This article in today's edition of USA TODAY is very timely. H. and I attended our first Disney Princesses birthday party on Saturday for my friend Wendy's daughter, Meghan, who turned 3. H. dressed as Snow White for the occasion (I'll upload a photo tonight from home). In my mom's neighborhood, the little girls have been having various types of Princess parties for a couple of years. They all dress to the nines for the event, complete with jewelry, make-up and pretty dresses. And they're all under the age of 5 or 6.
I find myself getting sucked into the marketing ploys for the Disney Princesses and others and there are days I want to buy H. everything I see. THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST are two of my favorite Disney moves. At the tender age of 15 months, H. received the "My First Disney Princesses Spinning Surprise Castle," a Disney Princesses tea set with a million pieces and a "Princess & Pony" for Christmas from Mark and me (although I also bought her the Little Peoples' Gas and Go Station to balance things out and we're already eyeing up Craftsman kiddie tool benches for next year).
As a former (still?) tomboy and a "girls can do anything boys can do" feminist, I sometimes wrestle with my conscious when buying these kinds of toys. I feel even stronger about toy vacuum cleaners and cleaning carts marketed toward little girls. (And don't get me started on other toys marketed (in-your-face) to very young kids like McDonald's - that's a rant for another day.) I don't know how I'm ever going to buy her a Little Dirt Devil and I've already seen her playing with one at daycare. I definitely don't want it engrained in her from an early age that women are the only ones responsible for all of the cleaning in the household. I purposefully painted her nursery red and blue instead of pink and white. But maybe it's all genetic anyway - who knows? All of her toys are spread out around the family room and, other than her Elmo toys, she plays with that Disney tea set the most. Is it too early to enroll her for girls' softball?