My daughter is just about five years old. She is a charming, loving, and smart, and knows what she wants. However, this stage we are going through now has me completely turned upside down. She breathes, sleeps and talks Princess-- changing into Princess dresses that people have given to her immediately when she gets home from school. The other day I thought I would fall over, grief-stricken, when she was dancing around and singing, "I'm a Barbie, I'm a Barbie." My partner overheard and gave me a big smile, saying without having to say, "it's time you heal the princess within." The other day she talked about Princesses having long nails. I muttered, "There are plenty of princesses that have short nails."
She answered, "No there is not. We are just pretending."
In the parent-teacher conference the other day they even said, "The Princess thing is a little over the top." I exclaimed, "I know, and she doesn't even watch TV."
So where is she getting it? The other girls, bill boards for more Disney films we see on the way to school,viewing Disney schlock at her Auntie's house. What little she has watched has made a major impact on her psyche. Are the pictures,and discussion amongst her friends tapping into the archetypal? Or is my being a hairstylist and applying lipstick before I walk out the door contributing to her fantasies? It appears there are lots of factors.
How long will this go on though? I will be styling hair for the foreseeable future. I've got to find a way to ask her about it, to have dialogue with her. Otherwise, I will, as I have before, toss out anything smells of Princess in the wee hours of the morning while she sleeps.
Is this a sign of our times? I just don't remember identifying with princesses when I was her age. The advertising, marketers have beat this one into the ground, and for what? I'm saddened at the loss of their own pictures rather than Disney pictures in their head. I'm saddened at the ways I contribute to keeping this story alive for her as well.