God's Little Princess Devotional Bible Teaches Girls Rigid Gender Roles

Illustration for article titled God's Little Princess Devotional Bible Teaches Girls Rigid Gender Roles

The description for God's Little Princess Devotional Bible reads: "Girls long to be loved and adored, and give their heart to their hero." CaitieCat of Shakesville replies: "I have no words and I must scream." Well, I have words:

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For instance, here's one word: Disturbing.

More from the description:

The characteristics focused on in this Bible storybook will help your little girl blossom into the princess she was created to be. Virtues to create beauty such as compassion, sharing, and truth are highlighted in fun and engaging ways. The perfect format for girls to learn about their destiny as a daughter of their King.

The princess meme has become so dominant and saturated every aspect of pop culture that it's now being used to teach religion. A gender-neutral bible is not good enough; little girls need a one with pink accents and a tiny tiara. In addition, you can argue that boys "long to be loved and adored" just as much as girls do, only we live in a society that places more emphasis on girls being pretty and popular. (Of course, you can also argue that some girls do not long to be loved and adored, but would prefer to be left alone and not fussed over.) As for giving their hearts to their heroes? That's not something inherent to girls, either. Boys "give their heart" to baseball players, rock stars and other notable figures, it's just not coated with the sugary, dreamy language stereotypically used on girls.

One Amazon.com customer writes, "What little girl doesn't want to be a princess?" The answer: Plenty. Some want to be gymnasts, scientists, actresses, soldiers, librarians. Furthermore, regardless of the religious message, teaching a girl to be a "daughter of a King" is troubling as it means that the little girl's identity is fully linked with that of someone else. In this case, the King is God, but all princesses have this problem: A princess is a daughter, a wife or an heir — not an individual. She defines herself by who she in relation to another. Plus, while a warrior goes out on adventures and experiences the world, a princess usually stays in her castle — a point driven home in the New Super Mario Bros. game for Wii (which we mentioned earlier) in which Princess Peach has been kidnapped and must be rescued. Again.

In contrast, the version of this book for boys, God's Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible, sends a very different message:

Just like God created little girls in a special way, He created little boys to be mighty warriors… even when they feel small. Now with this new devotional Bible in storybook format, boys can learn how to be strong, honorable, courageous and true. Selections of Bible text from the International Children's Bible are combined with delightful articles to help a budding warrior earn his armor.

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Do girls not need to learn to be strong, honorable and true? Are a little girls not allowed to be budding warriors? Are there compassion and sharing lessons for boys, or is that just girl stuff?

These books further the notion that girls are delicate, fragile, dreamy creatures in need of protection — or at least Purity Balls. Unlike "warrior" boys, strength and independence are not something for girls to focus on — instead, "beauty" and caring are highlighted.

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Luckily, Amazon notes of God's Little Princess Devotional Bible: "This is a bargain book and quantities are limited." Hopefully, most girls out there won't get the message.

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I Have No Words And I Must Scream [Shakesville]
The Princess Is In Another Freakin' Castle? [Techland]
God's Little Princess Devotional Bible: Bible Storybook, God's Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible

Related:
Lilly's Kids: What's Christmas Without Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes?
Purity Balls: Ruining Young Girls One White Rose At A Time

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DISCUSSION

deeemer
deeemer

Oh my goodness, Dodai. I usually love your stuff, but this was completely missing the point. Some girls want to be princesses. These are the girls that will be attracted to this book. The girls that hate the idea, won't. That's why it's a book, with an OPTION to buy. Or not.

Daughter of the King. You've never heard of this before? Boys are called "sons of the king", so rest assured. Christianity (and Judaism) use the God as King metaphor too often to count. I don't think anyone is equating this language with a Nintendo game objective. It is not sexist to use the term "daughter" and "son", in relation to a God that is considered a father. Do you object to the usage of the word "sister"? Perhaps I would imply that one is tied to another family member. What about "mother nature"? Or using the feminine structure in a language?

As to the warriors versus beauty, these books are simply playing into societal roles. Whether that's bad or good, they exist. And some people like them, hence the popularity of things like romance novels. But again, you have the choice to buy them or not.

The real question is, is it really harmful? You could argue that Purity Balls might, but I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that these books are really destroying the fabric of our society. #godslittleprincessdevotionalbi...