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I started a Princess battle at preschool - Page 17

post #321 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
This issue has me really thinking hard.

By equating Princesses, Barbies and Bratz to super-hero toys, are we establishing that there are Girl Toys and Boy Toys?

What do Bratz have to do with super-heroes?

How will banning Bratz make the situation any more fair or logical?

The decision to ban a toy should not be based upon gender, either gender. It is wrong to ban girl toys, just like it is wrong to ban boy toys.

It makes sense to ban a toy that encourages violent behavior. But the parents need to prove that any particular toy actually causes violent behavior.

Kincaid, you must decide very carefully what you are objecting to. Then decide very carefully what you think the solution is to your objection.
I don't really get the feeling, despite the feminist perspective involved, that this is really about banning girl toys, in response to a ban on boy toys. The stated reason for the superhero ban is that superheroes don't demonstrate good problem solving skills. While I suspect they mean that superheroes are too violent, that's not what they say. To say that a child (male or female) can't wear a Batman t-shirt, because Batman doesn't demonstrate good problem solving skills, but a child (male or female, although I'll admit that girl in a Batman shirt strikes me as being more likely than a boy in a Cinderella shirt) can wear a Cinderella t-shirt makes no sense to me at all. As several people have mentioned on this thread, the Princesses (Disney, Barbie, Bratz - the diva toys, in general) certainly don't demonstrate good problem solving skills. To whatever extent they may do so in the stories, it's buried in the way they're marketed.

I have to agree with Kincaid that if one entire group of licensed characters can be banned for something as vague as "lack of good problem solving skills", then that criteria should be applied across the board to all licensed characters. I feel that even more strongly as I believe that the average superhero demonstrates far more problem solving capability than the average Princess.
post #322 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
Acknowledge, decide. For the sake of this argument here on this thread, I need to know if you, my fellow MDC parents, have established, or agree, that there are girl toys and boy toys. Because it is not a given. Some here could insist that there is no such thing as a girl's toy or a boy's toy.
define is... ; )

basically it comes down to the difference btw Gender (a social construct) and sex (biologically determined difference - i.e. penis vs vulva).

Culturally, there absolutely are gender defined "boy toys" and "girl toys", and toy companies, clothing manufacturers, and kids tv reinforce this quite strongly.

Whether there are toys which are inherently sex based is debated quite a bit. In my opinion, while I cannot say that differences between boys and girls, and their playthings of choice are 100% gender-based (vs sex based), I personally believe this choice is in the high 90% gender based.

That said, it is very very hard to go against gender definitions in this world. Boys and girls who don't conform to gender expectations face a great deal of pressure. And kids are still learning how to BE little people, including rules such as "boys play with trucks" and "girls play with dolls". Nice, concrete, universal rules - which is how preschoolers view the world.

This is why breaking the hegimonic hold those gender stereotypes have on our children at this crucial early age is VITAL.
post #323 of 331
Sadly such a ban (on superheroes or princesses or whatever) does the most harm to the very children who are most vulnerable to commercial exploitation.

Suppose there is a boy who eats, sleeps, and dreams Superman. Clearly he has been touched by the powerful Marvel marketing machine. Sometimes he imagines himself to be Superman. His fixation with Superman interferes with his ability to learn and to make friends at school. His school has such a ban. So he wears his Old Navy clothes and carries his lunch in a brown bag. He knows every teacher and administrator disdains Superman and this ilk so he does not talk about his hero worship alot. He certainly does not try to sneak any Superman toys into school. His teachers, who are supposed to be there as experts in early education, have little to go on to explain his learning problems. Perhaps these teachers dont take alot of time to ponder this boy's learning problems, especially if they are trying to deal with a thousand other matters that teachers deal with. Had this boy been free to express himself in any way he likes, his teachers or almost anyone could more easily identify him as a candidate for some kind of early intervention.

The ability to identify people for reform is one of the fringe benefits of freedom of speech.
post #324 of 331
That's insane! And sexist. If they're going to ban licensed characters, that's one thing, but to ban 'superheros' and still allow all the princess stuff? That's not cool. What about the female superheros? Could a kid have a Wonder Woman lunch box? Storm? Supergirl? And what do they know about problem solving? Have any of them read an issue of X-Men where the characters are tormented about having to fight bad guys who are willing to kill, when the mutant heroes won't kill, even if their life depended on it?

I would pull my kid from a school like that, frankly. That's the kind of non-thinking that gets us all in trouble.
post #325 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
This is all very well articulated, but we seem to have lost sight of the fact (I repeat) that what we're talking about here is making choices for OTHER peoples' kids, not just our own. That is censorship. That's banning Catcher in the Rye from high school. Same thing. Plenty of people think that Salinger is just as much schlock as Cinderella. In the end, it all falls under the heading of making moral decisions for other peoples' children.

To be honest, the relative merits and vices of superheroes and princesses--as much as I've enjoyed the debate--are beside the point.
I see what you are saying, except that we already practice many "acceptable" restrictions of commercial speech to children (tobacco, alcohol, pornography). Do you think these are unacceptably censorious as well? What would be the difference?

And of course other kinds of clothing are also prohibited (eg clothing with sexual/racist/homophobic phraseology). Do you find regulating these unacceptable?

Do you find it censorious to prohibit or restrict soda and junk food at school?

Is it censorious to prohibit military recruiters or their advertising in schools?

Not everyone finds all of these unacceptable. Some will think some of these should be outright banned or tightly regulated. In my view all of these require a conversation between adults and some community-guideline-setting.

I find commercial speech on clothing and at school problematic because commercial speech aimed at children is everywhere, it's insidious (viral marketing slumber parties and product placement) and these days it's frequently tied to school funding (soda machines, bus radio, etc). And I think it's perfectly reasonable for a group of adults to come to the same conclusion and try to consensually create a tiny space in their childrens' lives that is ad-free.
post #326 of 331
kincaid, have you any updates? this has been an interesting discussion, but i'd like to hear what they're discussing at your ds's school!
post #327 of 331
I haven't followed this whole thread. But, yesterday, ds mentioned that "Stephanie is a superhero". And when I inquired, he was referring to the pink Stephanie on Lazy Town. Apparently, she becomes a superhero in this DVD. http://www.amazon.com/LazyTown-New-S.../dp/B0009UC7PC

So, would Stephanie lunch boxes be banned?




Pat
post #328 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I find it very... typical ... that the mothers at your school defending the princesses are also the ones doing that stereotypical woman thing of not having an actual, direct conversation, but presenting their points in a passive aggressive manner.

Ah, the irony!
post #329 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by leewd View Post
:

As one who desparately HATES the whole princess thing, I'm stearing my girls toward the Power Puff Girls (they kick a$$).

I don't see why the "lesbian-thing" would be an issue. I'm as straight as a board ( I just thought of that ), and I totally agree with you! Then again, maybe I'm an "abnormal" girl. I always preferred using the dolls as patients when I played doctor to playing family or whatever . . .
Did you know they were originally called the Whoopass girls? Their creator didn't think that would play very well on kiddie tv.
post #330 of 331
one can "become" a superhero in a myriad of ways. you can be bitten by a spider, or come from another planet, or be a normal person with extraordinary intelligence and resources etc etc.

but the ONLY way that any one of our commoner daughters can become a princess is if they marry a man that is a prince, and that external source of 'power' (which is also tied to marriage and by default, heterosexuality) just reeks, imo.

i have a neice who is just OBSESSED with princesses, especially the disney princesses. her family took her to a 'meet the princess' luncheon at disneyland and she was absolutely serious when she asked cinderella:

"how do i become a REAL princess?"

i don't think that cinderella gave her a definitive answer, but i thinking of various cheeky hypothetical answers to that one!
post #331 of 331
Actually, you can become an actual princess, title and lands and everything, through that "American Princess" reality show on We. Not that I'm suggesting that show is a model for female empowerment, mind you.

But I wanted to respond to this:

Quote:
I see what you are saying, except that we already practice many "acceptable" restrictions of commercial speech to children (tobacco, alcohol, pornography). Do you think these are unacceptably censorious as well? What would be the difference?
Restricting childrens' access to these things is actually written into law. I think, generally, that limiting access to things that are not regulated by law is where the line is crossed into censorship.

Quote:
And of course other kinds of clothing are also prohibited (eg clothing with sexual/racist/homophobic phraseology). Do you find regulating these unacceptable?
Arguably some of this falls under obscenity regulations, as well. But no, I don't object to regulating hate speech. Hate speech is a directed, pejorative attack on a person or group of people. Cinderella and Spiderman are not.

Quote:
Do you find it censorious to prohibit or restrict soda and junk food at school?
I have a very specific position on this, which I am happy to have the opportunity to share. I think it's absolutely fine for schools to be limited in terms of what they provide as part of their food service. I don't see how it serves the community at all for schools to spend their limited funds on Dr. Pepper and Hershey bars. However, I think that it would indeed be wrong and arguably a violation of civil rights for schools to regulate what individual students can bring in their brown-bag lunches (barring a deadly peanut allergy in the school or some other issue of immediate danger). So yes, I would see that as censorious in a similar way to the princess/superhero ban.

Quote:
Is it censorious to prohibit military recruiters or their advertising in schools?
Yes. And I am not in favor of this war, not in the slightest. But if colleges and businesses can recruit, then so can the military.

Quote:
Not everyone finds all of these unacceptable. Some will think some of these should be outright banned or tightly regulated. In my view all of these require a conversation between adults and some community-guideline-setting.

I find commercial speech on clothing and at school problematic because commercial speech aimed at children is everywhere, it's insidious (viral marketing slumber parties and product placement) and these days it's frequently tied to school funding (soda machines, bus radio, etc). And I think it's perfectly reasonable for a group of adults to come to the same conclusion and try to consensually create a tiny space in their childrens' lives that is ad-free.
OK, but it's actually the children's freedom that concerns me here, not the desires of the parents. Oh, I know, I'm just a free-speech, civil liberties nut--I voted in favor of providing the pill at our local middle school too. And I have gone on record at our city hall opposing the criminalization of skateboarding and possession of certain art supplies (which may or may be used for graffiti) by minors.

I just think kids have so few rights, so few avenues to express themselves without adult intervention. I hate that there seems to be this idea that the more we can lead/guide/limit their experiences when they're young, the better off they'll be when they're older. I'm afraid that the opposite is true.
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