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Monday, September 26th, 2011
Let me start by saying I didn’t think that I’d be one of those moms who condoned The Princess Lifestyle for my almost 5-year-old daughter. When Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter came out last year I agreed with a lot of what she said. I’m (what feels like the last remaining) feminist, and I definitely don’t want my little girl to grow up thinking that some prince is going to ride up and save her on a white horse. Or that her beautiful eyes/long hair/perfect plastic boobs will bring her love/luck/work (oh wait — maybe they will! But still I don’t want to teach her that!). Regardless, there is no escaping princesses, especially the Disney variety. So over the last year or so, I’ve learned to roll with it and use her love of princesses to my advantage. Luckily, Disney has made the latest heroines less swooning and helpless (although they are still gorgeous). If you’ve watched any of the blockbusters in the last couple of years, you’ll know that Princesses kick some major booty. Rapunzel for one is vicious with a frying pan. In fact, we use “princess” in our home as a euphemism for “tough,” because Madelyn responds to it. My husband frequently says things to her like, “Act like a princess! Get out there and kick that soccer ball! Brush yourself off! You’re OK! Rapunzel would keep going!” And amazingly it works. (That’s her above munching on a start-shaped pineapple at a princess bash last year, btw.)
Anyway, the point of this post is really to set you up for a string of posts over the next week. As an editor at Parents, I was invited, along with Madelyn (does she realize how good she has it?!), to attend a special ceremony in London honoring Rapunzel’s induction into the Disney Royal Court (along with the other 9: you know, like Cinderella and Jasmine and Snow White … see pic here.) And of course Madelyn nearly had a stroke when I told her about the prospect of going. (“Will Flynn Rider be there too?!”)
My husband is from London so I figured we could use a it a good opportunity to hang with the fam who we don’t see enough. But who’s kidding who. We’re there for the glitz and glam and all that is princess! Follow along over the next couple of days as I post about our adventures.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
The first question new parents are asked when they’re expecting a baby is: Boy or girl?
A Canadian couple is challenging society’s idea of gender identity by keeping the gender of their new baby a secret…even after birth. At four months, Storm is the third child for Kathy Witterick and David Stocker (a teacher at a small, alternative school that focuses on social justice issues), who have two other sons, Jazz (5) and Kio (2). Despite being boys, both Jazz and Kio were raised without assigned gender expectations or limitations, meaning they’re encouraged to play with boys and girls toys, wear boys and girls clothes (in “girly” colors of pink and purple), and grow their hair long if they choose.
The immediate family (including grandparents), a few close friends, and midwives know Storm’s true gender, but the parents have decided to keep the baby genderless by avoiding the use of male or female pronouns. Inspired by a book published in 1978, “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story” by Lois Gould, about a child raised without gender roles, the couple hoped to give Storm a chance to grow and decide on what gender to identify with, without society’s pressure.
While the couple’s decision has caused confusion and criticism (Will Storm feel marginalized later in life? Which public restroom will Storm use? Are the parents pushing their own political and social agendas on Storm?), the debate around gender identity comes hot on the heels of more recent news. Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity Bono, just released a memoir and a documentary about his decision to become a man through a sex-change operation. Cheryl Kilodavis, a mother of a little boy who loves wearing tutus and tiaras, was on national news earlier this year after writing “The Princess Boy.”
In a world that delineates between the power of princesses and the strength of superheroes, could the couple’s unique parenting decision succeed in helping society get rid of gender labels and stereotypes?
Read more about gender identity on Parents.com
What do you think of keeping your child’s gender a secret? Would you do the same?
Categories: GoodyBlog, News, Your Child | Tags: Babies, baby, gender, gender identity, gender prediction, gender roles, gender stereotypes, identity, my princess boy, princess, stereotypes
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Like most young girls, I was obsessed with pink and princesses from age 3-10. Almost everything I was given or that I picked out was pink, and I was a princess (with a pink dress and silver pipe cleaner tiara, natch) for Halloween twice. At some point, I even owned the board game “Pretty Pretty Princess,” which entitled me to wear a silver plastic tiara and plastic jewelry. And, of course, I dreamed of being either Cinderella or Ariel.
As the years have gone by, I have grown out of pink and princesses (for the most part), but the world has exploded with pink and princesses in recent years. Even at this year’s Toy Fair, pink and purple princess toys, costumes, games, and more were everywhere I turned.
An editor at Parents magazine recently interviewed Peggy Orenstein, whose book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” addresses how pink and princesses have become an enduring trend and an identity that may potentially be harmful to a little girl’s perception of her self-image and self-esteem. She shares, “Princesses are a way for girls to assert what’s feminine about themselves. But princesses are also defining girls by telling them that how you look is who you are.”
On the other hand, Cheryl Kilodavis, the author of “My Princess Boy,” shares how her younger son “is a happy and healthy little boy who just likes pretty things and likes to dress up.” For Kilodavis’s son, being a princess boy gavehim confidence and an unique identity.
As a parent, does your own child love pink and princesses? Do you encourage or discourage the love for all things pink and princess-related?
Read more about princesses on Parents.com
Monday, October 4th, 2010
As much as I tried to resist it, my almost-4-year-old daughter Madelyn is obsessed with princesses. She and her friends know all the Disney princesses by heart and can sing along to every DVD, even the straight-to-DVD second and third sequels.
So when I got an invitation to attend a special Princess & Me party at Toys R Us in Times Square celebrating the launch of a new Princess doll (think the size of American Doll) I couldn’t say no. Madelyn actually slept with the invitation which featured the dolls, all mini versions of her favorite people (Aurora, Ariel, Cinderella, you know …). I invited her best friend and neighbor Kate and her mom Amie to come along too.
The girls arrived dressed up as Cinderella (Madelyn) and Aurora (Kate). (Aurora for those of you who don’t remember is Sleeping Beauty.) Here they are (pictured above) with the Princess & Me host as they walk the hot-pink carpet.
Then they were invited to the Royal Salon to get their hair princess-ified (Madelyn refused) and to get their nails painted (sparkly pink of course).
All VIPs (that’s Very Important Princesses) were asked to sit down for tea (actual tea along with chocolates and petite fours) and moms got champagne (nice touch!).
After tea and a glass (or two) of the bubbly, the girls dressed up as different princesses (Aurora for Madelyn and Ariel for Kate, although if you watch the movie, I don’t think that Ariel as a mermaid is technically a princess, but no one seemed alarmed by this).
They posed for a professional photo, complete with the Princess backdrop, what we call in the industry “step and repeat”. It was all so glamorous.
The girls then twirled their way home in a post-party haze where they got tons of attention on the subway. Are they going to a dress up party? people asked. Well, no. Truth is these two dress up like this every day — we usually just don’t let them out of the house in their garb. But today was a Special Day as Madelyn kept saying and repeated until she tucked herself into bed that night, with her princess doll next to her.