I know this is going to sound like a long series of complaints – but what’s this sudden obsession with turning little girls into princesses? Is it even possible to buy a little girl clothes that aren’t pink? There’s little crowns and, even worse, high heels for kids as young as 4.
If you think I’m exaggerating, be careful. I have two young neices, and I trawl through those shops looking for anything in lemon or pale green, or something in – heaven forbid – blue, that doesn’t have chainsaws on it.
But it doesn’t exist. It’s all princesses, fairies and butterflies. Pretty, insubstantial and largely superficial. All belonging to a fantasy world. We fill the heads of little girls with it at such a young age, they have no choice but to like it. But what are we really doing?
Toys for girls are just as bad. They can play with hairdressing, or make up, or paint their nails with pretty colours. They have girly dolls with impossible figures and instead of actually having the dolls do something, the game is dressing the dolls up in one outfit after another.
Am I over-reacting? Let’s look at what’s on offer for little boys.
Boys can get t-shirts in every bold colour except hot pink. But finding one without a skull, racing car, motorbike, skateboard or cartoon/movie character on it is almost impossible. Contrary to the images on girls’ clothes, these are very active images, as are the toys. Transformers is a perfect example. Sure, there’s the pleasure of transforming from human to machine, but if you sit and watch boys at play for more than a moment or two, you see that the transition is only momentary, and after that, they’re into the battles and flying and good guys fighting the bad guys. Is there a single game out there for boys that is essentially inactive? I’ve yet to see one.
It is, of course, a mistake to think that girls just aren’t active and boys are. But the question is, how much of their play is dictated by the toys they’re given, and the images they’re shown? What would happen if we swapped their toys and games around?
And why, why are we turning our little girls into princesses?