My Thoughts on Princess Culture

9 Dec

My mom grew up on a farm, and was raised with three older brothers who never wanted to play w dolls with her or dress up with her.  She spent her time playing with trucks in the mud.  My mom was also a teenager during the ’60’s feminist movement, and I think these factors had a large impact on how she wanted to raise my sister and I.  My mom dressed me for much of my infant and the early stages of my toddler life in gender neutral clothing.  As I started to hit ages 4-6, Disney began popping out these movies that created what we call “Princess Culture”.  She has always told me that she never was into any of the “ultra-feminine” clothing for my sister and I, but she says that once I saw one of these movies that was the end of it.  My favorite thing to watch were the Disney princess movies.  I had the princess night gowns, the barbies, the stuffed animals, the books, the whole nine yards- and I loved it all.

 

Now that I am older, I still have a place in my heart for those movies, but I often reflect on the impact they have had on my life and many others like me.  I consider myself a feminist, yet sometimes I catch myself saying, thinking, or doing things that completely contradict or at least test my feminist beliefs.  For example, as I stated in class, I feel that the princess culture has embedded the thought in me that I need to marry one day, that all my accomplishments will be for nothing if I don’t marry.  This is not something that I truly believe in, but I catch myself saying things like that imply that it is what I believe.  This upsets me because it puts unnecessary pressure on myself and many other girls in our society to be married at a young age.  It also gives us this idea that in order to be happy, we must find a man that thinks we’re the most beautiful girl in the world.  The “princess culture” puts the idea into young girl’s heads that the key factor to finding a “prince charming” is to have a perfect body, long hair, skimpy outfits, and a beautiful voice.  There are very clear repercussions from teaching girls that these are the important things in life.  There is a list that could stretch around the world of insecurities girls have because they don’t view themselves as beautiful enough.  This mentality encourages young children to forget about smarts, as long as you can find a boyfriend, nothing else matters.  If you can’t find a boyfriend, you better change yourself to get one.  Industries like plastic surgery, make up, clothing all fuel this “princess culture”.  You got into Harvard? Awesome, but you know Aunt Pam is going to follow up that question with, “Do you have a boyfriend?”  I would like to say that I am cured, free, or above this “princess culture”, but I am not.  I am a victim of this harmful mindset, as are many other ’90’s girls like me. 

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