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#31 of 52 Old 08-21-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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We love Pinkalicious (and the following books).

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#32 of 52 Old 08-21-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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We don't have many princess books but we do have a lot of princess dress up clothes. We make gowns and crowns using the Disney patterns and change the fabric to meet DD's requirements. She usually tells me when she's ready for a color change. lol
For the stories, we tend to make up our own. They usually involve unicorns and her Daddy. awwww
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#33 of 52 Old 08-21-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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Ok, this might be a little above the age range you're looking for, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Here's a book, Dealing with Dragons, where the main character, Cimorene, is a very unconventional princess. I never got into the whole princess thing as a kid, but I absoultely LOVED this book and princess Cimorene.

Now I want to read it again!
I still have a copy of this book and read it once a year or so!
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#34 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:12 AM
 
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We don't allow Disney Princess stuff in our home either (in short, here's why )
It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).

For another thing, it just doesn't do justice to the films. Ariel wanted to "drastically change her appearance" long before she met Eric - you could just as easily describe her as a "woman who determined her own destiny over the objections of her traditionalist father", if you felt the need. Noting that Jasmine was saved by a "street rat" seems like an unnecessary bit of classism - would it have been OK if she'd been saved by an upper-class gentleman? Plus, she was never exactly "enslaved" by Jafar - captured, yes (as was Aladdin at one point). The statement that Belle "saved a prince's life by her only asset, her sexuality" is downright absurd. Her kindness, intelligence, tact and bravery were all factors in the Beast's falling in love with her, and her love of books is explicit in the film (unless that's not considered an "asset"?). Even Cinderella has more to her than the text implies - you don't see little woodland friends running to help the stepsisters fit into the shoe. She gets help from her friends because she's kind to them - so her character contributes to her fate. And calling Snow White's "only asset" beauty is rather uncharitable - she's a mean housekeeper and a kind human being (or again, is kindness not considered an asset these days?).

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.

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#35 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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I'd try to move her over to fairies. Disney Fairies are actually pretty awesome. They all have jobs to do.
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#36 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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Wow. That link is funny...but so extreme and just...geez! How about just explaining to your child all the good attributes of a princess, besides their looks? MY DD is SO into princesses, I resisted it at first but I gave in and just made it a positive thing. We talk about how Cinderella is loving to animals, kind and gentle, a hard worker, etc. We talk about how smart Belle is, she loves to read books, is not afraid to be different than her friends. We love Mulan, talk about how brave she is, how she too is not afraid to be who she really wants to be, and how she loves her family so much she takes her father's place. We also talk about how girls can do anything that boys can. We LOVE Tiana, how she works really hard to make her own dreams come true.
Anyway, just wanted to point that out....there are ways to let them enjoy the commercialism and make it a positive thing, IMO.
Love this and honestly, once I stopped resisting the princess think, I found it was only one of DD's many interests.

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#37 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:47 AM
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There are some good parts to the Disney princesses (although we're holding off on most no matter what, b/c they are way too violent/intense for DD anyway) and we do really enjoy the Disney fairies, too. DD has totally gotten into inventing things. Not bad for a character I HATED from the Peter Pan play (she tried to kill Wendy, for heaven's sake! talk about "there can be only one" anti-feminism )

We watched the Disney TV Cinderella again, as it happened, for movie night, and had a lot of great conversations about how Cinderella was getting out of there on her own, before the prince showed up with the shoe, and how she had to make her dream come true, and how he loved her in rags, not just her pretty dress, and how the prince was unhappy with his fancy life and pressures, too, etc etc... but mostly DD A) loved the dancing and singing and big white poufy dress and B) was ticked they only showed the beginning of the story, and not when Chris and Cinderella make babies Because when you get married, then you're a mommy and daddy. So we got to talk about how so many stories stop at the wedding, too.

I was thinking of another great movie, for way older kids-- Ever After. Cinderella/Danielle saves herself with a sword and rescues the prince, too. And fights for class rights! Pretty awesome.

The few times DD has played princess, she's ridden a pegasus to find and save a lost baby dragon. But luckily as much as she likes princesses, she never wants to dress up as one and plays paleontologist and doctor and fairy and Mary Poppins MUCH more.

Someone mentioned Ella Enchanted-- the book is much better than the movie (I student taught middle school when it hit, and everyone was disgusted with the movie!) and Gail Carson Leviene's Two Princesses of Bamarre is EXCELLENT. There are even fairies, too
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#38 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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Can't think of the name, but there is a series of videos depicting "Princess Gigi" (it depicts general Judeo-Christian ethics, but not in a preachy way, like being unselfish, and remembering your parents have your best interests at heart, etc)

What I like about it is Gigi is just a little girl, but she is also a princess-- idk how to describe whether it is more fantasy/ imaginary princess or while dreaming, but her irl fam and friends also accept that she's a princess.

Very cute, good for the quite young, and not so syrupy that mom and dad will desire to hide the disk.

blessings

I have to admit, my princess was way into the dress up aspect, and both she and her step sister got WAY over the princessy desires when I handmade them each a flowy silk flower girl gown of her own, complete w pale blue silk sash.
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#39 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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#40 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Vermillion View Post
Ok, this might be a little above the age range you're looking for, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Here's a book, Dealing with Dragons, where the main character, Cimorene, is a very unconventional princess. I never got into the whole princess thing as a kid, but I absoultely LOVED this book and princess Cimorene.

Now I want to read it again!
I was just about to make this exact same post! There are also three more books in the series (two more with Cimorene, and one that is about her son).

The incredibly true adventures of two girls in love. Also starring DS babyf.gif12/09 and dog2.gif!

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#41 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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I like Fanny's Dream. It's not princess-specific, but a re-telling of the Cinderella story. Fanny is a farm girl who is convinced that her Fairy Godmother will take her to the Mayor's house for a ball, where she will meet a handsome, wealthy husband, etc. What happens is quite different and ultimately lovely.

Gwen , partner to D ; Mamma to T (6) , J (4) , and baby P
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#42 of 52 Old 08-22-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).

For another thing, it just doesn't do justice to the films. Ariel wanted to "drastically change her appearance" long before she met Eric - you could just as easily describe her as a "woman who determined her own destiny over the objections of her traditionalist father", if you felt the need. Noting that Jasmine was saved by a "street rat" seems like an unnecessary bit of classism - would it have been OK if she'd been saved by an upper-class gentleman? Plus, she was never exactly "enslaved" by Jafar - captured, yes (as was Aladdin at one point). The statement that Belle "saved a prince's life by her only asset, her sexuality" is downright absurd. Her kindness, intelligence, tact and bravery were all factors in the Beast's falling in love with her, and her love of books is explicit in the film (unless that's not considered an "asset"?). Even Cinderella has more to her than the text implies - you don't see little woodland friends running to help the stepsisters fit into the shoe. She gets help from her friends because she's kind to them - so her character contributes to her fate. And calling Snow White's "only asset" beauty is rather uncharitable - she's a mean housekeeper and a kind human being (or again, is kindness not considered an asset these days?).

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
:

It's all just versions of reality anyway. Meaning...in the case of Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney writers took old stories and softened them considerably, adding talking animals and whatnot, and leaving out most of the heartbreak and all of the gore (though certainly not all of the violence). For Example. (Does anyone else remember that in the original story, Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit the shoe?)

Dd1 likes princesses. She likes beautiful dresses and shoes. She also wants to be a firefighter when she grows up, except when she wants to be a doctor. Or a mom. I think you have to look at the whole picture - kids are pretty good at separating fantasy from reality.

Mom of two girls.
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#43 of 52 Old 08-23-2010, 03:39 AM
 
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That is AWESOME! Thanks for reminding me why I really dislike disney!
Remember, most older disney movies are just retellings of old old old fairy tales. The types of tales that might have been told in the times that someone else was mentioning might be good for a girl to think about princessy things (at ren faires).

At least no one's cutting off toes in the current Cinderella!


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It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).

For another thing, it just doesn't do justice to the films. Ariel wanted to "drastically change her appearance" long before she met Eric - you could just as easily describe her as a "woman who determined her own destiny over the objections of her traditionalist father", if you felt the need. Noting that Jasmine was saved by a "street rat" seems like an unnecessary bit of classism - would it have been OK if she'd been saved by an upper-class gentleman? Plus, she was never exactly "enslaved" by Jafar - captured, yes (as was Aladdin at one point). The statement that Belle "saved a prince's life by her only asset, her sexuality" is downright absurd. Her kindness, intelligence, tact and bravery were all factors in the Beast's falling in love with her, and her love of books is explicit in the film (unless that's not considered an "asset"?). Even Cinderella has more to her than the text implies - you don't see little woodland friends running to help the stepsisters fit into the shoe. She gets help from her friends because she's kind to them - so her character contributes to her fate. And calling Snow White's "only asset" beauty is rather uncharitable - she's a mean housekeeper and a kind human being (or again, is kindness not considered an asset these days?).

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
Woo!



Enchanted is actually really cute. Ends up being about people *choosing* (well, women, at least, the men don't really change much I assume b/c there were already solid in their decisions?) what they want. The career girl chooses something else...the fairy tale girl realizes she likes modern day stuff but retains her immensely romantic self. There's a bit at the end that the Susan Sarandon character kinda ruins with her "yes hello that's very obvious to us" dialog, but of course that's on the writers, not her. But the switch-up is fairly amusing.

DS watched Enchanted at 5 and LOVES it, and still loves it. He loves the other princess movies too...wanna know why? Because the princesses are nice and pretty. And until you actually get to KNOW someone, that's ALL we have to go by at the beginning. You look at someone and go "hmm, that person seems like someone I'd like to know, let's get to know them". So I don't see anything all that much wrong about a prince wanting to find someone because she's beautiful and he was entranced by her looks and whatever it was they spoke about while dancing at the ball (people always forget that they did spend that time together, and who knows what they said to each other)...and of course when you're very young and in that sort of timeframe, you do tend to just think about "happily ever after" instead of dating (like Amy Adams' character learns about in Enchanted).


I struggled with Disney through my 20s, until my mom died and I realized why most disney stories aka old fairy tales start with the death of a parent. And since then, I've realized I kinda like the movies and stories, and they are FAR better than reading the actual fairy tales (a friend of my son's gave him a REAL fairy tale book for his b'day, YUCKO)!
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#44 of 52 Old 08-23-2010, 06:30 PM
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:

It's all just versions of reality anyway. Meaning...in the case of Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney writers took old stories and softened them considerably, adding talking animals and whatnot, and leaving out most of the heartbreak and all of the gore (though certainly not all of the violence). For Example. (Does anyone else remember that in the original story, Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit the shoe?)

Dd1 likes princesses. She likes beautiful dresses and shoes. She also wants to be a firefighter when she grows up, except when she wants to be a doctor. Or a mom. I think you have to look at the whole picture - kids are pretty good at separating fantasy from reality.
I can't wait until DD is old enough to watch Into the Woods with me someday. The prince is like gagging from the blood in the shoe
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#45 of 52 Old 08-26-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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I love this post!

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is Groovy Girl dolls. They have at least one dressed as a princess. DD loves them - she has two now. We used to be able to buy them at our local Target but now they don't carry them any more. I bought the princess one for DD on Amazon. This one:

http://www.amazon.com/Groovy-Girl-13...2865170&sr=8-2

At least some, if not all the Groovy Girls have clothes that come off so DD can switch outfits between her dolls.

*gasp* I just noticed there are at least TWO more princess Groovy Girls. Don't tell DD that, she'll start begging!!
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#46 of 52 Old 08-26-2010, 10:49 PM
 
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Just wanted to cast another vote for The Paper Bag Princess. I recently got this book for my almost 2 year old DD to counteract some of the princess exposure and it rocks! Not that I don't like princesses b/c i do, including the dresses, but i favor a really well-rounded version (dresses and spirit). there was also this book i had when i was young about a really rude, boisterous princess and a genteel "ladylike" dragon who taught her some manners and the princess taught the dragon how to be "dragony" I can't remember the name but i loved it.
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#47 of 52 Old 08-26-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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The book I was thinking of is called The Princess and The Dragon by Audrey Wood
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#48 of 52 Old 08-26-2010, 11:47 PM
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It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).
...

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
all so true and well said! i agree. and i have to admit, i like pocahontas, mulan, and tiana (and, well, really, the music from the movies). my daughter loves these princesses (and belle, too, about whom i am more conflicted) and the music and i think there are okay messages there. and, as others have pointed out, it hasn't diminished her interest in bugs, aikido, art, or anything else one whit. it's just another interest.

now i'm off to look up some of the other wonderful suggestions!
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#49 of 52 Old 08-27-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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I didn't say before....I really loved The Princess and the Frog, partly for the music and partly because Tiana was such a strong character. And don't forget Princess Atalanta in Free to Be You and Me.

But I still don't worry about it. In terms of consumerism (one of the charges leveled against Disney), I think one of the most positive things one can do/learn is simply to admire and move on. There's a Belle dress in the Disney store that's To Die For--lace, gold, hoop skirt ....I probably like it more than dd does. But we're not going to buy it.

Mom of two girls.
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#50 of 52 Old 08-27-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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I just came across this list of Great Children's Books About Princesses. There are more books in the comments section of the post.

The incredibly true adventures of two girls in love. Also starring DS babyf.gif12/09 and dog2.gif!

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#51 of 52 Old 08-27-2010, 07:33 PM
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I didn't say before....I really loved The Princess and the Frog, partly for the music and partly because Tiana was such a strong character. And don't forget Princess Atalanta in Free to Be You and Me.

But I still don't worry about it. In terms of consumerism (one of the charges leveled against Disney), I think one of the most positive things one can do/learn is simply to admire and move on. There's a Belle dress in the Disney store that's To Die For--lace, gold, hoop skirt ....I probably like it more than dd does. But we're not going to buy it.
Atalanta!!!!! Oh yeah, we love her.

I think DD is SO good at admiring and moving on. It took me a long time to realize how that is just as/more satisfying as buying-- hey, we have a crazy consumerist culture. I hope to teach her the same same. Just to be free of that wantwantwant desire, I remember feeling even as a kid with ads for toys on TV.
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#52 of 52 Old 09-19-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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These aren't children's books- I read them in Jr. High/High School, but books by Robin McKinley have very strong female characters. The one's I think of when I think "princess" are The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.

She also wrote Beauty (a retelling of Beauty and the Beast) and The Outlaws of Sherwood (Robin Hood from Marion's viewpoint) and a few others- the names escape me right now.

I just got The Paperbag Princess at a booksale this weekend- I'll have to read it tonight
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