MILWAUKEE -- Do you need to rescue your little girl from all the pretty, pretty princesses? Everywhere you turn their smiling faces are everywhere -- bandaids, diapers, water bottles -- but is that a bad thing?
Child development expert Jessica Lahner with Carroll University joins Real Milwaukee to talk about the princess culture.
What are girls attracted to princess play?
- At 2-yrs old, children have developed gender categories (boy, woman, etc.)
- At this same time, many girls are identifying themselves as part of the 'girl' group.
- A combination of nature (e.g., hormone levels) and nurture (messages they`ve received from their environment) tells girls what 'things' girls do: what types of clothes they wear, what games they play ...
- Playing princess is an extension of that female identification
The risks come into play when we allow the hyper-princess stereotype to influence our girls` perceptions of themselves and what it means to be a girl.
Traditional princess themes include:
- Beauty as being girls` primary asset
- Even though this has reversed in newer movies, research suggests that girls who identify as a 'princess' grow up placing more importance on physical appearance than girls who do not
- Girls as submissive to and rescued by boys
- Even today, male characters in Disney movies have more speaking lines than female characters
- The size difference between male/female characters are unrealistic and perpetuate this notion
- Girls who hold these beliefs tend to limit themselves in what they think they are capable of
- Promotes love at first sight and that this love will solve all your problems
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