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Little girls and fairy tales

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous in Parenting' started by guesshoo, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. guesshoo

    guesshoo IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello folks,


    my dd is 3. This morning my mum was telling her an elaborate version of Cinderella with lovely descriptions of the ball gown, shoes, palace and prince. She was enraptured.


    I kept my mouth shut without comment, but that's because these stories of girl needing to be saved by a prince because she can't hold her own annoys me. Does anyone here share my aversion to these stories of helpless girl being rescued by handsome princes especially when they are being related to your little girls??


    I steer clear of anything to do with princesses and barbie dolls. However it is slowly creeping into my house, thanks to gifts from well-meaning persons. What do I do other than accept this gracefully?!?!
     
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  2. neetugtb

    neetugtb Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Guesshoo,

    You are right, times have changed. Girls need to believe in themselves rather than these princes in shining armour. So, along with these stories you can explain her about those times when women were way behind men, that how women have progressed and made way for themselves, now they can defend themselves with martial arts and don't need to depend on princes.

    As for the barbies, you can keep one or two and gift the rest. Your DD is quite young, even if she plays with them it's ok. Pretend play helps in encouraging imagination. My DD treated her dolls and stuffed toys as friends, she used to talk to them, dress them up, teach them, wash their clothes. They were her best friends when she had no friends to play but with time, it just wore off.
     
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  3. RedRuby

    RedRuby Platinum IL'ite

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    Very interesting and very important topic for women and mothers of girls in particular. did you ever watched the damsel in distress series by feministfrequency? Very interesting views on some video games etc. and their outlook on females... the biggest problem is not only that dolls like barby have physics with whom a real women could not survive but they deliver such a body image to girls which is distastefull upto unhealthy. Its a shame. really is. the problem is not just the daily routine sexism (just switch on telly and follow the nice list of adverts who are selling off products with female bodies and most of those products have really NOTHING to do with body care etc... like burgers for example.... really? sexualised women to sell burgers??) But then it goes on in the room of the kids.. everything needs to be pink... seriously.. im pregnant with a girl child and this drove me literally crazy. I like girly things and im a very feminine woman who considers herself to be proud to be a woman. But does that mean that i have to cover everything in mine and my daughters life in a pink cloud?? I was shocked how much worse it became since my own childhood, and we really think its better now.. if i look arround and see that even for a new born there is hardly any other option then to dress her in pink, get toys in pink... god even her soothers are pink! What we expect her how to create a concept about female behavior and rights and a general self-concept? So yes i totally understand you 100%.
    Just look at the wald disney movies. It drove me crazy that nearly all of them encouraging a picture of princesses who have as main goal to please, find and marry a prince... the prince who is strong taking the decissions and safes her from whatever. If its not prince its any other guy as long she will be able to make him safe and marry her its great story it seems. So what we think what we implement in our daughters brains by that? It creeps me actually. Just go through the list of diesney females... nearly all of them get safed. I think pocahontas was the first who broke the spell a bit and it got better with mulan, brave and frozen... but still.... even those are discussible...
    I already told in anger i will send my own daughter to karate or kick boxing classes to make her her own hero and let her safe herself as she doesnt need a male hero.. think i will really do that.

    What can be done against that? I dont know.... watching such movies like other complicated movies too... with discussing views and opinions afterwards and having a good open heart to heart conversation with our daughters. By trying to be good role models. by at least trying to not drawn the poor girls in so called female toys in female colour (gosh i used to like pink now i get sick by it.... i just got some green peaces for my lil one to get rid of the girly outlook arround her stuffs). And i think you are doing a great job to keep her away from certain toys... rest we can do is encouraging a healthy body image and a healthy sef-concept as a proud female but NOT a stereotyped one.

    Sorry for emotional post but this is really a topic that drives me more and more crazy last months (even more then before now i had the pink overdose)
     
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  4. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Guesshoo,


    fairy tales are sources of debates all the time. i think the first original story of Cinderella must have been told around 1000 years ago when slavery was in vogue.

    i think there is article /study on the effects of fairy tales in chidren. i will share the link or the pdf if i can find it.

    that said my children had a very liberal doss of fairy tales,panchatantra and mythology. the only difference was we always used to discuss it in relation to the present.

    i taught them when a fairy tales says ugly, it actually meant the inner beauty.

    i taught them that there are no princes and princesses apart from the child to the parent. that there will not be people coming to help them solve problems.they have to learn to solve them by themselves by trial and error.

    I personally believe the same fairy tales can be used to teach limits, discipline, courage and much more if used as a teaching tool or reading and discussion time between parents.

    the best you can do is ask your dd to tell you the story that her gran told. now when she tells you ask her what did she actually understand. you can then tell her what it actually means.

    On the dolls, i stopped them at my kids' 4th birthday. after that the only toy she ever had and has is a teddy bear. she had one till 8 years. at her 16th birthday we presented her one saying though she is no more a child but she will always be one and the teddy (huge one) was to remind her that..

    you can always limit the barbie time.

    the language, the dress, the characterisation in today's cartoon has evolved so much that my kids don't like watching them. they were a fan of many when they were young.

    These are my pov.
     
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  5. guesshoo

    guesshoo IL Hall of Fame

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    Neetugtb, thanks for the idea about discussing how times have changed. Never thought of that. My dd does pretend play with her stuffed toys and baby dolls. Yet Why barbies and those anatomically (in)correct princesses need to exist is beyond me! She picked up my bra last week and held it against her saying she wants to wear it so her body becomes "like this. like this." I earnestly replied she can wear it once she is older and diverted her. She is 3 for heavens sake! I blame those plastic dolls.

    RedRuby, Highfive! that rant post could have easily been mine! I'm so done with pink too! And am leaning heavily on yellows, greens and reds. Martial arts it is then! The one animated movie I like is shrek. Really broke barriers I think.
     
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  6. guesshoo

    guesshoo IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for your reply, Shanvy.

    I would love to read that article if you found it. Panchatantra and mythology have a big place on our bookshelf. And yes. Discussing how times have changed is indeed the key. And the definition of ugly, is brilliant! Thank you for that tip and all the rest in your wonderful post.

    I wonder what I'm going to do with those dolls though. I guess they'd end up in the charity shop in a year or two.
     
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  7. LotusAura

    LotusAura Gold IL'ite

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    Shrek was indeed path-breaking; wish we had more such tales of 'plump' princesses falling for golden-hearted ogres! But at some level, I'm still a believer in the old-world charm of fantasies & fairy tales, there's something about them that has clicked with generation after generation, century after century. They fire-up a kid's imagination magically. I feel they're an important part of our cultural/literary legacy and history which kids should not be deprived of.

    They're more intellectually enriching and stimulating than present day Hannah Montanas and the like. But at the same time, we must ensure that our kids are exposed to good contemporary children's literature that is reflective of the present times and breaks age old stereotypes. That is indeed important too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
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  8. Laks09

    Laks09 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    GH,
    I'm in the minority on this one, so please pardon me if I am blabbering. After raising a daughter who was into princesses big time, I now feel it really doesn't make as much of an impact as we imagine. I'm an indulgent mom. I get my children every toy in the planet that they desire. I had a collection of Barbies even before dd was born. She inherited them from me. We had every collector's Barbie imaginable. Indian barbies are my favorites. I just love barbies myself.
    I used to get a lot of grief from my friends for my choice of play things for my dd. All of that is in the past. My dd has outgrown the princess dreams, knows that fairy tales are just that and she is her own person. She is a very well rounded kid. We have put all the barbies away. Most came out only during Navarathri for the golu decorations.

    What I have seen is my dd emulating me more than any story she sees or hears. I'm a very independent woman and she is also quite an assertive kid. I love DH and I bend over backwards for my family and she seems to be doing the same. I think I've done a good job of leading by example. Let her hear all the stories there are. I find it so hard that pretend play with dolls that was looked down upon by many is such an important developmental milestone. My DS has no pretend play. Guess what the docs told me? Yes, introduce Barbie dolls if required but ensure he gets into pretend play. So don't completely cut out the dolls. Let them be around along with th other things like books, blocks etc. she will outgrow it in no time.
     
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  9. peartree

    peartree Platinum IL'ite

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    guesshoo, I share your distaste for princesses and anything related as well, for different reasons though. We haven't got to the stage of reading fairy tales just yet. The reason why I started trying to consciously avoid these things is because my toddler somehow got in her head that anyone wearing a dress/skirt is pretty, while anyone wearing pants is not pretty. So in essence, boys can never be pretty! And also add to it the constant comments from people around about pretty like a princess etc., etc. One thing I am hoping my daughter will never learn is to classify beauty. And I know what you mean by this creeping in through well-meaning friends! I am finding it increasingly difficult to insulate her from this pretty, not pretty nonsense, since she goes to school and of course, not all parents have a similar thought process! I, for my part however keep reinforcing to her that I will not allow somethings at this age, like paint her toe nails or insistence on only wearing a frock or dress.

    Another of my big peeves is the clothes they have for thee girls, with glitter and words like "Daycare Diva", or "Girls Rock" or "I love shopping with mommy" or "Daddy's little princess" etc.!
     
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  10. Rakhii

    Rakhii Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Guesswho, I grew up watching Cinderella and she was (still is) my all time favorite princess. And barbie was a close second until I was much older, like at least 12 years! When I went to Disney World for the first time (at 30 years old), I became a 5 year old when I saw Cinderella! Jumping up and down with a toddler in one hand! lol
    What I noticed is, what I watched or liked those days did not really have an impact on how I turned out to be.

    But it all honesty, in those days, i was big time into comic books too, specially spider man. My dad used to subcribe them for me and I used to love spider man as much as I loved Cinderella.

    So, what I am trying to say is, if a child is exposed to two kinds of worlds, its not going to do any harm. There needs to be a balance.

    Disney for example has evolved a lot. Cinderella, Princess jasmine etc are one story but then there is Tinker Bell and more recently princess Sofia who have an individuality of their and do things their way.

    Look at many of the classics too. Jane Austin for example, the primary goal for a woman is to get married (how much ever a strong a person she is portrayed to be). We still treat it as a classic and like it. Same with Cinderella.

    And I wasnt going to confess this but my DD (2.5 years old) has a princess costume. I ordered a Princess Jasmine costume for myself so that we both can have a princess tea party...:sigh:

    Dont worry too much, Cinderella isnt going to affect your DD's mind to the extent you fear it may.

    If you think you are having an over dose of princess stuff, balance it with something else once in a while. Like Dora maybe? Or Jake and the Never-land Pirates maybe?
     
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