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I started a Princess battle at preschool - Page 13

post #241 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwahine View Post
anything of that theme and title is considered extremeisim by me
I don't think the unquestioned middle of the road approach is necessarily the superior one on this issue.

I also think it is sad when it is considered extreme to not subject our children to mass marketed gender role imagery. Especially here on MDC, I would expect a bit more critical thought.
post #242 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post
Don't know if it's been mentioned on this thread, because I don't have the time to read the entire thing, but I highly recommend, especially to those of you who have written things like, "Girls like to play with pretty things,"
I mentioned it, myself, that I did not really play much in the gender-typical girly way - I only played princess when I was playing with a male friend who later came out as transgendered (he loved to come over and dress up in my nicest dresses, and I didn't judge him for it). I played archaeologist, firefighter, police officer, explorer, etc, and I was given all the options - dolls, firetrucks, trains, dollhouse, sports equipment, books, cars, models, science kits, etc.

I played with my dollhouse, but only as a social activity. When alone, if I wanted to interact with it, I made things. I tried to re-engineer my dolls. I also dug up earthworms and kep them as pets, naming and caring for them and eventually returning them to the yard. I chose what I wanted - and it wasn't pretty things

It depends on the child. And just that - the child, not the gender. If the child asks for gender definition play, allow it, it's necessary to the child, but if the child is not interested, don't force it.

YMMV, but this works for me.

Maura
post #243 of 331
I think it is the height of ignorance to dismiss books as extremist and one sided without reading them.
post #244 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
Freer than... ?
Freer than the girls whose primary play and gender role identification is about being a princess, being pretty, and saying 'ew' when they see boys.

And I know several girls who do just that.

Quote:
This isn't my experience. My daughter--who I don't believe is atypical--blends stereotypically male and female forms of play. Her beloved princess Polly Pockets go to baseball games and save people from fires, for instance.
Nothing wrong with role playing dolls. I don't like Polly Pockets much because the primary purpose of the toy seems to be all the wardrobe changes. But making up stories with figurine type toys is fine in my book.

Quote:
I find that empowering; much more empowering than her being told she can't play with princess Polly Pockets because all they do is "look pretty."
I think posters are imagining my life, and the lives of other mothers who don't encourage princess play, as about repeated 'no's' to our children's plaintive pleas for the various toys. My kid doesn't even know about most of these toys; they are not on her register.

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Hers do much more than that, at least partly because no one is prescribing to her how she should or should not play with them.
Well, I beg to differ. The company, with the various vanities and Polly Pocket wardrobe rooms and cars, is prescribing a mode of play. I'm glad your daughter is able to avoid playing in that prescribed way, but that does not mean there is not intention in the type of accessories sold with the doll.

Again, I have no problem with *some* of that, or with figurines in general. And I bought my daughter the Polly Pocket doll with the animals awhile back. It was on the borderline of 'okay' for me. But she lost all the clothes and most of the animals rather quickly.

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Re. expanding and contracting, history demonstrates that you can never broaden someone's mind by limiting their access to images and experience.
I disagree. Avoiding commercial propaganda and other mind-deadening plastic crap is expanding, IMO.

And again, I am not a purist. My child watches a fair amount of TV. But not princess stuff, and I make no pretense that it is broadening her horizons. It simply gives me some peace, and that is why I use it.
post #245 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
Re. expanding and contracting, history demonstrates that you can never broaden someone's mind by limiting their access to images and experience.
I believe this is true of adults. I don't think it necessarily applies to children.

I don't buy the argument that parents choosing what their children will be exposed is draconian censorship, while marketing executives choosing what children will be exposed to is freedom and virtue.
post #246 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I also think it is sad when it is considered extreme to not subject our children to mass marketed gender role imagery. Especially here on MDC, I would expect a bit more critical thought.
That's terribly unfair, no matter what your view on this issue. There have been many thoughtful, well-reasoned posts on both sides of the issue on this thread. The critical thought may not always have been directed where you thought or expected it would be, but it's been far from absent.

I live nearby the author of Packaging Girlhood, so I have read it, and so have many of my friends. There is food for thought in there and some very good points about consumer culture in general and girlhood in particular. It's wise to be aware of the influences on our children. But it bears noting that neither the author nor the book states that we must do our best to never expose our daughters to the influences of popular culture, advertising, and mass marketing.

I *am* a feminist, and I strongly believe that the last thing our daughters need is for people to be telling them that it is or is not OK for them to do or like or want something simply because they're girls.
post #247 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
That's terribly unfair, no matter what your view on this issue. There have been many thoughtful, well-reasoned posts on both sides of the issue on this thread. The critical thought may not always have been directed where you thought or expected it would be, but it's been far from absent.
My point was that it sucks when one position is negated as 'extreme.' I hardly think it is extreme or without merit to critique and avoid princess and superhero play, and I resent the implication to the contrary.

Quote:
But it bears noting that neither the author nor the book states that we must do our best to never expose our daughters to the influences of popular culture, advertising, and mass marketing.
And it bears noting that no poster here has said we should never expose our daughters to pop culture. Let's not polarize the issue beyond what is the reality.

Quote:
I *am* a feminist, and I strongly believe that the last thing our daughters need is for people to be telling them that it is or is not OK for them to do or like or want something simply because they're girls.
I believe that our children need our protection, and that our young girls (and boys) need protection from rigidly defined one dimensional gender roles that send the message that girls are always pretty, value materialism, and wait for rescue by a man, while boys are never vulnerable, always save the day, and have lots of steroid-induced muscles.

That is hardly the same as 'people' telling them what to do or like or want. In fact, the place they are getting messages about what to do or like or want are from large corporations. Stepping away from our responsibility to guide and shield our children is not going to mean nobody is telling them how to be.

That is simply naivete and wishful thinking, unfortunately.
post #248 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

I don't buy the argument that parents choosing what their children will be exposed is draconian censorship, while marketing executives choosing what children will be exposed to is freedom and virtue.
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post #249 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
I believe this is true of adults. I don't think it necessarily applies to children.

I don't buy the argument that parents choosing what their children will be exposed is draconian censorship, while marketing executives choosing what children will be exposed to is freedom and virtue.
Fair enough, but what we've been talking about all along is making that choice for a larger group of kids, not just your own.

I think, ultimately, I just don't believe that parents are powerless in the face of global marketing. I don't personally believe that I'm powerless against it. I have confidence that my daughters will grow up to be thinking, confident, strong women no matter what they liked to play with when they were four. Perhaps in a vaccuum of parental modeling and involvement these things might become dominant (though for the record I do not in any way believe that everything that's globally marketed is "bad), but that's simply not going to be our experience; I have total confidence in that.
post #250 of 331
When I was a girl I wanted princess and barbie stuff. My parents would not spend a penny on it! Not one cent. They allowed me to fantasize all i want and if one of my friends gave me a sad chewed up version of Barbie, they didnt care. (How clever of them!!) I didnt like my treatment at the time but now it seems okay. I grew up and got married and had children, but I never once doted on the notion of my wedding day. I never developed a love for jewelry or shopping. (I loathe both really) and am bewildered by the idea of costume jewelry (isnt it strange how it only exists for women?)
post #251 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Stepping away from our responsibility to guide and shield our children is not going to mean nobody is telling them how to be.

That is simply naivete and wishful thinking, unfortunately.
Of course, people will always using her gender as an excuse to tell her how to be. BUT I WILL NOT BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I will be the one telling her not to let other peoples' ideas about gender tie her down.
post #252 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by floobear View Post
When I was a girl I wanted princess and barbie stuff. My parents would not spend a penny on it! Not one cent. They allowed me to fantasize all i want and if one of my friends gave me a sad chewed up version of Barbie, they didnt care. (How clever of them!!) I didnt like my treatment at the time but now it seems okay. I grew up and got married and had children, but I never once doted on the notion of my wedding day. I never developed a love for jewelry or shopping. (I loathe both really) and am bewildered by the idea of costume jewelry (isnt it strange how it only exists for women?)
I LOVED Barbies. I had many of them and played with them endlessly. I still have them and all their clothes.

And I grew up to be a big ol' dyke.

<shrugs>

Really, it depends on the person.
post #253 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
Of course, people will always using her gender as an excuse to tell her how to be. BUT I WILL NOT BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I will be the one telling her not to let other peoples' ideas about gender tie her down.
And that is good. But we have already addressed on this thread the issue of letting gender propaganda seep into the psyches of our children, and then giving them a deconstructionist critique and telling them not to let it affect them.

Definitely better to provide the critique than not. But that critique is not going to entirely remove the damage of that propaganda. Much better to not infiltrate a young mind with it in the first place.

I do not think a mother is the only influence on her daughter's life. Have you read the book Reviving Ophelia? The thesis as I remember it is that the cultural messages do affect children, and that these effects cannot be entirely negated by positive parental role modelling. And that we see the damage and harm from those messages manifest more obviously at puberty.

I think it is naive to assume we can render the gender propaganda harmless. If that were the case, we'd have a lot more women with a lot fewer issues than we do now.
post #254 of 331

My own issue with "Born to Buy"

Okay, I've read the book and the one issue I have (and I'm continuing to have) is that it's blind to class issues.

The author is a Harvard professor. She lives in a geographic area with incredible demographics. (Forgive me, if I use the wrong term, I'm not a sociologist).

I live in a very poor area of Appalachia. There are vast differences between the type of people that Schor interacts with in her daily life and the type of people in my life.

Like I said in a previous post, I think there are huge differences between wealthy urban/suburban areas and rural areas. I hate the whole red state/blue state idea but there is a grain of truth.

I think there is a difference in the type of consumerism in rurul areas versus urban/suburban areas and it's not fair to generalize. We've touched on this before in discussions of "what is mainstream in your area".

I think this does inform some of our experiences.
post #255 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by frog View Post
I LOVED Barbies. I had many of them and played with them endlessly. I still have them and all their clothes.

And I grew up to be a big ol' dyke.

<shrugs>

Really, it depends on the person.
Right, and I did too. But that is not proof that Barbie play, with the unrealistic bodies and overfocus on being pretty and fashionable, did not seep into your psyche in some way.

I know for myself I struggled with body image issues for a lot of my life, from girlhood through adolescence on up. I am still not totally over those issues. It was not ALL Barbie, but OTOH Barbie sure didn't help.
post #256 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
A
I think it is naive to assume we can render the gender propaganda harmless. If that were the case, we'd have a lot more women with a lot fewer issues than we do now.
FWIW, though I have many issues I don't see them as being the result of gender propaganda. Then again I never was much for "girl culture".
post #257 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
FWIW, though I have many issues I don't see them as being the result of gender propaganda. Then again I never was much for "girl culture".
Well, and I will be so bold as to say that none of us escaped it. We all see effects in differing ways, but I don't think ignoring 'girl culture' is an out. Gender role stuff is EVERYWHERE, from infancy on up.

Do you have body image issues? Do you find yourself needy/codependent in relationships, especially those with men? Do you have difficulty being assertive in conflicts?

Those are some issues that I notice are extremely present in women I know, and I think they have a lot to do with gender role indoctrination and what we see as acceptable ways for women and girls to be.
post #258 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Definitely better to provide the critique than not. But that critique is not going to entirely remove the damage of that propaganda. Much better to not infiltrate a young mind with it in the first place.
I guess it's a question of whether or not you believe that's actually 100%possible. I don't. I don't really think you do, either.

And then it's a question of whether you feel it's better to acknowledge it as part of our culture and let your child explore it under your guidance, or to ensure that the only exposure your child gets to it is far away from your watchful, thoughtful, critical eye.

I choose the former.
post #259 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
I guess it's a question of whether or not you believe that's actually 100%possible. I don't. I don't really think you do, either.
No, I don't think that is 100% possible.

Quote:
And then it's a question of whether you feel it's better to acknowledge it as part of our culture and let your child explore it under your guidance, or to ensure that the only exposure your child gets to it is far away from your watchful, thoughtful, critical eye.

I choose the former.
Well that is your framing of the options, but not the options as I experience them. We have tried to minimize gender role indoctrination from my child's birth. She obviously knows she is a girl, but she doesn't have these rigid ideas of what 'girl' means. Including that we have not shown her princess type toys/movies/games/etc.

She is not lusting after these things and finding devious ways to access them behind our backs. She simply does not care about them, and plays with the notion of being a girl in different and IMO less rigid/more healthy ways.
post #260 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Well that is your framing of the options, but not the options as I experience them. We have tried to minimize gender role indoctrination from my child's birth. She obviously knows she is a girl, but she doesn't have these rigid ideas of what 'girl' means. Including that we have not shown her princess type toys/movies/games/etc.

She is not lusting after these things and finding devious ways to access them behind our backs. She simply does not care about them, and plays with the notion of being a girl in different and IMO less rigid/more healthy ways.
It's not about lusting or deceiving; I'm not suggesting that about your daughter. It's about exposure. All it takes is one playdate where the other girl says, "This is Barbie. She only wears dresses and she has to be a mommy when she grows up." Little girl A might respond, "That's not true! My Barbie wears camo and is a bounty hunter!" whereas little girl B might just think, "Oh. I guess that's what Barbies are."
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