"Who is your favorite disney princess?" Aargh! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do any of your kiddos get questions of this ilk? I have a very verbal 23 month old and it seems people often initiate conversations with her along these lines. Checkout people in the supermarket, our pediatrician (who was trying to informally evaluate her speech as part of a well-visit - she was rewarded with a blank stare), relatives, neighbors . . . it seems everyone wants to know who her favorite princess is. They did this with my older daughter, too, I recall.

I usually respond, "she doesn't know any of the princesses - she doesn't watch TV." It seems to really, really, freak people out. Responses vary from a gasp, to, "not even Disney movies?" (Which annoys me so much. Disney movies are often full of violence and other painful images - so totally inappropriate for many young kids, and a toddler of her age in particular.) Are there really young toddlers out there who sit through Disney movies? Even if I wanted to promote TV and pop culture in our home, her sitting still quotient is about 4 minutes, tops.

The whole thing kind of baffles me. What's the story with knowing all the disney princesses being an integral part of childhood?

Anyone else?

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#2 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I think they are just trying to make conversation - and relate to little kids. FWIW, there are plenty of little girls (and boys) who know who Disney characters are, including princesses, even if they don't watch TV/movies.

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#3 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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I think that you are right.....Parents think nothing of a toddler sitting though a Disney movie BUT "OH! HOw do you boys sit to listen to a book?"

Yes, we get questions about TV shows all the time. I can tell you how many. I just let my 4 yr old tell them what he wants.
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#4 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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This is us too.

DD had to go to the ER the other night, and every single way they had to comfort a preschool aged child was Disney princess or Dora. I felt kind of bad, because they were just trying to calm her down and make her feel comfortable but she really didn't know how to answer when presented with Dora and being asked "who's this? who's this?" The nurse thought she was just being shy and was really hounding her trying to get her out of her shell. I really don't like to admit out loud that we don't watch TV because I don't think there's any way to say it without sounding smug, but I had to say something and the nurse just stared at me like I have two heads. (It's also not entirely true: she does watch some TV... in fact, she's watching it right now! We just don't watch anything that's trying to sell her something). Then the doctor came in and tried to get her to recite all the Finding Nemo characters (there was a big fish tank) and she tried to play along but didn't have any idea what he was talking about, so I had to explain again.

I probably wouldn't have bothered, but they were checking her for signs of a concussion and so I wanted to make clear that this was knowledge that she just doesn't have, and not knowledge that a head wound has made her forget. But she's not even 3 yet: I can't believe how many movies she's expected to have already seen!

But ITA with you, I really hate that these characters are the only cultural capital most preschoolers have these days. I hate that whenever we go to any doctor or dentist they always try to "look for Elmo in her ears!" or get all excited to offer her the Dora sticker or the Princess Dora sticker. And yes, we get the "who is your favorite Disney princess?" all the time too. Can't little kids just like cute puppies or kittens or something? Why does it always HAVE to be branded characters?

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#5 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think they are just trying to make conversation - and relate to little kids. FWIW, there are plenty of little girls (and boys) who know who Disney characters are, including princesses, even if they don't watch TV/movies.
Agree. But, I just wonder why it's so common to evoke the disney princesses . . . when there are thousands of other potential conversational topics one could use to relate to little kids.

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#6 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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I think that's the thing though, there are thousands of conversation openers and thousands of thing your child might like, so they pick the one thing they assume everyone must know about because they are so ubiquitous in our society. I mean the fact is that a lot of kids know about them, maybe not at 23 months, but not long after. So these people are just trying to find that common bond, ykwim?

Anyway, we weren't TV free when my daughter was two and still aren't. That said, I was very cautious about what she watched (and still am). It was mostly Little Bear and a couple of other sweet shows like that. So she had no clue what people were talking about when they asked her about a lot of popular TV and Disney characters including the princesses. Like you, it kind of bothered me a little because it was all.the.time, so it just got kind of old after awhile. But I knew people meant well and just let it roll off.

This is still an issue for us at four and half, only now it's with other kids instead of adults. Sometimes other little girls she runs into will ask her about this Ariel or Belle or whoever, and she doesn't know who they're talking about. It can be slightly awkward for a minute, but they get over it and move on.

But the nice thing is, adults don't seem to ask anymore. The conversation is just more natural now, and there isn't that sort of forced thing where the adult prods the kid for answers like when they're toddlers. Also, my daughter is more than willing to tell them every single detail about our lives so they can't get a word in anyway.

I bet as your child gets older and can bring more things to the conversation, you might not hear it as much either. One can hope anyway.
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#7 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is us too.

DD had to go to the ER the other night, and every single way they had to comfort a preschool aged child was Disney princess or Dora. I felt kind of bad, because they were just trying to calm her down and make her feel comfortable but she really didn't know how to answer when presented with Dora and being asked "who's this? who's this?" The nurse thought she was just being shy and was really hounding her trying to get her out of her shell. I really don't like to admit out loud that we don't watch TV because I don't think there's any way to say it without sounding smug, but I had to say something and the nurse just stared at me like I have two heads. (It's also not entirely true: she does watch some TV... in fact, she's watching it right now! We just don't watch anything that's trying to sell her something). Then the doctor came in and tried to get her to recite all the Finding Nemo characters (there was a big fish tank) and she tried to play along but didn't have any idea what he was talking about, so I had to explain again.

I probably wouldn't have bothered, but they were checking her for signs of a concussion and so I wanted to make clear that this was knowledge that she just doesn't have, and not knowledge that a head wound has made her forget. But she's not even 3 yet: I can't believe how many movies she's expected to have already seen!

But ITA with you, I really hate that these characters are the only cultural capital most preschoolers have these days. I hate that whenever we go to any doctor or dentist they always try to "look for Elmo in her ears!" or get all excited to offer her the Dora sticker or the Princess Dora sticker. And yes, we get the "who is your favorite Disney princess?" all the time too. Can't little kids just like cute puppies or kittens or something? Why does it always HAVE to be branded characters?

The experience you relate above is so scarily similar to what we went thru last week. (And BTW, I'm sorry about your DD! Hope she is OK now!) My toddler had surgery and everything was the same - is Elmo in your ear, here's a Dora sticker, look! look! Who's that? (Pointing at some character on the wall, trying to calm her down.) Asking my DD about disney princesses to evaluate how she was coming out of anesthesia.

Maybe that's why I'm feeling so disgruntled with the whole phenomenon right now. Where is the emoticon for a smiley face with an "aha!" lightbulb?!

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#8 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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A lot of people are well intentioned (they don't know what else to say), but it is annoying. It's particularly annoying given your daughter's age. It's recommended by pediatricians that children under 2 watch NO TV, and yet your own pediatrician assumes not only that she watches it but that she watches enough to have seen all the pricesses and have a favorite! LOL. My DS, when he was not yet 2 got asked similar questions (who is your favorite super hero). He responded with blank stares as if they were speaking another language. Now that he is 4.5 he knows who some of the princesses are and who a lot of the superheroes are just by listening to other kids in school, who who knows, he may actually answer the question now, even though he's never seen a disney movie or any superheroes on TV.

When it was random people at the grocery store making those comments, i totally let it slide. But when the pediatricians office or someone else who I feel really should know better did it, I made a point of letting them know that DS didn't watch TV.

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#9 of 14 Old 06-24-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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The experience you relate above is so scarily similar to what we went thru last week. (And BTW, I'm sorry about your DD! Hope she is OK now!) My toddler had surgery and everything was the same - is Elmo in your ear, here's a Dora sticker, look! look! Who's that? (Pointing at some character on the wall, trying to calm her down.) Asking my DD about disney princesses to evaluate how she was coming out of anesthesia.

Maybe that's why I'm feeling so disgruntled with the whole phenomenon right now. Where is the emoticon for a smiley face with an "aha!" lightbulb?!
Yeah, exactly. I'm not annoyed at the people who do it, I'm just annoyed at the fact that they do it. That probably doesn't make any sense. But it's totally a "hate the culture, not the people who live in the culture" thing. Obviously, they wouldn't do it if it didn't work for the vast majority of kids.

I mean, what kid likes having someone jab things in their ears? When I was a kid, the doctor was always "I'm looking for potatoes!" and now it's "I'm looking for Elmo!" Which probably makes more sense than potatoes, and makes kids giggle more, when you get down to it. I just hate that every little aspect of childhood is commodified into licensed and heavily marketed characters. And it does bother me that it doesn't bother more people, and that they think that Disney princess movies are anything but a 2 hour commercial for Disney Princess merchandise at this point. But it's obviously so ingrained in our culture and so acceptable to so many people that it's just the norm for talking to kids.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#10 of 14 Old 06-25-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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When it was random people at the grocery store making those comments, i totally let it slide. But when the pediatricians office or someone else who I feel really should know better did it, I made a point of letting them know that DS didn't watch TV.
That's the bit that bugs me no end. I find going to health facilities so frustrating in the crap that they give out to kids. It's bad enough when they use characters to make children compliant, but the real kick in the pants is the way that they hew to gender stereotypes while doing it. Not only are they bribing my kids with cheap commercial crap, but they're reinforcing "Princesses are for girls / robots are for boys" at the same time. I'm so close to leaving our dentist over this issue. Every time we go in for an appointment DD leaves with a bag full of Disney princess themed single-use flossers and toothbrushes. Gender stereotypes and advertising all in one neat little package. And that's ignoring the fact that this dime store junk is just that: more junk to throw out and pollute the planet. I just find it infuriating.

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#11 of 14 Old 06-25-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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That's the bit that bugs me no end. I find going to health facilities so frustrating in the crap that they give out to kids. It's bad enough when they use characters to make children compliant, but the real kick in the pants is the way that they hew to gender stereotypes while doing it. Not only are they bribing my kids with cheap commercial crap, but they're reinforcing "Princesses are for girls / robots are for boys" at the same time. I'm so close to leaving our dentist over this issue. Every time we go in for an appointment DD leaves with a bag full of Disney princess themed single-use flossers and toothbrushes. Gender stereotypes and advertising all in one neat little package. And that's ignoring the fact that this dime store junk is just that: more junk to throw out and pollute the planet. I just find it infuriating.
Oooh, this isn't a character themed complaint, but it reminded me of something that happened at my dentist that made me SO ANGRY. At my daughter's first cleaning, they made her feel all at ease by bribing with toys, toothbrushes, stickers, etc. None of these were actually character, and I didn't have a problem with it anyway (I'm not a "no bribing" parent by any means!). But when presented with the bowl of toothbrushes, my daughter picked out a yellow one. She was 2 and had never really shown any preferences for color, so she just kind of grabbed it randomly. And the hygienist actually TOOK IT OUT OF HER HAND and said "wouldn't you rather have the pink one?" and gave her a pink one.

I was really, really angry. As I said, I'm sure my daughter totally didn't care which toothbrush she got, but I said "No, she picked the yellow one. She wants the yellow one." and the hygienist gave me this really surprised and offended look. After all, she was just trying to be nice: obviously, if a girl didn't pick pink it must just be a mistake?

I was too lazy to change dentists, because I really like the dentist herself and she's come with so many great recommendations and we've had lots of oral problems around here and I've really liked how she's handled it. But I'm still kind of pissed about the toothbrush thing. Like, a year later.

I totally believe that there are innate differences in what boys and girls prefer and what they like and how they act. But this forced gender segregation that's pushed on them starting at birth pisses me off to no end. I don't think there's a single baby toy out there that you don't have to choose between the pastel version with flowers and the primary color one with rocketships. And I don't like the "just buy the rocketships for DD!" argument, because it's so obviously "boy" that I don't want to teach either of my kids that the boy themes are superior.

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#12 of 14 Old 06-25-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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Oooh, this isn't a character themed complaint, but it reminded me of something that happened at my dentist that made me SO ANGRY. At my daughter's first cleaning, they made her feel all at ease by bribing with toys, toothbrushes, stickers, etc. None of these were actually character, and I didn't have a problem with it anyway (I'm not a "no bribing" parent by any means!). But when presented with the bowl of toothbrushes, my daughter picked out a yellow one. She was 2 and had never really shown any preferences for color, so she just kind of grabbed it randomly. And the hygienist actually TOOK IT OUT OF HER HAND and said "wouldn't you rather have the pink one?" and gave her a pink one.
Arg. That would have made me furious. I hate when people "correct" my daughter's selections. (Or, due to her selections, start referring to her as "he" all of a sudden).

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I totally believe that there are innate differences in what boys and girls prefer and what they like and how they act. But this forced gender segregation that's pushed on them starting at birth pisses me off to no end. I don't think there's a single baby toy out there that you don't have to choose between the pastel version with flowers and the primary color one with rocketships. And I don't like the "just buy the rocketships for DD!" argument, because it's so obviously "boy" that I don't want to teach either of my kids that the boy themes are superior.
I'll have to disagree with you about gender differences. Although I am sure that there are some minor differences between the sexes, I think 99% of it is socialized these days. There is no pink gene

But I couldn't agree with you more about the gender segregation that's going on these days. All the old toys that both boys and girls played with when I was a kid have been reissued in shades of pink. The one that really got me is that cheap-o fisher price ring stacker. Part of the idea of the original toy was that you had a variety of different colours as well as different sizes of rings. Thus you could order the rings by colour as well as by size. "The red one is biggest". What are you supposed to do with the one in shades of pink? "Can you give mummy the pink one? ... No, the other pink one. Not that one, the darker pink one... ". Personally, I'm convinced that the companies do it so that they can sell you the same crap twice over if you have children of different genders.

Anyhow, this is totally off topic, so I should stop ranting. It's just a pet peeve of mine

Mum to DD 9/07 and DS 01/11

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#13 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 03:35 AM
 
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my children watch tv, my dd is 4 and she has no idea about about disney princesses either. i would just tell people she doesnt know who they are if they asked her that question.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-11-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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Dh loves tv. I mean really loves it. So it was a major sacrifice to go tv free when he was a sahd. dad for two years. We agreed no tv until 2. And then got so freaked out by the culture we said no tv unti, 3. And then 3 based and still no sign of it. Most of the kids at our preschool watch a bit and so it comes up but other kids, yikes, horrible.

We live I a high col area and many kids have two parents who work, although often times one parent who works part time or flex or something. The kids with Sahm watch far far more tv than the kids with a nannies.
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