Thursday, May 17, 2007

Apple Strudel, Cockadoodle


Remember that smug post I wrote at Halloween about how my daughter wanted to be a butterfly and not a princess and la de da da?

Sure enough, now Julia LOVES princesses. She eats drinks and sleeps in her purple velvety princess dress. She dreams of getting married. She sings The Little Mermaid song verbatim. Whenever we're out and about she's gasping every other second at the Disney Princess item currently in front of her. You name it, backpacks, cereal, books, those princesses are everywhere.

Now let's get one thing straight, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her loving princesses. Kids are big on good vs. evil themes at this age. It is developmentally appropriate. Princesses are beautiful and good. In loving the princesses, they need to know that good prevails. I get that. I just don't believe that we have to only love the Disney and fairy tale princesses, obnoxious in their dependent and weak representations of women. I worry that this response is as cliche as it is to love princesses. Still. I can't help feeling that way.

In fighting the Disney lure, I've been trying to supplement our princess-focused minds with other stories about princesses, like Lady Lolipop by Dick King-Smith, a great story about a child princess who undergoes a character upgrade upon getting a pet pig. We also read Shrek, which originally was written by one of my favorite authors, William Steig. Jooge just can't get past the fact that the princess in that story is so ugly. (Which is what makes it so rich). Lauren Child of Charlie and Lola fame has also done some GREAT fairy tale books that I approve of, both The Princess and the Pea and Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?

As we approach her fourth birthday, (I will share this little gem of a website devoted to sharing SCADS of ideas for birthday parties.), I feel like a real jerk for avoiding the Disney invites for simpler non-Disney ones. I want to avoid Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, and her posse. Not so for Jooge, who threw a minor fit in Target because we did not get to keep the Disney invitations and stickers in our cart. I guess in my mind it feels so limiting to only go that route, but at the same time that seems a little cruel when she's digging on them so much. It sure would be EASIER to shell out a little dough for a bunch of Disney decor and be done. But for me, it's creatively taboo.

And so, this Queen deliberates: Can you fight Disney and win?

2 comments:

Maureen said...

Have you read Robert Munsch's "The Paper Bag Princess?" A true princess with a pair.

momomax said...

I recently gave "Cinderella, As if you Didn't Already Know the Story" by Barbara Ensor to a friend's daughter as a gift. She's too young to read it, but I thought it was funny/true enough from the snippets that I read telling the story of what really happened during the happily ever after part. I was plagued by the Cinderella syndrome half my life. Looking for some dude who would take care of me...etc. blech. As for Disney, I think fighting the good fight is worth it, even though you're going to lose in the end. I know that we're eventually taking our son to Disney some day unless you blaze that trail and arise victorious and disney free! (wow, I'm a wind bag today aren't I?)