When I was a little girl I played with every type of toy. Sure, I had Barbie dolls and baby dolls, but it wasn’t limited to that. I also had Lincoln Logs, Play Mobil sets, games a plenty, action figures, books and paper dolls. And guess what? Little to none of it was pink. And I still knew I was a girl! The only Princess I knew about was Princess Leia, and she would have kicked your ass if you handed her a pink gown, or gun. But that was back before the Disney Media blitzkrieg took over. That was before every company in the world decided to start making things (anything!) pink, marking it up, and marketing it to girls everywhere and their mothers.
I have a HUGE problem with the pink princess syndrome. It is far more prevalent here in the states, but its pink, painted claws still managed to reach the Czech Republic. At one school in Prague we actually had to ban “Princess dresses” from school because the little girls would get upset and fight if they didn’t have one to wear. It’s worse here. I have one little girl (well, more than one) who wears pink every day, and only wants to do “princess” things. She told me she was going to be a princess when she grows up. I told her she couldn’t be, because that’s not a job. She cried and said her daddy said it was. Thanks dad. We needed just one more little girl who feels entitled, and calls herself princess. Do me a favor and call your daughter something else besides “princess”. How about Super Star? Kid-o? Sweetie?
When we adults think “there is nothing wrong with princesses” we are short siding the issue. Princesses belong in fairy tales – not on pencils, lunch boxes, costumes, boots, shoes, hats, sippy-cups, bedding, t-shirts, backpacks, games, dolls, socks, or even food. Nothing good can come of a little girl growing up with gender stereotypes forced upon her. She will have no choice but to be aware of her appearance. She will think that “pink is for girls” which is exactly what big business wants her to think. They now have you, your money and your daughter and her future money. Don’t believe me? Look at all the pink, princess shit out there for GROWN WOMEN!
But it’s not just females who are affected. Think of what this kind of mass marketing does to a boy, a boy who will grow up and become a man one day. When we force girls into little sparkely pink and purple boxes, we force boys to do the same. Boys at my school here in America think pink is “for girls” and make fun of any boy who wears it. Or colors with it. Every time I color a “boy” picture at work, I make sure that he is wearing a pink shirt, or purple pants. It starts a great conversation with the boys. It’s ok for boys to wear or like these colors, and it’s ok for girls to like Ironman, Star Wars and Spiderman.
I’m so glad that I grew up with strong female icons who never, EVER wore pink. I never thought about “being” a princess, and there was no pink in sight in my bedroom. It’s our job as adults to see through the marketing and decide to do better. There are plenty of fun toys out there that have zero pictures of princesses on them. There are plenty of fun activities that don’t incorporate gender stereotypes. If we act as the first line of defence, we can regulate the stereotypes our kids see and we can win the battle against the pink princesses.
(This is a GREAT article about Pink Princesses, and I agree with this dad and I relate to his struggle against gender stereotypes. You can read it HERE.)