Operation Caffeination

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Under whose thumb?

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I overheard a conversation on the internet recently about the effect Disney princesses (and the deluge of complementary messages a young girl in our society is enveloped in growing up) might have on our daughters.

As I recall, it went something like this:

Person 1: “Personal responsibility, personal responsibility, personal responsibility, if you don’t like it don’t watch it, why do you hate everything that is fun in life?”

Person 2: “What is so fun about misogyny and crappy cartoons, and why do we have to reinvent the wheel every time someone has a daughter, what’s wrong with asking for a future for our sons AND our daughters?”

Person 2 went on to illustrate her point from the perspective of hyper-masculinity:

“If a child watched movies about serial killers on a daily basis, and dressed up like a serial killer multiple times a week, and every one of his/her toys were decorated with serial killers on it or to assist him/her in pretending to be a serial killer, and his/her shirts said things like “I’m a serial killer” (like shirts that say ‘diva’ ‘princess’ etc)…if that child was told on a daily basis by all of society that their value was in their power and level of violence (the way girls are too often told their value is in their looks)…then yes, I would venture to say that that child would grow up being more aggressive than needed, and could turn violent.”

I thought this was an interesting point, because we do indeed have a case study that backs her theory pretty nicely. There is a bizarre subculture out there that systematically promotes and rewards violent behavior in their young men.

Many of those young men grow up to be suicide bombers.

Maybe Person 1 is right, and comparing terrorist propaganda machines to Princess Sleeping Beauty Barbie push-up bralettes is apples and oranges, but I’m certainly not taking the chance with my own daughter. We’ll find our own fun and magic in reality.

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Written by GRSeim

October 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

One Response

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  1. Gendered messages are everywhere – the trick is to help our children absorb the messages we want them to hear loud and clear, and hope that our voices are strong enough. It’s why we have My Princess Boy alongside Where The Wild Things Are, why Libra has dresses in his wardrobe alongside his hooded tees and jeans, why we are part of a church community that encourages women to be leaders alongside men. It’s so, so important to me that he learn that gender is so much more than our society often makes it out to be.

    jaqbuncad

    October 26, 2011 at 6:15 am


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