My daughter Tara is 4 and in full-on princess mode. She loves to dress up like one and she loves to play with her princess dolls, Barbies included. Caity, her older sister, is now 9 and totally over princesses. Kaput. Any Barbies that catch her interest these days are because of their modern fashion styles. With Tar's collection, male dolls -- beside Ken -- are barely represented. We have a Prince Eric right now because Ariel is Tara's favorite Disney princess at the moment.
Pink or not, the female dolls that my kids are playing with are not waiting to be rescued. I have yet to discover a plot to foil feminism in any of the games concocted by the girls. I have yet to hear either of my girls exclaim that they can't do something that boys do or that science is bad.
I hate the pinkwashing and sexualization that is going on when it comes to the marketing to our daughters these days. Backlash against pink and princess grows every day, just look at the disappointment with the new "human" Equestria toys from Hasbro's My Little Pony line. What I do wonder is if the furor is really worth it.
But in reality I have heard very few girls who blame their short-lived love of all things princess for messing up their adult view of the world. Most girls go through phases when they want to dress and look like a princess or a ballerina. Most grow out of it and move on. I did. Didn't you?
In fact, when my older daughter is not playing Barbies with her girlfriends, she is out playing some sort of terrifying "assassin" game with her brother and his friends.
"Blackwashing" or "bluewashing" for boys is equally, if not more harmful. But concerns around marketing to young boys are more downplayed.
However, the culture we continue to raise our boys in is all about being "manly" and "tough." Their role models are vigilantes and superheroes. Video game characters and comic book characters have back stories where these men are alone with no family and few friends. They hide their feelings unless it's rage. They show their emotions through violence and aggression. This phase does not go away. It sticks around and follows them into every age they grow into. The cutoff for cutesy toys for boys ends at a very young age and quickly morphs into products that revel in war, fighting and solitude.
Girls' marketing morphs into "friendship is magic." Boys are told to suck it up and stay your own course.
Where is the outrage about this?
We complain about the horrific rape culture that exists. Don't blame Barbie. She didn't "ask for it." Blame the messages that we keep reinforcing to our boys with clothing, music, "heroes," and old "boys will be boys" mentality that allows us to gloss over what is that's creating that mindset.
Where's the outrage and what are you going to do raise kinder, gentler boys who no longer have "suck it up?"