"Dear Shiggy, my 6-year-old boy likes to dress up like Disney princesses. Right now his favorite is Snow White. Needless to say, his Japanese grandparents are aghast. My wife thinks I'm overreacting. Any advice?"
You are not over-reacting. This is SERIOUS. Your son's window for identity formation is closing as we speak. Let's assess the damage wrought so far, shall we?
First of all, Snow White is a terrible role model. Why would a taller single white woman be living in the same room as seven shorter males? Those guys are obviously Filipino. (No other Asian guys are cool enough to pull off toques like that.) Ergo, Ms. White is the boss of a Lululemon yoga attire sweatshop. Next!
I'm guessing by your letter your kid is at least half-Asian. What about Mulan you ask? Asking your son to mimic a girl who cross-dresses as a boy... um, er, what's the the point?
What about Belle? Sure, she's loves to read. But her Beast lives in a sprawling decrepit castle -- which could easily be converted to affordable housing. Slum lord/squatter/real estate speculator, take everything that's bad about the Vancouver real estate market, and you have her beastly partner. Hey Belle, how about reading some Marx?
Sleeping Beauty? Yes, being woken from the deepest sleep by a true love's kiss sounds romantic in a fairy tale, but imagine your child was in a coma, and you caught the nurse with his/her tongue down their throat? How many seconds before you commit manslaughter? Is that how you want your kid to be treated?
Cinderella? Sure marry someone rich. In fact there's a How-To video series for that. Its called Real Housewives of Orange County.
Jasmin? Seriously, how would you really feel about learning your son's lover is a homeless guy with a pet monkey? Sunday dinners would be beyond awkward. They'd be a DISASTER!
Ariel? Oh puhleeze. Anyone who's DNA is half human/half fish, is going to be pro-GMO. Not only will their bellies be full of Frankenfood, they'll own stock in Monsanto, AKA Mon Satan. You ever see gingers with hair that shade of red? That comes from eating too many pom-atoes.
As you can see from this photo, cross-dressing was something of a tradition in my extended family (that's me on the left.) And I turned out fabulously. Just ask my wife. But only because I had better role models: Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Disney Princesses are the WORST role model for your son to have. Here's my advice. Tell your son it's okay to be a princess for now. But one day, if he wants to rule, he'll need to step up and become a queen. And being regal means NOT getting co-opted into the princess-industrial complex.
A better alternative might be the Guardian Princess Alliance, an ensemble of racially and culturally diverse princesses who kick ass and serve as models of leadership and guide us to a better future. Full disclosure, the mom who created GPA happens to be my sister. Check out Guardian Princess Alliance and let me what you think.
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