Playing Princess

I viewed the CBC Doc Zone documentary Sext Up Kids. Initially I felt a bit shocked but the more I thought about it – the more it makes sense. As young girls I am sure the majority of us innocently played princess! Little did we know that we were being groomed to the ideation of looking and acting a certain way.

A quote that stood out from the documentary was, “little girls are going from toddlers to teenagers with just about nothing in between.” I agree that this is true. I reflect on my time as young pre-teen girl. I would revel in the thought of spending my days outside. I never obsessed over make-up and clothing. I look back at some photos from school – and clearly style was not a priority for me… yikes. During internship I did notice the girls looking a lot different then I had at that age. Girls are definitely dressing up and wearing make-up which makes them appear a lot older than they are.

I think about who the young women are looking up to! These singers, actresses, and models often portray a hyper-sexualized, unrealistic image! I was thinking about Cosmo – a magazine that i had read occasionally. I pulled up a google search and these were the first few that popped up!

Images from http://www.cosmopolitan.com

If you notice the titles of the articles about sex, they all seem to be catered to pleasing a man, ex. 50 Ways to Seduce a Man, 75 Sex Moves Men Crave. You get the idea. What is this teaching young girls? The target audience is geared towards “young adults.” Obviously there is no way of monitoring this. The majority of the women on these covers are also scantily clad and posing in a sexual manner.

I am a bit concerned when I have children. I hope that this hyper-sexual world that we live in begins to level out! I am not sure that this will be the case. I know as teachers we can have these conversations to shed light on positive digital identity, self-esteem, and self-worth. I truly believe that these conversations need to begin at home. Being open with your children as they grow up is key!

This is a heavy topic, so I will leave with a bit of humour. This humour is coupled with disbelief. In this video men play the part of women in different popular ads. As you watch, note the way that you feel!

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11 thoughts on “Playing Princess

  1. Love this post, Larissa! This was the video I watched as well and my first thought was “HOW am I going to raise my children”. It sounds funny, but it is so true. I love that you added in the Cosmo covers – I have always seen them and have thought that they were very… blunt… but I never really realized how much they are geared towards “pleasing” men.

    Thank you for such an insightful and well written piece!

    1. Thanks Taryn! Funny how we both gravitated to when we are going to be raising children, but it is truly a scary thought. I honestly never critically looked at the covers – and I am totally guilty of buying the odd issue and reading through. It was crazy actually just looking at the covers and seeing how much they are geared towards men. These are just a few – its crazy how many variations there are. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  2. I felt mad because of how hard it would be to get the dorrito stains off the white comforter. I agree with what you said about these conversations starting at home, but if you are having this conversation with your kids where another parent is not, I think that is where the big problems start. I honesty feel that if this issue doesn’t level out that schools are going to need to look at finding ways to teach parents as much as they will need to teach kids…Now got to grab some Hardee’s.

    1. Thanks Andrew! Haha I know I felt the same! What a disaster. Thats exactly the problem – if not everyone is open to speaking about this at home with their children then a huge gap is created. If everyone is not on board – then we are still going to have a huge problem! Stay away from the Carls Jr.!!! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. I’ve watched the sexted up kids documentary before, so I chose the other one. I can’t remember what class I had to watch it in but I remember thinking about my daughter. She used to love princesses and I thought after watching that documentary maybe she shouldn’t. I just tweeted the other day about disney princesses without makeup. They really don’t look that bad. I think it would be refreshing to have natural looking role models on popular TV shows and movies for our kids- but I guess thats not what sells. Back to my kid… I thought the princesses were bad enough. Now she is into music and the “pop stars” who quite frankly act like porn stars and it’s much scarier than the princesses. I want her to have independence and don’t want to control everything that she watches and does. We talk about the crazy things that some of these stars do for attention and I hope that that will be enough to steer her in the right direction. I talk to her about these things and we talk about the way a ten year old should act and dress. I’m open and honest about people out there who might treat her differently if she dresses like an adult and not like a ten year old. It is difficult however to buy clothes appropriate for a ten year old when she is wearing an extra small women size…

    1. Thanks so much Melissa for your comment! I cannot imagine how challenging it must be! I’m so glad that you are aware and are able to talk your daughter! As for the whole princess thing I know I would not have realized the potential damage that it could cause. Likely when I have kids I will let my daughters play princess if they want to. That being said, just like you I will talk with my daughters and have real conversations. My mom was also open and honest with my sisters and I. I think that helped shape who we are. I know it’s obviously getting worse though which does concern me! Thanks so much for your comment!!

  4. There is so much sexualization in the media that I think it’s come to a point where we are starting to think of it as “being who you want to be”. I can remember reading this article in the news a couple years ago (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/thylane-blondeau-10-year-old-model_n_918066.html). It caused a lot of controversy with some people arguing that they are sexualizing the girl, and some people arguing that she is being who she wants to be. Children are influenced by everything, so if they are seeing images and reading magazines like Cosmo they will start to feel different about the way they dress and look. I think, in the future, we have to start realizing that kids should be kids and not have to worry about makeup and what boys think of them. The media plays such a huge role in this, that I think until they make a change with their role with sexualization that things are going to continue to get worse!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I completely agree. Kids need to be kids. Sadly, a lot of them grow up way too fast! I would argue that the media is the worst/most powerful influence on the hyper-sexualization of kids! I argue that this is going to continue and end up being worse! Thanks so much for your input!

  5. I love your insight into the male side of this. You talk about self-esteem a lot and it is something that comes to mind right off the start when thinking about the sexualization of girls and what it does to their self-worth. The interesting side of this when looking at all of the magazines, celebrities and such is the way that boys see this as well. The video you share reallly gives a good insight into the other side of it, but we also need to be thinking about the self-esteem of boys as well, and how these things are shaping them too!
    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much kayla! It was interesting to look at the male side of this. I completely agree that boys are heavily influenced by the media themselves as well. There is heavy pressure for them to be in shape and strong, among other stereotypes! Thanks for your insight !!

  6. Pingback: Contibution to Learning

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