When I first heard about Disney’s newest pint-sized princess, Sofia, the feminist portion of me ballooned up three times in size and screamed at me to do crazy things like burn my bra in front of the nearest Disney store and boycott the corporation in the name of impressionable young girls everywhere.
Luckily, the sane part of me told me to take a minute, digest the information and then burn any underwear I deemed necessary.
In case you haven’t seen her yet, Sofia is Disney’s newest young princess who will have her own TV movie and series (and undoubtedly a slew of merchandise to go with her). What makes Princess Sofia so different is that she is a little girl, just like her target audience of 7-year-olds and younger.
At first, I was infuriated that Disney has come out with (yet-again) another princess in a sparkly gown and tiara. Couldn’t Sofia be an aspiring astronaut? Or an artist? Or anything but independently wealthy and entitled?
I worried that making the princess a young girl will only worsen the princess mania surrounding little girls.
But as I’ve thought about it this week, I’ve come to the conclusion that Disney is just doing its job. While I think big companies like Disney have some social responsibility, Disney’s job is to make money. And let’s face it, a preschool-sized princess with a variety of shiny dresses and shoes is about the most brilliant marketing idea I’ve heard.
If I think Princess Sofia is going to somehow infiltrate my daughter’s psyche and fill her with archaic gender biases and unrealistic beauty ideals, then someone has shirked responsibility — me.
Raising my daughter and nurturing her values is my job, not Disney’s. I set the controls on what she watches and I have the conversations on what we value in our family. If I feel Princess Sofia is a threat, then I’ve handed over way too much power to Disney’s marketing machine.
So if the new Sofia show really does teach “what makes a real princess is what’s inside, not what’s outside,” as Disney execs promise, then we might watch a show or two. And I’m sure some Sofia paraphernalia will eventually find its way into our home.
But I’m not worried that my daughter will somehow become a princess-in-training with delusions of grandeur.
The bottom line is this: I believe in my parenting skills — and my daughter — a lot more than I do in fairy tales.
What do you think of Princess Sofia? What about the princess mania in general?
(On a side note: To all my faithful readers out there — yea, I’m looking at you, Mom — my blogs will be posted on Monday mornings starting next week. See you then!)