Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
By Linda Christensen
When reading this article I had a tough time deciphering on how I felt about it. Growing up as a child I always wanted to be a Disney Princess or look like Barbie. To this day my dad still refers to me as "his Princess" and I have a tattoo for my dad that has the word "Princess" in it. So for someone who grew up wanting to be a Princess how can I sit here and argue that teaching children to grow up to be their favorite characters is wrong?
However after reading Dorothy's blog, I had a slightly different viewpoint on the whole "all girls want to be Princesses" stereotype. In Dorothy's blog she chose to reflect on Jocelyn's blog which really helped me in writing my blog because I was able to see two different viewpoints from my own that in a way opened my mind. Between the two blogs it was discussed about "the idea of secret education." Not knowing what this was I furthered my research and found out that by creating movies that have a beautiful Princess that falls in love with a handsome prince we are putting too much pressure on children to follow this path.
I liked what Jocelyn said in her blog when she stated, "The pressures have been in place all my life to be beautiful, thin and submissive. I am often told by relatives that I should check my brain at the door if I ever want to get a man. But why would I want someone who doesn't love me for who I am, brain and all?" This statement not only broke my heart but made me realize that by creating children's movies that portray thin an gorgeous woman that marry a man that will take care of them allows children to think that this is how things should be done in the real world. In a way it degrades women, telling them that they must look and act a certain way in order to find a guy.
While reading Dorothy's blog I was amazed about how open she was when she discussed seeing herself as a "geek." While reading her story about people telling her she had to act and look a certain way in order to find a guy absolutely blew my mind. How can people be so cruel?! True love isn't found by the way you look. TRUE love is find when you TRULY love someone regardless of their flaws.
By analyzing this reading I began to connect it to Alfie Kohn's, Five Reasons To Stop Saying Good Job! In Kohn's article he talks about the effect that "good job" has on children and even though I do not complegtely agree with him I believe his way of thinking can be applied here. By telling young girls that they SHOULD grow up to be Princesses we are depriving them of developing their own choices of who they want to be when they grow up. Maybe they don't want to be a pretty princess, maybe they want to be a successful doctor or a lawyer. Also, when reading this I began to think about LGBT. These movies portray a princess falling in love with a prince but what if the princess fell in love with another princess or a prince with another prince? This is a subject that greatly frustrates me because our world is so diverse and filled with so many different kinds of people it is hard to accommodate everyone and make things that apply to everyone.
Questions to ask in class....
What are appropriate movies and messages to show to children? Should we be making movies where the princess falls in love with another princess? Prince falls in love with another prince? What do we do?! AHHH!
Also, am I wrong in my view that I still like Princesses and still want to be one? Does this make me a bad person and a follower of society's stereotypes?