Girl Talk

24 12 2006

Why are you so mad, Mama?” she asked.

“What’s wrong with princesses?”

A long and soul-searching Sunday magazine piece, with power of story for Thinking Parents well beyond what it means to be female. I see it as connecting to all issues of identity in our culture (confusion about who’s really married, who’s a real homeschooler, does a diploma equal an education, heck — what do we mean by real motherhood anymore, never mind girlhood?)

. . .Part of the genius of “Princess” is that its meaning is so broadly constructed that it actually has no meaning. . .
“The issue is 25,000 Princess products,” says Brown, a professor of education and human development at Colby College. “When one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice: it’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing.”

So it’s cynical corporate culture power of story, against which real-live parents and little girls are powerless?

That’s too much drama for me and no happy ending —

I try to tell the story with more cultural nuance than that and my only daughter, nearly grown into her own crown and now herself helping teach little princesses to dance, does too.