Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween And Pink

So, a while back, Dance and FLG had a back and forth on the subject of pink and little girls.

Today, FLG found this article by a feminist who basically rationalizes away her opposition to the whole princess thing when it comes to her daughter:
More broadly, you never know how kids are going to relate to the princess — and the girlyverse in general; maybe they’re not as immediately brainwashable as we think.

FLG completely agrees. He remembers being a kid and hearing people on TV say that kids don't understand something and consequently parents shouldn't expose kids under age 10, say, to said thing. But then FLG would think to himself, wait, I'm under 10 and I understand this perfectly. We're not idiots, you know. We understand somethings are make-believe and some are real. But then again, FLG must admit that this rationalization is a big step in the right direction. Unlike most feminists, FLG doesn't have a worldview that demands or encompasses a tabula rasa outlook. Even hinting that the world is not entirely Nuture and we are not living in some entirely socially constructed world against which most people are drastically unaware and against which the enlighten must battle is the first step on the path to sanity.

Anyway, changing topics slightly, today is Halloween at school for Miss FLG. Miss FLG loves Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Absolutely loves her. So, Mrs. FLG and I figured we should dress her up like Belle. Her grandmother even bought her a costume. Well, Mrs. FLG and I thought about it and decided that if she asks to be a princess for Halloween when she is older, then no problem. But until then we aren't going to force it on her. So, she's going to be Dorothy. (She's got the dress, little red sequined slippers, and even a basket with Toto in it. Adorable.) So, as much as FLG thinks a lot of this is overblown, and he has almost no time for people who think that children are infinitely malleable and rather stupid little creatures, he does worry about forcing the shit on his little girl.


Anonymous said...

You don't have to force it. It comes natural as they love it. Our little girl adored Belle too. Wore the dress everyday - over her clothes for a year. That dress fell apart. She also loved dancing with Beast - her dad - but she called him her Beast to the Beauty and the Beast songs. She used to tell people he was "such a nice Beast".

Mrs. P

The Ancient said...

FLG Is Currently Not Watching:

Flavia said...

That sounds reasonable to me (and the Dorothy pic is too cute). What kids love changes over time, anyway, and it seems equally troubling to me to prevent a child from playing with what she enjoys as forcing her to play with something she doesn't.

And Mrs. P: um, not all girls do. I HATED dresses and dolls and princess stuff as a kid (though I got more into dress-up when I was 12 or 14).

dance said...

Okay. I'm slow these days.

One, Miss FLG looked adorable!

Two, {historian's twitch} I've got a more complete archive linked here:
Yours missed a few.

Three, nice sound bite but "immediately brainwashable" is totally misleading characterization and I don't know what that woman was thinking to write it. Princess Culture is not *immediate* but accumulative and everywhere, that's the point.

Four, the woman *didn't* rationalize away her opposition to the whole thing. She said, I'm not going to buy princess stuff myself and I'm going to make sure my girl is exposed to lots of different stuff, but I'm not going to take it so far as to actively fight her liking for princesses. And I'm going to make sure she believes princesses are more than just decorative. Lots of people are pretty much in that space already. This is only a step in the right direction if you think that everyone who expresses concern about princess culture is screaming and snatching anything pink and sparkly out of their daughter's hands and then making the kids watch it burn.

Five, re "rather stupid creatures". Irrelevant. I'm pretty fucking smart and after six days of seeing Rolo ads everywhere in Ireland in 1996, you know what I did with my last Irish pound in the airport? I bought the Rolos I was physiologically craving despite understanding exactly why I suddenly had a taste for chocolate caramel candy. Advertising works. If it didn't, we'd have no internet.

FLG said...


Re: one, sorry. I just did a quick search and threw the links in there.

Re: two. Thank you.

Re: three. I know what she was thinking, "How am I going to rationalize this?" To add another quote from the article: "And yet, when it comes to Bess’s own princess experience, I may lay down my pitchfork. How much damage, really, can it do?" Rationalization.

Re: four, see my response above.

Re: five. I'm not saying adverstising doesn't work. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I'm saying that people treat kids like idiots, including so-called child development experts.

FLG said...

Oh, and to follow up, on point five. That is relevant. So, there.

dance said...

FLG, you can't argue rationalization from soundbites when the overall resolution of the article goes against those. Especially when the article is written as someone working through a process, you have to look at where she ends, the part she signals with "Ultimately".

Restating five: thinking kids can be affected by advertising does not equal considering them stupid.

FLG said...


You seem to be saying that because her stance makes sense that it's not a rationalization. I'm not saying her conclusion doesn't make sense.

What I'm saying is that she says she's a card carrying feminist, who has been fearing this moment. But now that it's arrived, she's going to roll with it. Fine. But it is a rationalization.

And I've been trying to find another article that I read on the topic, I'm not sure I posted it, where another feminist said the same thing. The Princess Industrial Complex is Evil. Well, except for my daughter, how much harm can it do?

I'm not saying that's a crazy position. It's roughly where I am. But she did have to rationalize. Indeed, as far as I can tell, that entire article is a rationalization. No soundbite quoting out of context. It IS a rationalization.

dance said...

You originally said "rationalizes away her opposition to the whole princess thing." She hasn't eliminated her opposition at all. She's still totally opposed, and she's aiming to subvert/transform it even as she rolls with it.

I guess, yes, she is rationalizing away the notion that she should be actively going out of her way to prevent her daughter from enjoying something the girl likes. This is not making an exception for her daughter; it is not saying princess culture is harmless; and I argue that most card-carrying feminists never adopted such a stupid notion in the first place.

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