Monday, August 06, 2007

The Seven Deadly Sins of Kid Culture

As the father of a 2-year old girl, I can relate. We're just starting to head into the stages that this father is fully confronting. As such, violence and death are the concepts that we are working to frame for our daughter. When is too soon to learn that everything dies? How much can a 2-year old understand of death? Fortunately, I recall clearly that as as child, death didn't phase me in the least. I was only too happy to help the lesser lights of God's creation to fulfill the life cycle.

Still I can relate to this piece. And I think we're headed for the princess phase:

The Disney Princess product line dominates and feeds this impulse, earning $2.5 billion in sales in 2003. Without even wanting to encourage my daughter's interest in this weird ideal of royalty, our household somehow includes a Disney Princess hopscotch mat, flashlight, a talking hand mirror, countless pairs of underpants and pajamas, stickers, and at least three books in the Disney Princess line. The existence of kid-oriented merchandising didn't surprise me. But the sheer diversity of products boggles my mind.

It doesn't help that being a princess seems inextricably wrapped up in the notions of getting married, having pretty clothes and maintaining a staff of friendly servants. Worse, many Disney princesses tend to be passive ninnies and credulous dupes. Helium-voiced Snow White bites a poison apple despite warnings from her forest-creature friends. Like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty literally snoozes through the finale of her own story while awaiting a man to rescue her. Most contemporary Disney Princess characters, thankfully, show more independence.

Fortunately, my daughter is adopting her dad's interest in fighter planes and baseball, so at least there's a counterweight.

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