Cinderella didn't even bite my daughters
But let us return to the preteen child and my choice of title for the blog. My own daughters never wanted to be Cinderella. Only the older 2 made a concession once to dress up as Queens Esther or a princess (as the middle one identified her costume) for Purim. The youngest never even did that and she eschewed the Barbie dolls that her sister may have played with for a few months, hough she did play with a baby doll. Though they have a couple of princess themed things in their possession, those were gifts from people who must have assumed that all girls of 5 or 6 liked this types of of things. One daughter even received lip gloss cases for her 6th birthday from classmates whose mothers must have considered makeup appropriate for a child that age. That stuff was thrown out, not because I would not have allowed my daughter to play with it (despite the goopy mess) but because she never cared to.
Also none of them cared for pink when they were younger and a couple seem to generally avoid the color. No question, that if they were given a choice of blue or pink, they would opt for the former. Orenenstein devotes quite a few pages to the proliferation of pink princess items. Interestingly, the Disney princesses that she blames much of this on didn't wear pink. Though Aurora of Sleeping Beauty is shown in a pink gown, the color was never determined. Orenestein must not have reviewed the movie because a central part is the conflict between two of the fairies over whether the dress should be pink or blue. That could be very telling in light of the transition of color domination. As Orensetin discusses the invention of pink as the feminine in the 20th century, replacing soft blue as the color associated with feminine virtue.
Notes on the fairy tales themselves: While Orenstein does offer her own critique of the violence in the Grimm version of Cinderella or the rather gruesome self-destruction of Rumpelstiltskin. She says nothing of the fact that the princess in that story gains her husband and rank as a result of a lie about her ability to spin straw into gold. She even promises to give her child away in order to keep the deception going. Orenstein does note her horror at a parent's willingness to give a child away in Rapunzel, but really glosses over the Machiavellian nature of the princess in Rumpelstiltskin. I discussed my problems with with the implied lessons of fairy tales years ago in http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/02/cinderella-myth-and-sense-of.html. BTW I did not try not to allow my children to read fairy tales, but I told them exactly why I objected to Puss in Boots and Rumpelstiltskin.
I also did not expose children as young as 3 to Snow White, which actually has a sequence that young children could find frightening. My 13 year-old remarked that she thought The Little Mermaid would be scary for young children. I don't believe she saw it when she was as young as the children she was babysitting for who watched it. Perhaps it is this overexposure to videos from such a young age is what accounts for the sway of pink princess culture. We do not have a TV, and did not even have a way to play videos.DVDs only became a possibility once our computer graduated to DVD player status, and by then the kids were beyond preschool age.
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