Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Judging a Book by It's Cover

A few weeks ago I was at the bookstore with Miss C.  I stood in the children's section, thumbing through a novel, while I watched her walk around.  In short order she ran over to me and excitedly thrust a book into my hand: "Read this.  Um, please."

This was the book:
I'm pretty sure that the term "perfect wedding" predates the term bridezilla.  And groomzilla.  Before you strive for perfection, there has to be an idea, or ideal of perfection.  Let's get started young!   
I retitled the book, read her my own version (Cinderella Contemplates Marriage), and went back to my novel.  But she returned, with this:
  At least she's showing sequential thinking.  I retitled this one (Everybody Dances in Circles!), and after reading it, closed my novel and redirected her to the Berensteain Bears.  Mixed in with her favorite, harmless cubs was a treasure trove of further DP books.  She wanted another, and I scanned for one that might have some morsel of use.

In this article I mentioned, Orenstein tries to explain her disdain toward a DP to her young daughter,
“It’s just, honey, Cinderella doesn’t really do anything.”

But she was wrong.

According to what I found in the bookstore, here is what Disney Princesses do:

They play make-believe bride...

They dress for the ball...

They wear bling....

They're pretty....

They have wedding fantasies...

They buy more bling.....

They get make-overs....

And they're pretty and polite and have impeccable manners:

They do A LOT.


  1. good lord! how have i never thought about this stuff before? thank goodness you were first to have a daughter.

  2. when you put it all together like this, it is pretty scary. makes me kinda glad i don't have daughters. sorry about it all.

  3. lt--I'm glad to pave the way :)
    Allison---pretty scary, I agree!

  4. Okay, this post made me laugh out loud. For realz. And then it made me really frightened, since this stuff is pervasive, insidious, and on the bookshelves of most little girls in this country. Nothing is scarier than that.

  5. I know I'm late to the party on this one but how very, very scary. Kinda glad I have boys!

  6. I'm working my way through your archives and have to comment on this post. Given that Disney movies are often based on fairy tales ... which were generally all about indoctrinating children (especially girls) to their appropriate societal roles ... none of these "things princesses do" should be all that surprising! Scary, wrong, OUTDATED, yes, but entirely appropriate to the source material.

  7. I am entirely late to this party, but I just wanted to say that this isn't just about the indoctrination of girls, its also teaching boys from a very young age that this is what girls from life. I was a single mother of two daughters for 10 years and married late in life...though I never wanted to get married (I grew up on a hippie commune where I wasn't exposed to Disney that much), it just happened to be the way that worked best to live with my partner in a foreign land. So...now I am in Denmark and my husband has a son and I have discovered that both the boys in the house have a LOT of really disturbing preconceived notions about what girls are "supposed to do" and "supposed to want". This poor boy doesn't know what to think of my 12 year old "aspie" daughter who would rather examine bugs than play with dolls and wouldn't be caught dead in anything pink. And my husband is dismayed that his son actually dropped his toy guns long enough to play "girl" games with my younger daughter. In any case, I just want to say that those of you with sons are not really exempt from this issue.