Monday, March 21, 2016

For want of a princess...

There is an article in the New York Post titled: Toddlers and tiaras: The feminist upshot of playing princess. It is a lighter but interesting read as it discusses the issue of little girls playing princess. The author has also written a book that I have not read, on the same or a related topic.

The gist of her piece is that little girls should be free to play princess if they wish. That playing princess is actually a form of girl power and empowering. On that score I think she is correct and really, who cares what "rolls" kids play as long as they are not playing Charles Manson?

Good for her that she supports her daughter's princess-play. Where [I feel] she starts to go off the rails is when she describes the forces that oppose "princess-play". The nefarious, dark force allied against her daughter is:
  • Society:
    • society demeans everything that girls like
    • our society automatically dismisses anything feminine as weak or second best
    • society tells them it’s silly, that “girly” girls aren’t sensible girls, that femininity and power are polar opposites
    • I am incensed by the notion that the male way automatically equals the right way

Where are all of these ideas coming from? I know she is blaming "society" but that is too easy an answer and [let us be honest] a cop-out. Who really is behind this? Who really denigrates and demeans princess play and supports these other ideas? Well, let us pick apart "society" and see...

We have fathers. What father does not view their daughter as a "little princess"? What father does not want their daughter to play princess and dress in those cute little outfits? None that I know of. What father demeans their daughter as weak and not sensible if she acts "girlie"? I really doubt that fathers are the source of this anti-princess play movement or these other anti-girl sentiments. Let us be honest while we are discussing fathers. There are other "males" that are not fathers and as is typical for most men, if you have no dog in the fight, you rarely care about the fight. So I also doubt non-father (i.e. single) men are the vast majority of the anti-princess-play / anti-girlie movement.

Grandparents? Grandparents that get to spoil their grand-daughters don't strike me as the source of princess play angst. In fact grandmothers are likely a prime source of princess-wear acquisition for little girls that have any volume of princess apparel. Grandparents are a primary source of girl spoiling, not girl denigrating.

Siblings? Well brothers will pick on sisters for any number of reasons and some may indeed include picking on sisters for dressing up and acting like princesses BUT I just can't see brothers as the movers and shakers in the "anti-princess play" crowd. Sisters on the other hand, should be allies in this "battle" to protect princess play.

What do we have left? Umm. Let me think... Why women (to include mothers)! To be specific, feminists are against princess play. They see it as weak, stereo-typical "girlie play" that should be crushed. They are also the same crowd that pushed "we can do anything a man can do", "women need men like fish need bicycle", and other "don't be a girlie girl" things like being against dolls and kitchen play sets, and easy bake ovens, and other "girlie" things. In fact the author herself is somewhat the form of her own destructer:

"I’ve treaded carefully; always avoided the pink aisle and never actively pushed any kind of princess play"

So if we drill down far enough, it is women that are at war with other women about princess play and other "girlie" things, whether or not it is a healthy outlet or a soul robbing, patriarchal chain with which to shackle a little girls dreams and aspirations.

Who spends money? Women. To whom is advertising directed? Predominantly women (cause they spend most of the money that gets spent). Who is this "society" that denegrates princess-play? Women.

Please stop blaming "society" for this. Instead ladies, gaze into that magic mirror and see your true foe.


At one point, the author also includes a quote from Madeleine Albright, “Women’s empowerment is not merely a goal, but a cornerstone of democratic growth. Women raise issues that others overlook, devote energy to projects that others ignore, and reach out to constituencies that others neglect.

Again, who are these undefined "others" of which she speaks? In this context, she must mean men. If women raise issues that others overlook, how many different "others" are there to choose from? If we remove all women from society, who is left? Why men of course. What "issues", "projects", and "constituencies" women address that men don't is left to the imagination. Do women bring a distinct and unique perspective to issues? Most definitely BUT I would not say women raise issues that would not otherwise be raised. Women have voices. Women have votes. Women have money and means. Women are involved in all aspects of society. There are multitudes of social services and agencies setup for supporting women and their needs. Where are this vast unexplored areas of women-dom? The only way that quote makes logical sense is as a quote designed to pander to women. Not to express a real issue. This is a female politician speaking to women, using verbiage designed to appeal to women without actually stating anything. The sad thing is that this meaningless quote stuck with the author enough for her to include it in this piece that relies on the same logical fallacy to make its point. Ladies, unlike many of your "sisters" I KNOW you can do better. Oh, and if you want to put on the princess dress and tiara, I say go for it.

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