Princess Nation: Getting real about little girls’ fantasies

When little girls attack, it looks an awful lot like an army of pink-clad princesses marching forth from preschool to pubescence. What are the lasting effects of this obsession?

Augusta, Ga. – Wearing an outfit seemingly cast off from the set of the old “Solid Gold” television show, my daughter spins around with her arms held gracefully at her side.

“It’s a wunnerful dweam come twue,” she gasps, quoting a line >from “Cinderella.”

Is this where little princesses are headed?

Emmie is 3 years old, so I hold back my gag reflex and reflect upon my own childhood. I’m sure I behaved in a similar manner… didn’t I? I wrack my brain for something upon which to hang my last shred of hope that we didn’t get the wrong baby at the hospital. Nope, I got nothing. I spent my days poking things with sticks and getting as dirty as I darn well pleased.
Emmie washes her hands five times a day. Whose child is this?

Dr. Keri Weed from the psychology faculty at the University of South Carolina-Aiken explained that each infant is born with unique traits, and that some things are constitutional — inborn, but not necessarily genetic.

“Then those constitutional traits get shaped and modified as they interact with family and people in their environments,” she said. “But they do form a fairly strong initial bias. You being an active child, your parents may very well have allowed that… If the same child was born to a different set of parents, they could very easily discourage those behaviors in a girl.”

Weed explained that Emmie’s obsession with princesses and other such girly things is within the range of normal. When gender identity begins to form around the age of 2, children begin to be able to identify themselves as either a boy or a girl. They seek out toys, objects and experiences that reinforce that identity. It’s similar to how a teenager who was not me might have listened to a lot of The Cure because she identified with their ennui… (Read More)

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