Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander...

My daughter is going to her first birthday party!

A young girl from Russia is in her preschool this year and she has invited Isabella to her party.
I have been thinking long and hard about which gift to get her. Should it be educational? Should it be a toy? Should it be a typical gift that I have seen other people get for preschoolers? Then I thought about the culture that she comes from. What if her parents don’t want to indoctrinate their child to the American merchandising craze?

I picked up a Disney Princess book that has little disks to you can hear the narrator tell the story. I thought ‘This may be a good compromise”. Then I looked at the pictures through a new set of eyes. I looked at Arial with her seashell top and exposed midriff. I saw Princess Jasmine with very low cut harem pants and revealing top. Even the three “admirers” in Beauty and the Beast are well endowed, throwing themselves all over the villain of the movie.

It made me uncomfortable. Was I being a prude?

I decided not to get the book. And then it occurred to me: If these stories were not good enough for this little birthday girl, why were they okay for my own daughter?

Isabella has been going through a Disney Princess faze and although I see it as fostering her imagination I can’t help to feel that I am conditioning, even condoning this type of image. No matter how “strong” these heroines are they are still portraying a sexy image which shouldn’t even be brought to a child’s attention. In addition, my sister brought up a good point at how sanitized the Disney stories are. For instance, in the real story of the little mermaid she ends up dying and endures great pain during the story. The story also has a point about the consequences when she doesn’t listen to her father. How does the Disney version end? The father accepts the choices she makes even though she defies him, she gets what she wants and it is all happy in the end. What does that teach a child? (I will stop there as I sense a rant coming on…)

I spoke with my husband last night and he agreed with me. My only challenge now is how to start weaning Bella off these images. There must be a better way to foster her imagination than to subscribe to the entire Disney package.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

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