A friend posted this picture on Facebook last night:
On a gut level, my response to these things is just intensely personal. Why would I ever suggest in any way or form that my beautiful girls are some how not already perfect? Yes, I know, say what you will about perfection but my girls are perfect to me. When I see them, I literally have to catch my breath at their beauty which is reflected not just in their looks but in their strength and their minds.
The issue on a cultural level is two fold. First, when companies develop these lines of tee shirts, the subtle message that your body is not good enough begins. It's the start to a vicious cycle of body hatred and dieting. It plugs children right into that huge market. Capitalism in so many ways feeds on the not good enough mentality. Your T.V., your car, your house, your clothes, your body....never good enough. Buy some more and maybe you'll get a little closer to that good enough moment.
Second, is the emphasis on beauty attached to the gender designation of female. Not only is the market aimed at little girls but it's a market that suggests that girls need to be concerned with physical appearances. They need to be pretty like a princess. And this in many ways leads back to my last blog post. Would this shirt be ANY BETTER if a boy wore it? Would the offensive message it contains be more platable if a child with a penis wore it? I think not. I wouldn't want this on my son anymore than on my daugther. I was really quite pleased that NONE of my children ever really wanted to look like princesses. Piper went through a stage for about three months but then it was over. They still have the dress up clothes in a bin but it's bin they rarely get into anymore. And when they do they come up with...odd...pairings. Darth Vader capes with Snow White dresses.
Essentially I have to wonder if revolution is going to come from allowing our boys to dress up like princesses. Maybe a better question is to ask what kind of damage we are doing when we suggest that anyone should desire to be a princess.