”; made no comment when the lady at Longs Drugs said, “I bet I know your favorite color” and handed her a pink balloon rather than letting her choose for herself. Maybe it was the dentist’s Betty Boop inflection that got to me, but when she pointed to the exam chair and said, “Would you like to sit in my special princess throne so I can sparkle your teeth?” I lost it.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” I snapped. “Do you have a princess drill, too?”
She stared at me as if I were an evil stepmother.
“Come on!” I continued, my voice rising. “It’s 2006, not 1950. This is Berkeley, Calif. Does every little girl really have to be a princess?”
My daughter, who was reaching for a Cinderella sticker, looked back and forth between us. “Why are you so mad, Mama?” she asked. “What’s wrong with princesses?”
Yes, what IS wrong with princesses and little girls having the harmless dreams and fantasies of being one?
Don Surber makes a very good point here about writing when admittedly unhinged simply showing your crazy true colors.
Someone in the Orenstein household needs a nap and it is not the 3-year-old.
What is wrong with princesses?
In case Orenstein had not noticed, her daughter's dentist is a princess. Next month Princess Pelosi will become Speaker of the House and it is likely that in two more years, Princess Hillary will become president.
It is not 1950. Nor is it 1970. Women have gone back to wearing bras, using makeup and wearing pink. The point was made. They have moved on.
Well said Don.
What is wrong with this world when a little girl being treated like a princess and having visions of being a princess, even if they are only dreams, is considered to be wrong somehow?
Is it really neccessary to kill a 3 yrs old's harmless fantasy because of some misguided feminist ideal? I am woman hear me roar? For heavens sake, the kid is THREE!!!!!
As Orenstein points out later in the article, (page 3 of her 6 page article)all she managed to do was confuse her child. Good going!!!
At the grocery store one day, my daughter noticed a little girl sporting a Cinderella backpack. “There’s that princess you don’t like, Mama!” she shouted.
“Um, yeah,” I said, trying not to meet the other mother’s hostile gaze.
“Don’t you like her blue dress, Mama?”
I had to admit, I did.
She thought about this. “Then don’t you like her face?”
“Her face is all right,” I said, noncommittally, though I’m not thrilled to have my Japanese-Jewish child in thrall to those Aryan features. (And what the heck are those blue things covering her ears?) “It’s just, honey, Cinderella doesn’t really do anything.”
Over the next 45 minutes, we ran through that conversation, verbatim, approximately 37 million times, as my daughter pointed out Disney Princess Band-Aids, Disney Princess paper cups, Disney Princess lip balm, Disney Princess pens, Disney Princess crayons and Disney Princess notebooks — all cleverly displayed at the eye level of a 3-year-old trapped in a shopping cart — as well as a bouquet of Disney Princess balloons bobbing over the checkout line. The repetition was excessive, even for a preschooler. What was it about my answers that confounded her? What if, instead of realizing: Aha! Cinderella is a symbol of the patriarchal oppression of all women, another example of corporate mind control and power-to-the-people! my 3-year-old was thinking, Mommy doesn’t want me to be a girl?
According to theories of gender constancy, until they’re about 6 or 7, children don’t realize that the sex they were born with is immutable. They believe that they have a choice: they can grow up to be either a mommy or a daddy. Some psychologists say that until permanency sets in kids embrace whatever stereotypes our culture presents, whether it’s piling on the most spangles or attacking one another with light sabers. What better way to assure that they’ll always remain themselves? If that’s the case, score one for Mooney. By not buying the Princess Pull-Ups, I may be inadvertently communicating that being female (to the extent that my daughter is able to understand it) is a bad thing.
To just use one example here, people like Hillary Clinton were children during the Princess Grace years, where an actress grew up and married a Prince and became a Princess.
Little girls all over the world envisioned being Princess Grace and riding off into the sunset with their Prince charming...... those same women today are doctors, lawyers, career minded and business women... what did it actually hurt to dream of being a Princess for just a little while as a child?
The end of this article from a clearly "unhinged" woman, this amazing piece of diarreah of the keyboard ( page 6) shows the danger of deliberately trying to destroy these harmless little fantasies of a 3 yr old.
A few days later, I picked my daughter up from preschool. She came tearing over in a full-skirted frock with a gold bodice, a beaded crown perched sideways on her head. “Look, Mommy, I’m Ariel!” she crowed. referring to Disney’s Little Mermaid. Then she stopped and furrowed her brow. “Mommy, do you like Ariel?”
Yes, let us teach our children that they cannot have their own little fantasies for fear of Mommy being mad about them. Nice lesson to teach your children about wishing for the stars. Only wish for the stars that do NOT annoy your parents.
My grandfather, we used to call him Big Daddy Howie because he was SOOOOOOOOOOO tall and lanky, well he always greeted me with hello my little princess... I loved it, I giggled and jumped into his arms.
Did it hurt me? I now am co-owner of my own business, have a 23 yr old son, have seen and done just about everything I wanted to do and see, and still looking forward to experiencing more of life.
Did it hurt the thousands of women that grew up in the 50's and 60's, watching Princess Grace become a Princess? Where exactly IS the harm in allowing your children to BE children?
Children have dreams and fantasies when they are small, it encourages their little minds to imagine things, expand and grow and they have a much greater capacity for realizing the difference between reality and fantasy than we give them credit for.
Sometimes, indeed, in this case, it seems the child was brighter than the adult.