Is There Danger In The Pink Princess Evolution?

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Illustration for article titled Is There Danger In The Pink Princess Evolution?

In our Daddy Issues series, a father of a young daughter seeks guidance, hoping to raise a strong woman. He looks to you, dear readers, for insight.

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It amazes me to think there was a time when young girls weren't dominated by the color pink.

This wasn't all that long ago, relatively speaking. Does the line "Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes" ring a bell? If Maria were singing about her favorite things today, it might sound more like "Girls in puffy pink cotton ball something something ... sashes." (I know, I know. I totally missed my Broadway calling.)

And then there's the early Disney princesses. The original color of choice for Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella? Blue. Go back even farther, back when clothes had to be boiled and bleached, and pretty much every baby — boy or girl — wore white.

I found all this pink princess evolution fascinating while reading a review the other day of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, but what really stuck with me was the far-reaching impact of breaking up everything — clothes, toys, sports equipment — into the colors of today's gender roles. Blue for boys. Pink for girls. In the end, the two sexes don't learn to play well together very early on because of these divisions.

The review quotes from the book about what could happen: "This is a public health issue. It becomes detrimental to relationships, to psychological health and well-being, when boys and girls don't learn how to talk to one another...Part of the reason we have the divorce rates we do, domestic violence dating violence, stalking behaviors, sexual harassment is because the lack of ability to communicate between men and women."

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I try to be aware of breaking through gender roles when playing with my daughter — not just playing pink princess dress-up all day long. But I can't help thinking the above is taking things too far. Is it really dangerous for boys and girls not to play with one another? This is one book I'm excited to read.

Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!. He had no girl buddies at a young age.

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Image by Lauri Apple.

DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I don't get this.

When I was a kid, I had very few female friends— I was pretty much a "play with nerf, loud things, and toy guns" sort of boy.

I now communicate quite well with women, including my wife (with whom I've had a wonderful relationship of over 10 years, but only 1 married.) Boy-girl communication has little, if anything, to do with the hand-wringing-causing pink clothing or whatnot.

And I know I'll be excoriated for this on this site, but I am a firm believer in the fact that during a certain age, maybe 6 to 12, most boys and girls naturally do not want to play together. They are developing differently, they have different emotional needs, and they generally have different tastes.

And frankly, 0-5 year olds don't even care either way. They just want to watch Dora explore, or something.

After maybe 13 or so, they discover each other again, and then communication takes on a different dynamic anyway. And get this: it's the boys who learn to play well with other boys who will generally play well with other girls. You know why?

Relationships are about being a f—king human being. There's no magic "he wore too much blue!" variable here. It's about raising kind, thoughtful human beings. Just because you take boys and girls and demand that they all wear 1984 white jumpsuits won't make them treat each other well. That comes from proper parenting, and to a degree the culture.

The real problem with American culture isn't that it's anti-this, or __istic that, it's that it's amoral and relativistic. That's a recipe for disaster in any type of inter-human relations.