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By Courtenay R. Hall

Are the Disney princesses bad for our daughters?

After I found out my second child was a girl, I was shocked, surprised, and totally excited. Her brother came first, and I was positive she was going to be a boy as well. By nature, I am not a girly girl. I never have been and at 31 years old probably never will be. I was never enchanted with princesses, not that I can recall anyway. Sure, I really liked the Disney princesses, but that was as far as it went for me. I also knew that my daughter was not going to wear onesies, t-shirts, or pants with writing on the butt that said "princess," "spoiled," or "diva." I was not and am still not a fan of those at all.

My daughter is like a lot of 4-year-old little girls who love the Disney princesses. She is learning their names and is starting to enjoy the movies more and more. She likes to wear her tiara and turn her Meme into a frog with her magic wand. She also likes to say, "Mum Mum, I'm a princess. I'm beautiful." I have read a lot of articles about Disney princesses being bad for little girls' self-esteem. To be honest, I have never really thought much about it. I can understand why people might think they could be, considering the pretty dresses, finding Prince Charming, and flawless beauty. I guess that is why they call them fairy tales and not real-life tales.

While researching this article, I came across a few readings. One was about a book called Cinderella Ate My Daughter. As I was reading the article, I started to understand more of why people think it could be bad. Their children were not wanting anything other than princess clothes, trying to mimic the princesses they see in movies all the time — but isn't that just pretend? Is it not our job as parents to encourage imagination in our children, all the while helping them to understand the difference between a fairy tale and real life? We also have to be there to help build their self-esteem and not rely on fairy tales and movies to do it for us.

I think it is important as parents to be able to walk that line, and not let the idea of a princess mean that we let our children run amok with the idea of being a fairytale princess. There is a difference between being spoiled and pretending to be a princess. I also think the Disney princesses can help a child's self-esteem in a good way. It does not always need to be negative. If you personally see your child experiencing a negative effect in regards to these things, you need to step up and fix it, not sit back and blame. I, for one, always admired the princesses; they were brave, kind women who came out of their shells to discover the women they wanted to be. They had good morals. They loved their family and friends, and most had adorable animal companions. I would much rather my daughter look up to a Disney princess than a lot of the other so-called role models that are gracing the media today.

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