Although I had Disney Princess related toys, and movies, and pink objects I do not think that those factors define me. My girl best friend called me a tom boy when I was younger, and my favorite color was blue. Even though boys and girls didn't play with the same toys that didn't prevent me and they boy who lived upstairs from playing cops and robbers and tag and other ("gender neutral") games. Yet, I played barbies and Bratz with my sister, and my parents loved to watch Disney movies with us.
(I actually hated all of the princess movies because of the vilans, and thoroughly enjoyed the animal based Disney movies, like Fox and the Hound.)
It wasn't Disney or Mattel that brainwashed me into wanting to be girly or feminine or "pretty". It was my dads motivation of "look good, feel good" and also, to "take care of yourself, you don't need a man to take care of you" that pushed me forward into the type of woman I portray myself as. These two goals that my dad set for me were what made me the person I am, not Cinderella.
I played with princesses and I like to dress up and look pretty, but that doesn't mean that I need a prince to save me and take care of me or that I am better then everyone else because there can only be one princess. I even wore a yellow dress to my junior prom to make myself feel like Belle, but that does not define me.
Since I don't fall into a spell cast by Disney Princess toys, maybe it was Barbie that influenced me so much. Pretty, independent, working. Realistically though, as a kid, I didn't even know of Barbies many jobs, or think that it was or wasn't strange that she worked and wasn't married. She was just a toy that I liked to change outfits on.
I can see how Peggy translates these toys and phases into being gender specific, how they make girls care about their appearances, and how they portray relationships but I also think that at a young age a toy is a toy and that although it may impact a child, it can be just a phase. If a parent is careful or mindful of it then they will teach their children the important values or morals that may be related to a toy, and the child may not even recognize that they are being targeted to "reproduce" ...like the girls with the babydolls that Peggy mentions, or whatever else that may be read into a product.
As far as the concern over pink toys, I look at it like who cares. Even the auther clarifies that it is a way for companies to double sales by offering boy colors and girl colors. We are never going to convince the world not to see pink as a girl color and blue as a boy color, but that wont prevent girls like me from liking blue, and some boys from liking pink. My little sister currently only wears black and purple. The problem is the parents who are not doing enough to teach their children not to read too much into these things, that if they see a boy riding a pink bicycle it is ok, and that if dressing up makes them feel pretty then do it but dont ever try and alter your appaerances (to lose wieght etc)
The New York Times wrote this,
"The second wave of feminism deconstructed the Sleeping Beauty narrative and other princess myths as a form of hypnotism, designed to seduce women into marriage and passivity, and structured to teach them that their real lives only began with the kiss of a prince. Even today, I meet right-on feminist moms horrified at the enduring appeal of this story to their egalitarian-raised kindergartners: Why, they ask me, is my daughter obsessed with being a princess?
I would tell them not to worry: Second-wave feminists have it wrong. If you look closely, the princess archetype is not about passivity and decorativeness: It is about power and the recognition of the true self. Little girls are obsessed with princesses for the same reason little boys are obsessed with action heroes What other female role model can issue a sentence and have the world at her feet? What other female figure can command an army, break open a treasury, or even, as in images of Kate Middleton or of Diana Spencer, simply bestow, with her presence, a sense of magic, excitement and healing?What girl would not be drawn to such an archetype, given how few other female role models you can say that about in our popular culture?"
As far as this reading goes...and Class Discussions may go...
- I feel that wanting to be pretty or dress up is not a bad thing.
-While stories and movies may have hidden agendas, the toy industry does not and only wants money.
-Gender specific toys suck, but if kids want to play together they will.
-good parenting=not Disney brainwashed children.
PS. Im the prince and Bobby is the princess in our fairytale =]