How to keep little girls, little girls a little longer

With the increasing sexualization of young girls in the media, “parents are re-examining the toddlers-and-tiaras Disney princess craze and whether little girls become little women too soon.” Short of sequestering them from the media, how do we protect our young girls from growing up too fast?

Do you think it’s the media? Do you think it’s “how” they play or do you just think it’s the way we’re born?

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One Response to How to keep little girls, little girls a little longer

  1. SKL says:

    I don’t think we can really blame Disney princesses for the fall of mankind. If you look back as an adult at the cartoons we watched as kids, you will probably agree that Disney Princesses are far more tame. (Think Popeye and Olive Oyl, Archie et al, the females in the Marvel comics that all kids read, even the Little Rascals.) Honestly, when I was little, it didn’t even strike me that those images were sexy or suggestive in the way that I’d view them now.

    I don’t watch the Disney animated films with my kids, but they’ve seen them at school and at their grandparents’ homes. To the extent I’ve seen them, they don’t suggest sex or sexuality beyond the obvious fact that males and females tend to pair up.

    Yes, my 4yo is crazy about the idea of princesses and loves to create her own princess fantasies. This is hardly a mentally passive activity in her case. It’s very intense and uses all of her brain cells. I don’t see the problem. I also don’t see what’s wrong with little girls wanting to play dress-up with pastels and frills. Wearing a tutu/tiara doesn’t suck a girl’s brains out. Obviously when it’s the moms dressing them up like dolls for their own gain, that’s a different story.

    When I noticed that my kid was getting interested in princesses, I made it a point to talk about all the important things that princesses have to learn and do, and the same thing about princes. Since Disney waters the stories down so much, we’ve read more involved translations full of beautiful language and art. They’ve also seen non-Disney flim versions and one or two stage productions of princess stories. It’s just a medium through which to channel creative energy, no different from what boys do with the superheroes theme.

    Early sexualization is what happens when media portrays too-young children as sex objects (“hot” tweens on TV) and markets these images to still younger children. Parents play along, which boggles my mind. Their excuse is “get over it, kids are sexual beings.” Um, no. They possess sex organs but they do not go looking for sex or offering it up! That will come soon enough, thank you!

    To your question whether some kids are born a certain way, yes, I do believe that the sex drive is more “latent” in some kids than others and that kids’ interest in that naturally awakens at different ages (though not as young as the “princess” stage). Parents need to watch for opportunities to teach healthy ways of thinking, talking, and acting while the child is still “innocent,” because once the hormones take over, it’s a whole new ball game. Having the media show the exact opposite of what we want our kids to do is not exactly helpful. But that was going on when I was a kid too, and somehow I managed to hear my parents’ messages and reject the fads and peer pressure.

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