Dressing up in gowns and tiaras and playing make-believe seems about as innocent and harmless as child's play can be, but is there a downside to encouraging little girls to idolize princesses?
In her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Peggy Orenstein, whose written about issues that affect girls for several years as a New York Times critic, examines the challenges of raising a daughter in a princess-obsessed culture. She talks about the mixed messages young girls are grappling with as they are taught to excel in school, be independent and yet are constantly reminded that true happily ever after only comes from finding prince charming and looking as pretty as a princess. Orenstein said that due to mass marketing, today's young girls are saturated with these messages and role models more so than ever.
She asks whether this is the best influence for young girls? Is it hurting their chances of succeeding in the future, setting them up for disappointment, or sculpting them into spoiled, self-centered divas? Is it teaching them to compromise themselves for the sake of finding their prince? (She points out that The Little Mermaid gave up her voice for a man.)
Whether your child is a toddler, a teen or all grown up, you most likely went through or are still experiencing a time when life was filled with fairytales and Disney princess swag, so we ask everyone to weigh in on today's Moms Talk. (Yes, dads you can voice your opinion too!)
So what do you believe about all this talk about make-believe? Is it healthy for girls to idolize princesses this way? What has your experience been like raising your own daughter(s)? How do you teach her to dream bigger than acquiring frilly dresses and winning over a man?
Moms Talk is a new feature on Malverne-West Hempstead Patch that invites local parents to discuss issues that matter to them.
You'll see members of our Moms Council, an advisory group comprised of smart and engaged moms from the neighborhood, responding to these questions below in the comments section and we invite you and your circle of friends to join in the discussion.
Together you're helping to build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Malverne and West Hempstead.
Wondering who are these local moms we tapped for our Council? Meet the members:
- Janet Grech - A Malverne mom with children enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
- Laura Murray- A Lynbrook mom who grew up in Malverne and is the current president of the Mothers of Malverne. She has two young children not in school yet.
- Gina Genti - A Malverne mom with two boys in elementary school.
- Andrea Shinsato- A West Hempstead mom with a 2-year-old and one child enrolled in Chestnut Street School.
- Theresa Walz- A West Hempstead mom whose children attend Cornwell Avenue School and West Hempstead Middle School.
- Loraine Magaraci- A West Hempstead mom with kids enrolled in West Hempstead Middle School and High School.
- Audrey Diaz Robles- A new mom to a 6-month-old baby.
- Dawn Wladyka- A Malverne mom with two students attending Our Lady of Lourdes School and one enrolled in Grace Lutheran PreSchool.
- Eileen Lynch O'Hara - A Malverne mother with three children enrolled at Saint Anne's School in Garden City and one child at the Brother Fox Latin School at Kellenberg Memorial High School.
- Maria Salcedo-Hafker - A Malverne mom who sends her children to Maurice W. Downing School and Davison Avenue School.
- Lori Lang- A Malverne native and mother of four whose children attend St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead.
- Jennifer Johnson- A West Hempstead mom with one child attending Cornwell Avenue School and another in day care.
Moms Talk will also be the place for you to pose your questions about parenting topics and local issues that affect families. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about peer pressure, bullying and protecting themselves online? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?
Have a topic or question you'd like to bring before the Moms Council and fellow Patch readers? E-mail Tara.Conry@Patch.com