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July 8, 2010 - Kylie Saari
Disney is not my favorite company for many, many reasons. They are huge, they have unprecedented access to our children's minds, and I don't always agree with their business decisions.
But there is one Disney-bashing bandwagon I won't jump on, and that is the megalith of the Disney Princess campaign.
I grew up in an era of giving girls trucks and boys dolls and girls swearing up and down they never played with Barbie, nor would they allow their children too.
I remember declaring I would never dress my daughter in pink. (Those of you who know her can stop laughing now. My daughter rarely wears anything else.)
I was a feminist in the full-force, fighting and shouting kind of way. I had a son, and I let him wear fingernail polish. I took him to Menard's wearing dress-up shoes. I made sure the lessons I learned as a child about not genderising the child were taught.
But then I had a daughter. And she is naturally the girliest girl there is. She loves pink. She loves babies. She wraps her stuffed animals in blankets and cuddles them and says to them the same things I say to her. "Its okay, honey, it will be alright. Don't cry, I love you."
As she has grown I realized the best feminist I can be is to let my daughter be who she is. Forcing her to be someone she is isn't is terrible. Except when it is reigning in her propensity to hit her brother.
Disney lets girls play into their love of dressing up, imagining themselves in charge of a kingdom - because let's face it, Disney princes are only there for the wedding, after that, the princesses rule. I also like that the Disney people aren't making their gowns sexy in any way. They aren't like Bratz dolls, they are gowns, covered completely from neck to ankles - just like the good old days.
Sure, I can see the criticism of the damsel in distress, but have you seen The Little Mermaid? She is a spoiled little brat who disrespects her father only to learn that his rules are in place for a reason. By Little Mermaid Two, she is the rule laden mother and it is her daughter who disobeys.
So, my contribution to women's rights will to let my little girl explore who she wants to be without my politics interfering. She isn't only into princesses. She also likes to play light sabers with her brother.
And as for her brother, he is very boy. He doesn't like to have his nails painted anymore, although he does like to paint his sister's nails. His favorite thing to do is find things to imitate guns, even though that toy is not allowed in my house.
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