I do not have a sign posted anywhere in my home saying “Barbie and Princesses Forbidden”. They simply aren’t a part of our media diet. Not on our radar. We have dolls and we have stories that involve a princess character, but they fall into a menagerie of toys, books, and characters.
I like that my daughter is five years old, going on six. I cherish childhood. I don’t shelter her, I just offer her a more healthy diet of influences for her childhood. At our house, it is Bindi Irwin over Barbie. Dr. Mireya Mayor over marriage for a princess. My daughter loves science, nature, art, and the Penguins of Madagascar. This weekend she discovered Star Wars when my husband gave the kids some little action figures from his youth. It is not so much that I have forbidden things from my home, as it is more my husband and I offer different choices. My daughter sees toys and images we don’t have in our home when she plays at other people’s houses, or when she is at school. It isn’t a big deal. I do not feel this will undo my parenting. She doesn’t consider them to be the proverbial “forbidden fruit”. She simply has been raised to have different interests and influences.
There has been an on going discussion on the Pigtail Pals’ twitter and facebook pages about toys for girls that some parents feel are too sexy and aren’t allowed in the home. Everyone seems to have a different opinion. Some allow Barbie, but say no way to makeup. Others allow makeup, but say no way to Monster High and Bratz. Some moms allow Tinker Bell, but say no way to Princesses….you get the picture. Everyone has their different line of acceptable/unacceptable.
In my opinion, sexy toys undermine the woman I am trying to raise my daughter to become.
I do not find the behavior of sexually precocious children to be cute. I do not like when little girls are dressed like mini adults. I especially do not like that the toy aisles geared toward my daughter are a pink explosion carrying messages about sexiness, narrowly defined beauty, narcissism, shopping, and becoming someone’s bride.
I think girlhood is an extremely important time for our daughters, as these years will lay a foundation for the women they will grow into.
So where your line sits will be up to you, what you allow or don’t allow. Maybe you think all of it is a big deal. Maybe you think none of it is a big deal. Maybe you pick and choose your battles.
I just want you to think about this when you make your decisions:
“It’s undeniably true that girls are encouraged to sexualize themselves at early ages, and that this can harm their developing sense of self. But our cultural sense of responsibility is deeply skewed. We condition young girls to aspire to an extremely restrictive standard of beauty and sexuality from almost the day they come into the world. We surround them with sexualized images of women, and tell them that these women have special value. And then, when little girls start behaving or dressing like those beautiful, desirable, special women — when they engage in the very childlike activity of imitating their role models — we condemn the girls and their parents…” –Sady Doyle for Global Comment.
I do not ban anything. I simply choose not accept any of the following for my daughter and her girlhood.
And my daughter seems to be doing just fine.