Tiny waists and rubber dresses

27 Sep

I think I may be turning into a boring old fart, tutting at the length of skirts and preparing to lock up my daughter. What made the polyester in my cardigan crackle this week was (yet again) the Disney idea of the female form. Yawn! Yawn! It’s all fantasy, get over it, I hear some cry, but my 3-year-old revels in the princess fantasy and I don’t want her to grow up thinking that this is normal or indeed desirable:

They made me feel quite ill (although not as ill as they look). As the words “what kind of role model are they?” fell out of my mouth my husband looked at me like I’d whipped off my bra,  strung it up and was holding a match to it. According to him the dolls are built like Twiglets for a practical reason – they are dressing up dolls and thus it needs to be easy for grubby fingers to get their rubber dresses on and off. Re-read that last sentence and yes it does sound like Snow White and Cinderella are putting food on the table by working the gentlemen’s clubs.

But now I’m sullying these perfectly innocent toys which were, I admit, brought into the house by mummy and daddy (well, daddy) as a birthday gift from our 6-month-old son to his big sister. My daughter loves playing with them and I’m sure they are having no immediate impact on her psyche. She equally enjoys playing with the Playmobil fire engine we bought her and I’ve not been fretting about the absence of a firewoman in the playset (tut, tut).

What worries me is the cumulative effect of all the tiny-waisted princesses my daughter will grow up with, whether they be Sleeping Beauty or Cheryl Cole. I’ve never wanted her to be enchanted by everything pink and glittery but that’s what has happened as more and more things spread around the house like a sparkly fungus. It’s the fascinating debate about whether it’s nature or nurture – do girls naturally gravitate towards ‘girlie’ things whilst their brothers pick up a spanner and stride towards the Meccano? Is there anything parents can do to prevent the mighty advance of nature?

I’m still ‘in the right mind’ to write to Disney and wage a one-woman campaign to get a couple of stone added to their cast of skinny minnies. (If they were really that skinny would they have boobs THAT BIG?) Oh god, maybe I’m just a jealous hag and if I can’t have a figure like that then I’ll be damned if Tinkerbell can. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest of them all?” “Well, my lady – with your thirty-something’s wrinkles, cake addiction and baby belly – they are.”

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13 Responses to “Tiny waists and rubber dresses”

  1. Mammasaurus September 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I find them creepy – and agree poor role models for little girls. Not many mums look like that do they ?! Beans still at the age where she doesn’t cringe when I walk past her in the bathroom with my arse wobbling away – and I’ll try and keep it that way for a while yet!
    Mind you I grew up around Barbies – they were a bit on the thin side too and I’ve grown up well adjusted – err….

    She has started ‘ooooo-ing’ over toys on adverts on TV during the Peppa Pig ad breaks lately … so I switch to CBeebies and pretend I haven’t heard her !

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

      My daughter is still struggling with the concept that you don’t need make-up to look beautiful. How can I argue otherwise when she sees me putting the slap on everyday?!!

  2. James Wilson September 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m not so sure there’s much anyone can do about the whole toys/gender/stereotype thing. I remember Sandi Toksvig saying she tried to ban toy guns from her house (ha! never did me no ‘arm) whereupon her son promptly improvised with props as well as his mother ever did on Whose Line is it Anyway?

    All the children’s parties and activities that mine and their classmates engage in conform to stereotypes if there’s no parental interference (comparing girls and boys’ self-made pizzas is particularly amusing). And when friends with girls visit my oldest, a sensitive sort (where he gets this from I don’t know), again without asking, carefully goes through his toys to find ones the girls might like – cf when boys arrive they all charge straight for the trains and trucks without a second thought.

    So I’m afraid it’s all hardwired into dna now and it will be several generations before anatomically realistic barbies would have any effect even if anyone could be persuaded to make them (I am presuming Mr Smithers would not approve of normal let alone fractionally frumpy Malibu Stacey).

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

      I’m not sure how anatomically realistic Barbie could or should be! Eliza’s farmyard animal models are pretty realistice – a little TOO realistic, ie you can tell the boys from the girls.

  3. James September 28, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    I hadn’t meant correct in that sense, but now you mention it, perhaps you should do a separate post thereon … And where on earth do you buy such toys? Pretty sure I’ve never seen anything at the early learning centre that didn’t conform with the Henry Moore style ie gender non existent ….

  4. Muddling Along September 28, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    I hate the whole Disney princess thing but have been overruled by husband and MIL fortunately I’ve managed to inject some decent princesses into the line up (thank you Princess Smartypants!) and a love of building things so ours tend to be in sparkly dresses, wellies and wielding a hammer…

    Am hoping Disney might find some princesses that do more than ‘fall in love’ sigh

    • Crumbs & Pegs September 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      I’ll have a look at Princess Smartypants! I may be able to avert the damage …

  5. actuallymummy October 5, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Funny – grubby fingers and rubber dresses – yes it does rather smack of a dodgy porn film. Even I can’t get those bloody dresses on, never mind my daughter!

    • Crumbs & Pegs October 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

      Keep finding the flaming handbags and tiaras scattered around the house too. Preparation for having a teenage girl I guess.

  6. pinkoddy October 8, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I agree it’s the whole media thing too. Would love to ban tvs etc like some families managed to do. Have you seen the in-betweeners movie? The woman in that must be all of a size 12 and is called the fat one!!! Frigging disgusting. I had lots of Barbies etc though and in my thirties I’m happy with my nice round size.

    • Crumbs & Pegs October 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

      Impossible to avoid the media these days. I think we all (perhaps with the expection of Katie Price!) see through the Barbie thing eventually and end up pretty as well-rounded individuals (no pun intended!).

  7. Ben Carl October 10, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    This was novel. I wish I could read every post, but i have to go back to work now… But I’ll return.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wanted: new knickers « Crumbs and Pegs - November 26, 2011

    […] accepted that keeping pink and princesses out of my 3-year-old’s life is a losing battle. Bring on the sparkles, I can handle […]

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