Then Rapunzel Bobbed her hair and went to law school...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

When I was in my last year of college and studying for the Law School Entrance Exam (LSAT), my Dad cut out a cartoon from  The Wall Street Journal and mailed it to me. The comic featured a mother reading her little girl a fairy tail and the caption  read "Then Rapunzel bobbed her hair and went to law school". It was his way of saying " honey…go for it, you'll never regret having a graduate degree." It hung on my wall during law school and sat on my desk when I practiced law.  It reminded me that I may be a  Jewish American Princess, but I still could kick ass in a career and live happily ever after. 

 During my visit to Disney World, I was never so happy to be around teenaged boys when I saw this at every corner...

All over the hot, sunny and humid theme park, there were little princesses with their parents. Many of the Princesses were not only wearing the ornate, yet itchy looking princess gowns, they were in princess shoes, had princess hair do's, princess jewelry and princess makeup. They looked ready for  coronation but the funny part was that the parents looked like everyone else in Disney…Shorts, no make up, hair messy, sweaty etc.  Totally shlubby.  The message was that the Princesses were the royalty and the parents were their hired help.

There is even an awful place in Disney called the Bippity Boppy Boutique. This a "magical" beauty salon when little girls with parents smart and rich enough to get a reservation ahead of time get all princess-ed up. The basic $55 package includes hairstyling and make up. The $200 Castle package includes hair, makeup and costumes. You can make your day even more magical by adding a $33 photo package, or more princess crap paraphernalia.  
Luckily, the princess beauty salon was not on our agenda!

I played with Barbies and wished that I was a real princess when I was a little girl but the fantasy ended there. Besides sending me cartoons about Princesses getting a real education, my parents always encouraged me to be smart and hard working. I was loved and adored but never told that a Prince would make my life complete or that my beauty would ever be enough. I fear that this might be the message (either subliminal or directly) that this whole Princess culture is sending.  I forgot the story of Disney's The Little Mermaid until on the ride at the park. The little Mermaid was not happy until she stopped being her true self (a sea creature who is loved and adored) and became human and married the Prince.  In my mind, I guess I really wanted her to live her truth and  go back to being a happy fish and forgot the ending! 

 Pushing the princess agenda this far seems a little extreme. The little princesses running around Disney World looked adorable but many of them were very bratty and demanding.( There may be nothing uglier than a little girl in a princess dress at the 
"happiest place on earth" having a total shit-fit over not getting a churro.) 

Are these little Princesses growing up to think that they are really royalty even though their parents are wearing t-shirts advertising beer? 

Am I off base here? Without being an uber-feminist, I still think that encouraging this agenda may be a little misleading. Are these little girls just having fun or are they getting misled into thinking that the only way they will live happily ever after will be to have some Prince rescue them? None of my good friends had girls who were into this Princess culture and I don't have girls so tell me, what do you think?


Kathy said...

I don't have kids, but I work with the public. Does that count? Every day I see kids saying to their parents things like, "We will leave now. I'm done." and the parents say, "OK. If that's what you want." I've also heard "I want a quarter for the candy machine." and then the kids have a meltdown when they don't get what they want. You don't have to be wearing a princess dress to be a "princess." Smart parents are the ones who come in and are in charge no matter what the kids think. Obviously the parents are in charge at home also.

Jess said...

AMEN! I have a daughter and now a granddaughter. My daughter, Mikey, was raised with horses, cows, pigs and every other thing she could drag home. She loved the princess movies, but we never fed her the "you are a princess" crap. Sorry, she was a little girl, then a teenager and now a mom. She played tackle football, rode bulls and was the football homecoming queen. And she was one of the prettiest girls in her school. So she could have been like this, but I wasn't going to perpetuate it. Life is not about balls and princes. It is about working hard, enjoying nature and loving the people around you and yourself.

Thank you for such a great post! And sorry to get on a little soap box too. But it this princess mentality is out of control!

NanaDiana said...

LOL- My daughters three little girls were all into "Princess this or Princess that". I will say that we did not have any "spoiled brats"-none of them were the melt-down type and Mom & Dad are pretty much realists but let them dabble in the fantasy part of it all. The two older girls are no longer Princesses but the youngest one has graduated to being a BRIDE...with old gowns I have fashioned for her. They all know that they are worth while and are secure in who they are.

I see it as a harmless bit of childhood imagination as long as it is not taken to the extreme. It is kind of like me going to a day at the spa for some pampering. I know it is fleeting but I will enjoy it in the moment and not expect the royal treatment every day. Does that all make any sense? lol xo Diana

Susie said...

Japolina, Thank goodness my two youngest granddaughters loved playing princesses and now they are past that. It would be hard to be around them if they were the melt down gosh, I want to pull my hair out when I see that kind of kid, boy or girl. It's the parents fault, not the child's ...but no one wants to be around them. Of course the parents think "my child is the best, how dare you look at my sweet little child(monster) like that ." LOL Thanks for the laugh, xoxo,Susie

template design by Studio Mommy (© copyright 2015)