Oh, how I love this website a friend posted on Facebook! It has Christmas catalogs from times past. I’ve been looking through all the old toys, some that I had as a kid! It’s so much fun! http://www.wishbookweb.com/the-catalogs/
One thing stands out as if it was a billboard. In the 1970’s and before, most of the girls’ toys were miniatures of mom’s tools. There were little vacuum cleaners, brooms, dishes, play kitchens, irons that plugged in and heated up, blenders and ovens that made real food, and baby dolls. Lots and lots of baby dolls, and things to care for them. Little girls, through play, were being taught to be moms, to take care of their homes, and to think of it as play. They were proud that they could copy their moms in their grown-up work.
But now, in this world where women are in the workplace, where a woman can be anything she sets her mind to, what are little girls being groomed to be? Doctors? Lawyers? Teachers? Executives? Entrepreneurs? Homemakers? No. It seems, through the marketing of their toys and clothes, little girls are now being led to think they can be princesses.
This amazes me. In this world where women want to be empowered, we are teaching our daughters to fantasize about being born into a life where they don’t have to do anything but be beautiful and wait for their prince to come sweep them off of their feet. This seems like it is the opposite of what the women’s movement has worked for all these years.
Now, I am by no means a feminist, but I am truly grateful for all the extremely hard work and hardships my foremothers went through to enable the women of my generation to be able to work at something besides housekeeping, teaching, (two professions I love and have done, but aren’t everyone’s cup of tea) and prostitution. They have opened up the world to us, and we are grateful.
And I don’t think there is anything wrong with little girls dressing up and pretending to be princesses. I think it’s adorable and fun. And I think it’s endearing when a daddy calls his daughter “Princess”. And since I have never raised a daughter, or had a granddaughter (yet), I have no first-hand experience to say that Disney is really taking over. This is just what I observe in the general public and in the stores. And for some reason, it’s bothered me enough to share it here with you.
So what do you think? Are my observations anything to be worried about? Is commercialism dictating how our children play? Are little girls pretending to be princesses over everything else? Are they still playing mommy and teacher? Do they pretend to be a builder with Legos? Do they still pretend to make dinner for their baby dolls, and clean up their toy dishes afterward?
Play is really the work of childhood. – Fred Rogers