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I started a Princess battle at preschool - Page 10

post #181 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by GranoLLLy-girl View Post
I was thinking along these lines...when people start banning books, comic characters, ideas, etc.--watch out...you are on a slippery slope!
Oh gawd, the slippery slope argument. Parents protecting their children from rigid gender role propaganda is about as dangerous to your freedom as universal health care would be. I find it very... American... to get bent out of shape about how anything and everything can threaten freedom.

Kincaid and Inci - Totally not a coincidence, that we are all queer and get this.
post #182 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy View Post
Are you kidding me? 25% of the roman economy (and almost 100% of what survived the test of time) was used for worshiping, advertising, following, and diefying super heroes.
Yes. This was a wise investment in social control and indoctrination.

ShaggyDaddy, I've enjoyed your posts regarding the mythology element, and agree that there's signifant cultural value there. We are our history, and culture is transmitted through story.

ThisMama, you've rocked on this thread. I get it - and I'm hetero . Just a feminist with sociology and english degrees who hates the commercialism that is rampant in this culture, and the increasingly rigid gender stereotyping that's going on. Anybody been in a toy store lately? My latest favourite is the Fisher-Price tough digital camera - holy two clearly gendered models, Batman!

As the parent of a girl and a boy, I'm far more concerned about the cultural messages being transmitted by Disney Princesses and Bratz, along with the whole related slough of narrowly defined gender paraphenalia, than I am about superheroes. I'd far rather discuss justice and making things right than I would discuss what to wish for on that star.

Not a developmental psychologist, but I think that when preschoolers are going through that phase of identifying gender, it's healthy for them to have a preoccupation with more rigid definitions of gender. I think we have moved past supporting little girls (in particular) to navigate this natural developmental stage, to fetishizing a narrow notion of feminine and making it prescriptively definitional and limiting.

/rant
post #183 of 331
Did they consult parents on the banning of superheroes?

I would ask the Director to reframe the meeting as "a discussion of the daycare's policies on daycare-appropriate gear."

The daycare needs to figure out the optics on this one -- are they parent-involved (in which case, they should have held some kind of consultation on a policy change that would impact families who had already purchased the outlawed items), or are they reactive and responsive to bullying themselves? It's very interesting that such accomodations are being made for members of a group who haven't been made subject to a policy. I wonder if some of those who'd rather write in are parents of superhero fans? If so, they need to get their capes on and get to that meeting!
post #184 of 331
I think superhero and princess items are silly but at least there are real princesses in the world. If a girl aspires to be one, she just might. Why crush her dreams? Are such dreams just too darn impractical? Queen Noir, Princess Grace, Princess Masako were all commoners before marriage and they were/are very real and have done some sort of good in the world through charities and being mothers. Last time I checked no one can really fly, cast webs, or stop trains or repel bullets using their bodies.

But if someone who eats, breaths, and lives Superman wants to wear it on their shirt, I would not try to stop them (unless it is a private school and they have a school uniform). Otherwise it seems like suppression of free speech and discrimination.
post #185 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I haven't read the last 5 pages - is there an update to the school situation?

(And FWIW, I am straight, and the whole being awakened with a kiss thing makes my skin crawl.)
With good reason - the kiss is the sanitized version. Originally, the sleeping girls are woken by non-consensual sex, or giving birth to babes concieved while they were enchanted. Yick. However, that in itself is a magic-softened parable of forced marriage for conquest or political purposes. Sorry, tangent

SO, yeah ... EW. When little girls play fairytale princesses around me, I try to encourage them to play the stronger side. I try to have them saving the prince as much as they get saved.

Maura
post #186 of 331
I'm late to this party, but I have to speak up with three cheers for thismama. Awesome posts, and I agree with everything you've written.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floobear
I think superhero and princess items are silly but at least there are real princesses in the world. If a girl aspires to be one, she just might. Why crush her dreams? Are such dreams just too darn impractical? Queen Noir, Princess Grace, Princess Masako were all commoners before marriage and they were/are very real and have done some sort of good in the world through charities and being mothers. Last time I checked no one can really fly, cast webs, or stop trains or repel bullets using their bodies.
Also, if my daughter's life dream is to marry the person she'd have to marry in order to become a princess, um, I'd think I had failed in a fundamental way. Am I misreading?
post #187 of 331
I have read the thread and been thinking about some of the issues raised by various posters.

First off, I think both super heroes and princesses are used by preschoolers in very similar ways - gender specific (and socially acceptable) dramatic play which give the child "special" powers - be they heroic powers of flight or fighting or social interaction powers of beauty, charm, and personal obedience.

My main issue with princesses, as marketed by Disney, is that these girls (and most of the princesses are girls) have no real power and no self-created power - only power given to them by birth or by men. And this is a very dangerous meme we have seen replayed throughout culture. This is part of our mythology - but one I would love to see changed or removed entirely, frankly.

So in fact, I would prefer to see superheros to princesses - as marketed by disney. The generic theme of princesses can be reshapped to include Princess Leah, Wonder woman, and other strong women leaders who took accidents of birth (or good fortune of marriage) and turned them into opportunities to achieve great things.

The other element is the marketing. The enormous resources that have gone into figuring out how to sell to our children is frightening and it would be nice to think there might be some market free zones left in the world (since public schools are no longer that way).

I completely plan on teaching my kids about wise consumerism (since unless you don't plan on living in the world, you at least need to understand consumerism, and how to mitigate its controlling affects) - but I can't teach them all they need to know now; they don't have the cognative abilities yet. However, they are being actively marketed to - those marketers aren't waiting until they have the ability to say no.

We all censor - I don't let my 4 year old watch CSI or ER or erotica or violent scenes - he cannot parse the content and some things will be disturbing to him. I don't let my 2 year old watch discovery channel shows about snakes (even though he is obsessed with snakes) because they film the snakes jumping at the screen and it frightens him.

We also try to avoid tie-in marketing - as in just because we let the kids watch barney doesn't mean we buy them barney lunch boxes or barney T-shirts, etc. If they ask explicitly, sure, we can discuss it, but we don't just buy it because we think they'll like it better.

This policy has been undermined by family members who decided the kids HAD to have elmo stuff, which is less offensive than other mass marketing lines, in my mind, but still licensed characters. And it is also undermined by the fact that some things are nearly impossible to find without some marketing - kids shoes or or disposable diapers or toothbrushes, for example.

Basically, at their current ages, I want to limit their exposure to things that contradict our values . When and as they get older, we will definitely introduce/lesson our control - again, as they gain cognative abilities and skills to make informed decisions. And I am sure my thoughts will change as our reality changes - as my kids get older and have more peer pressure, we may cave or modify our approach.
post #188 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by jauncourt View Post
With good reason - the kiss is the sanitized version. Originally, the sleeping girls are woken by non-consensual sex, or giving birth to babes concieved while they were enchanted. Yick. However, that in itself is a magic-softened parable of forced marriage for conquest or political purposes. Sorry, tangent
Where can one find these? I've read some very old versions of various fairytales, and I've never come across that aspect before. I'd never even heard of it.

The "woken with a kiss" thing never really bothered me. I kinda like being woken with a kiss myself. I just don't see kissing someone you think is dead (Snow White) or know needs to be kissed to arise from a coma (Sleeping Beauty) is in the same league as non-consensual sex...

That said, I find most of the Disney Princesses simply annoying. Belle and Jasmine both have a lot of spunk, and Mulan kinda kicks butt, however, the others are...annoying. (Pocahontas mostly bugs me because of the bastardization of her story, not because of the character.)
post #189 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by secretresistance View Post
Also, if my daughter's life dream is to marry the person she'd have to marry in order to become a princess, um, I'd think I had failed in a fundamental way. Am I misreading?
I don't know if you're misreading anything or not. If my daughter insisted she wanted to be a princess, I would go out of my way to share what I know about real princesses and see if she still wants that.

The main problem with princess and superhero idolatry at the preschool level is that its not like the children have been exposed to all sorts of career choices and somehow decided "I like that one to emulate". Its all prepackaged trinkets for concepts that are both exquisitely easy to market and easy for a child and parent(!) to understand. It would be slightly harder (and require more marketing dollars spent) to induce girly emulation of an accountant because you have to explain money, math, time, basis, taxes and alot of those things are no fun. Money-parent separation is easiest by giving a child a very simple, high fun concept which can be reduced to shiny, mass produced trinkets. And yes I find such tactics sad when they work and repulsive when they don't.

There is an interesting PBS Frontline series called "The Merchants of Cool" on money-parent separation once children hit the teenage years: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...ows/cool/view/. It shows that there is no such thing as an insular world as long as Viacom exists.

I would still allow anyone to wear or bring whatever characters on their shirts to preschool. Just because I find something sad or repulsive doesn't mean everyone else does.
post #190 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Where can one find these? I've read some very old versions of various fairytales, and I've never come across that aspect before. I'd never even heard of it.
This is an essay on feminist readings of fairytales and culture. Footnote 18 (at the end) gives the specific citation. I originally read about this facet of the popular tale in a book on the darker side of teaching tales that's in my parents' library.

It's originally a darker story, but it was also a story from a much darker world :|

Maura
post #191 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
The "woken with a kiss" thing never really bothered me. I kinda like being woken with a kiss myself. I just don't see kissing someone you think is dead (Snow White) or know needs to be kissed to arise from a coma (Sleeping Beauty) is in the same league as non-consensual sex...
But the men who wake Snow White and Sleeping Beauty up with kisses are STRANGERS. Not the princesses' lovers. And that's wrong.
post #192 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Where can one find these? I've read some very old versions of various fairytales, and I've never come across that aspect before. I'd never even heard of it.

.)
Go to the "sources" section of the article for the basis of Sleeping Beauty...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_Beauty Originally, she is raped, not woken with a kiss.
post #193 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inci View Post
But the men who wake Snow White and Sleeping Beauty up with kisses are STRANGERS. Not the princesses' lovers. And that's wrong.
They're not strangers in the Disney movies. Sleeping Beauty and her prince had met before the kiss. I think Snow White and her prince (who had no name) had, as well, but maybe they only heard each other when Snow White was singing. I can't remember for sure.

Anyway - the way the stories are set up, they're stuck either being kissed by a stranger or left in a coma forever...neither of them had a lover, as such. The stories certainly have an objectionable side, and the original versions cited by another poster sound grotesque...but I'm not going to put in on the princes in question for sexual assault in the circumstances in the stories, yk?
post #194 of 331
I just checked those sources. Perrault's version has her being raped, but he'd changed an already existing story, so I think saying that "originally" she was raped is way overstating the tale. His version might be the best known in a literary sense, but most people I know have certainly never heard of it. As vapid as Disney princess movies are, I really can't connect this version to the Disney one, yk?

Princess stories and romances and such bore the crap out of me, so I'm certainly not an expert on this stuff.
post #195 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
They're not strangers in the Disney movies. Sleeping Beauty and her prince had met before the kiss.
Yes they met and danced and the prince ran home to the King and Queen to tell them he wanted to marry her. Snow White and her prince also met and had that lightning bolt of love moment and he searched the countryside for her until he finally came upon her in the glass coffin. According to one of Tomie dePaola's books the prince in the pre-Disney version didn't kiss her but picked her up to take her to his castle and the poison bit of apple fell out of her mouth and she awoke. I guess Walt Disney liked the Sleeping Beauty ending better, maybe if he'd made Sleeping Beauty first he wouldn't have ended Snow White that way.


Thismama, banning children's play and what they can bring with them to school is the slippery slope. Obviously parents can decide what they want to ban (or discourage) in their own homes but I'd be annoyed if my DS's spider-man sneakers were verboten anywhere he goes (unless it were someplace where all shoes were forbidden). I actually wouldn't stand for it. I'll decide if my kid can have spider-man on his shoes and you (general you) decide for yours. That's not the same as someone else wanting to decide for other people's kids (especially when it involves trying to control their fantasy play).
post #196 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I just checked those sources. Perrault's version has her being raped, but he'd changed an already existing story, so I think saying that "originally" she was raped is way overstating the tale.
Actually Perrault started the sanitization. This is the story he drew from. The wikipedia article is kind of confusingly phrased - also there are several other folklorically related stories that have the element of non-consensual sex resulting in offspring.

OK, that's enough tangent. Any updates on the school issue?

Maura
post #197 of 331
I think it's acceptable for a private preschool to ban whatever it wants, as long as the rules of the ban are clearly stated, up front, before the school year starts, so parents can decide if their personal values and philosophies mesh with the school's. I don't think banning anything halfway through the year is a wise decision. However, in general, I'd be in favor of a ban of all licensed characters and toy weapons, yet opposed to a ban of any type of play.

Kincaid, when's the meeting happening? How's everything going?
post #198 of 331
Quote:
Not a developmental psychologist, but I think that when preschoolers are going through that phase of identifying gender, it's healthy for them to have a preoccupation with more rigid definitions of gender. I think we have moved past supporting little girls (in particular) to navigate this natural developmental stage, to fetishizing a narrow notion of feminine and making it prescriptively definitional and limiting.
:

OP, I completely support you and I absolutely agree that it's a double standard. Good for you for standing up for this.

My DD is struggling on the outside of an older girls' clique at school. All they do is play dress-up and Disney princess (school doesn't actually provide character materials, but it doesn't matter). They also like to tell DD that her clothes and shoes are not "pretty." DD is not interested in princesses and has never seen a Disney movie.

I am proud of the way I've raised my daughter, but this has been hard on my mama heart. She now plays a lot of pretend games at home featuring mean girls who exclude others. She is freaking 3 years old. To the teachers' credit, they are fighting hard against this, but it seems like they are a voice crying in the wilderness.
post #199 of 331
I think this entire issue has been blown completely out of proportion. There is nothing wrong with letting little children play, and act out as little princesses or superheros, or even cowboys and indians. They're kids, using their imaginations and nothing insidious or violent should come out of that. However, when adults try to superimpose their complicated thoughts and fears onto something so simple and innocent as children playing, you end up with draconian like methods being used.

Instead of telling your little girl how powerful princesses have been in the real world (Lady Di) you just outright ban princesses because of a few disney movies? Little girls like to play with pretty things, why is it hard for you to understand that? Instead you have to turn it into some ridiculous feminist movement, and now you've complicated and confused your child who doesn't think like that at all. She just wants to have fun.

Little boys are going to play rough. Take away all the cartoons, superheroes, play weapons etc etc... and they'll just use a stick or garden tool or whatever suits their fancy as a proxy. They'll play just as rough, but now not in a safe environment. As a parent, and adult it's our responsibility to provide a safe and controlled environment for children to play in. Providing rules and letting the boys understand boundaries and personal space will go along way towards limiting any serious harm happening. Letting little boys pretend to be superman is not the worst thing that can happen...
post #200 of 331
Quote:
Not a developmental psychologist, but I think that when preschoolers are going through that phase of identifying gender, it's healthy for them to have a preoccupation with more rigid definitions of gender. I think we have moved past supporting little girls (in particular) to navigate this natural developmental stage, to fetishizing a narrow notion of feminine and making it prescriptively definitional and limiting.
I missed this the first time, but I think it's really interesting. My daughter did not care about her gender at ALL for years. People always thought she was a boy and she wouldn't bother to correct them.

Then at almost three she started to correct them. And right now (at almost 4) it is important to her that she is a girl and she is going to be a woman. Her big things about being a woman (or a 'mama' which to her is synonymous with woman right now) are that she is going to do homework and carry a baby in her belly. She loves to put dolls up her shirt, and borrows my highlighter and pages with computer printed text on them to highlight things. Her 'woman' play is based on things she sees me and other women in her life do. She VERY much wants a sister, and when a bunch of my friends went out to eat last weekend, she was thrilled to notice that everyone was a girl.

She is also pretty rejecting of her dad right now, which is new, and which he has suggested to me is part of this stage of identifying with her own gender and figuring out what that is about. I think he is probably right about that.

I do wonder what she would be like in a different world, though, kwim? Developmental psychology is great but it too comes from this context. My daughter has said to me several times that she is shy of men, but not women, because men are "too angry" and "loud." I honestly do not know where she has gotten this as the men she is around are not angry or loud. Well... her father is a bit loud, but she is not shy of him.

However, there is a wider cultural truth that men do tend to be more violent than women. Whether she has picked up on that somehow I do not know, or it may have to do with the fact that the world of small children seems populated with women, so women are more familiar.

Basically a long rambling way to say that I do not know to what extent these norms of developmental psych that we accept as unchanging and essentialist, are actually influenced by the culture in which we live. And while my daughter has not been exposed to much princess play, she absolutely has been exposed to the gender divide in our culture.
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