Friday, January 2, 2015

Princess Peril

A few years back, the marketing  androids at the Disney (We Own Everything) Corporation began one of the most successful branding schemes of my lifetime.They scooped up all of the  major female characters in their stable of  characters and rebranded them as 'princesses'. Some of it  made sense.  I mean, Snow White married the prince, so she has some pretty solid princess credentials. Ditto for  Sleeping Beauty. Ariel's dad was king of the whole ocean, making her a legitimate princess. And I will grant you that Pocahontas' father was the chief, which  is sort of like a king, but it's a stretch.  Belle from Beauty and the Beast spends 99% of the film as a peasant however, and the girl from The Frog Prince?   You have to draw the line somewhere. Continuity aside, these 'princesses' were linked together in some nebulous sort of sisterhood appearing together on every piece of merchandise that Disney could envision.
  Little girls began to have princess-themed birthday parties with every  little girl dressing up as a different member of the Disney pantheon.  There are  cups and plates and  poofy dresses and coloring books and direct to video hachet-job cartoons. There are  brushes and combs and toothpastes and curtains and bedsheets. You could probably burn down your house and replace all of your belongings with something from the Princess merchandise line.
 I am the father of a beautiful 8 year old girl, and so I speak with  more than just a little experience here. We have been awash in princess paraphernalia for some time and as the money flows ceaselessly from my wallet, I have given this  more than just a little thought.  My wife, as usual,claims that I am over thinking it all. Perhaps she's right, but humor me for a moment, dear reader.
  In case you were wondering, I really am a Neanderthal , and I completely embrace gender roles.My daughter plays with dolls because I hope that she will grow up to be a wife and a mother, and my sons play with guns and swords because I hope  they will mature into defenders of home and hearth. The seeds of adulthood are sowed in the heroes of childhood. Having said that, what do our daughters learn from a princess obsession?
 There has probabaly never been a group of people more useless than royalty, and princesses are the most useless of the this useless group.  Most Princesses are spoiled royal brats living off the taxpayers while waiting for someone to die so they can be queen.  They are catered to in every way, and served in every way.  They wear fancy clothes, eat the best food and  never once develop a callous.  Their days are spent planning balls, and celebrating themselves.  Occasionally one of them will try to get involved in some cause or another that they really don't understand, and their solutions will usually be far worse than whatever it is they are trying to fix.
  By contrast, the Bible commands women to be ".. in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;"  It says that they are to be "... to be sober , to love their husbands, to love their children,  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" They are to commanded to " be in subjection to your own husbands" and have "chaste conversation coupled with fear" with "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit".  The "virtuous woman" of Proverbs 31 wasn't sitting around  admiring herself or trying on the newest tiara; she was working, serving those of her household.  She  rose up early, and worked late.  She didn't fritter away time on Facebook.  The truth is, Cinderella was a lot closer to God's idea of a good woman BEFORE the prince came calling.
  I just think it's unfair to our girls for them to spend so much of their childhood indulging the fantasy of being the beloved center of attention when they could be taught to serve. I think that, while Disney makes a quick buck, we parents are doing a potential disservice to our girls by introducing them to the notion that being catered to is the ultimate lifestyle.  I think that mindset, to some degree, will stay with them into their  teen and young adult years.  They will be looking for Prince Charming to show up and whisk them away to a house where somebody else does the dishes.  And if that's what our boys have to choose from as potential wives, we just might be cheating them too.
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