Sunday, December 01, 2013

Why target the princesses?

Most of you who have read my blog regularly know that I don't write here much about my strong opinions, mostly only about things that have happened and memories I would like to keep. But there's something that has slowly been getting under my skin in the last few weeks, and I felt it's relevant for me to put it down in this space. Read on, you've been warned ;).

A popular video by GoldieBlox talking about toys for girls was doing the rounds.


While I thought the video was pretty awesome and provides a great option for toys for girls (not boys?), I felt a wee bit irritated that they had to incorporate the part targeting the princess loving kids in the video. Why not consider the princessy items as just another option in the market and let them be too. You can take over the market because you are unique, not necessarily by discouraging something else. Somehow it seemed to me that the upbeat aspect of the ad got a wee bit tarnished by the negativity.

From personal experience I've found that even though dolls or Barbies have never been particularly encouraged at home but D has lately gravitated to playing dress-up Barbie games on the computer, and says she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up (Must admit, that's also due to my watching Project Runway :P). It probably has to do with peer interests and examples, but is it necessary that I discourage this enthusiasm, just because "Oh princesses are so passe!". Why not just let her be, let her explore other options as well, and pick what SHE wants and likes in the end. I'm pretty sure she's not going to want to be a "princess" though I hope she always feel as special as one.
Afterthought Note: I do understand that the advertisement is not against the princess-kids but against the inundation of princess-products and their advertising, but I still feel it could be done without that aspect.
Note 2: I ensure that my daughter understands that most dolls, much like folks in movies or cartoons, are no indication of what people look like in real life.

I come across this negativity in many an argument nowadays - For me to be right, you have to be resoundingly wrong! To prove my worth as a SAHM, I have to bring down working moms - and it's absolutely vice-versa as well - so many working moms condescend and talk down to SAHMs.

Why not just live and let live? As long as a person is content and happy in the space they have chosen, I say Kudos to them and their choices! I am lucky to have family and friends who have hardly ever questioned my choices, and I hope to inculcate the same non-judgmental outlook in my kids as they grow up as well, so wish me luck :).

13 comments:

  1. Ah, the judgement post you were referring to a while ago:) Agree absolutely, although I doubt I have to say that statement anymore, considering our similar mindsets ;)

    This whole process also results in labels, which people slap on, without knowing the full story. If a child likes dolls, does that make her dislike monster trucks and legos? That's what I don't get. Yes, we need to keep their minds open. By the way, can you share the link to the video? Seem to have missed seeing it.

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    1. Yes I expected you to "get" this one :). The video seems to have been removed due to a controversy about the soundtrack, I realized only when I was just checking the link before posting.

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    2. Oops just realized the sentence I put there got truncated and that's why it wasn't clear :P. Will edit.

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  2. You know Aparna live and let live is very hard for most people because most of the time its the inability to accept that someone else is making the most of the "other option" in particular situation. Its often a jealousy (for want of a better word) that someone else has been able to do what I would have ideally liked to and that's where all the condescending talk comes from. Its the fright to be able to try out another approach and the anger that someone else has... IMO

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    1. That's insightful Ruth, makes so much sense. I guess some of us are lucky to be able to life live pretty much on our own terms, fingers crossed and touch wood ;).

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  3. You're absolutely right. Just because girls shouldn't ONLY play with dolls they shouldn't play with dolls AT ALL... That's weird logic. Mercifully having a boy and a girl at home has ensured all kinds of toys are available to the kids. Yet when I see N gravitating towards dolls it's okay... H will pick up a car AND a kitchen set and that's fine too. There truly should be no right or wrong. One last thing.. You should write your opinions more often.

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    1. Thanks Tulika, it was a relief to see the comments left by you all and not have to think that I'm going a bit crazy as this was bothering me ever since I saw the video. At home as well, I hate if anyone stereotypes and tells S not to pick up a doll so both of them pretty much get to play with whatever they feel like that day.
      And yes, as I'm growing older I guess the opinions might start making more of an appearance ;).

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  4. you know why fighting against it, because of the conditioning and the way it tries to slot kids in boxes.. I am against that, I am not against dolls (for heavens sake, they were the best part of my growing up) but everything cant be pink, everything cant be dolls and hence the video shouts against that. will it magically make the diasppear no but will it make people notice, IMHO yes may be?

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    1. Mon, yes take notice of course but why include the negativity is my problem. Let girls AND boys play with dolls AND gadgets - isn't that the best way to go forward?

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    2. yes but to break any conditioning you need to fight against it no?

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    3. Let me try to explain it this way Mon - if the girls in the video had been shown as receiving dolls as gifts, throwing them away with a disgusted look and playing with the Goldieblox toys instead - it would have made a lot more sense to me :). Dissing somebody else for playing with dolls - that was the negativity in my eyes.

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  5. I really dont give much thought to such videos or posts...There's always this instinct of mine that drives me...I believe that there is nothing right or wrong about anything because all of us are titled to our own perspective...I tried giving my son pots and pans, dolls and dogs...He chose cars. He prefers the spanner. But there are times he picks a stuffed puppy and ignores a robot. I think "let them be". I loved fairy tales. I loved princess stories, magic and witch craft...but I think I was equally exposed to gadgets, remote control toys, slide viewers...Then it depends on the individual's liking and choice...I seriously dont buy the pink and blue color thing as well..Blue really looks good on girls and pink shirts look great on boys...It's a sad state of this society that its believed that one cannot have something without losing something like one cannot be right without proving another wrong...Just a messed up thought that needs to be cleared...Well why take the trouble...Be whatever you are and just dont care a damn :D Hugs Aparna!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing Swathika, yes the colour coding and stuff is downright silly but I did find to my surprise that some of this stuff is hard-coded into their genes :P. Much as I don't like the stereotype I don't want to take away what they might actually like :).

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