If you’ve never heard about National Princess Week, don’t worry… no one else had before either. It’s the joint creation of Disney, Target, and Julie Andrews and this was the first one. I stumbled across it randomly in the news, and then on the Target website when I was trying to shop for a chair.
They say “children across the country are invited to celebrate the sparkle and wonder of every princess—real, aspiring or imagined” in the official press release. That sounds fabulous… especially because Disney and Target have a host of princess paraphernalia you can spend money on this week to help your children do that.
Let’s be real… No Target and Disney invented week isn’t going to get a ton of crap in the news. Even if you get Julie Andrews to be the face of it. Yes, we’ve had a new Princess, ahem, Duchess, for exactly a year this week – But unless you got Kate to personally endorse a NATIONAL holiday for a country that she has been to once? It’s just cheesier you made it this week.
But here’s what has really annoyed me about this week: the turn the backlash has taken. Talk about how obviously commercial and ridiculous it is, I’m right there with you.
But this week’s media has been distorted into validation for the “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” crew who cringe every time their daughter asks for something pink or sparkly. And that makes me cringe.
The general argument is that historically, toys have represented what roles we expect kids to take when they grow up. They wouldn’t have been advocates of the plastic kitchen I was making dinner in or the baby dolls I was taking care of growing up. They now focuses on the Princess idea, and thinks that is also sending a bad message about what we want girls to be, and their relationship with boys when they grow up.
I guess my annoyance is this: it seems like they’re actually trying to teach their daughters that in the end being “girly” makes you somehow less admirable. You don’t hear anyone arguing that the boys need to be less like boys, so why on earth do the girls have to act less like girls? To me, this seems to defeat your whole feminist argument. Don’t teach girls they need to act like boys to be worth something, teach them there is something incredibly special in their femininity.
Girls want to be princesses because they want to be special. They want to be adored. And guess what: they are and they should be. I actually think that if more girls expected boys to treat them like a princess, we’d fix a lot of problems. It’s the girls who don’t believe they’re special and don’t believe they should be adored that I worry about.
I can’t pretend I have some great affinity for a marketing campaign feigning as a national celebration, but I can get behind putting a little more sparkle and wonder in our girls, and if that means a little more princess play this week, I’m all for it.