The Problem with Princesses: Princess Recovery by Jennifer L. Hartstein, PsyD
Much has been written about the modern princess--the little girl who wants to be a Disney princess, graduates to scantily clad Barbies, and before she's a tween, she's wearing make-up. This in turn is believed to lead to insecurity and negative self-images because these young girls will never be as perfect as their teen superstar idols. By not being all she can be, today’s princess does not get all the satisfaction she could get out of life.
Princess Recovery: A How-To Guide to Raising Strong, Empowered Girls Who Can Create Their Own Happily Ever Afters, written by Jennifer L. Hartstein, PsyD, and published last month, presents a program with which parents can deprogram the pop culture propaganda that influences so many girls.
When I think about little girls as princesses, I usually think, “What’s wrong with being treated like royalty?” After all, when my darling Princess Chloë was eight, we haunted yard sales and thrift shops for gowns (mostly old bridesmaids’ dresses) which we embellished and donned with our rhinestone tiaras, and we would be the princess and the empress.
Chloë grew to be an intelligent, creative, independent, confident, self-determined young woman, so what could be wrong with pretending royalty? The problem is not “playing pretend,” it’s an enculturated mindset that fosters the adoption of superficial values. Chloë evolved into the person she is because princess wasn’t the only game she played.
We spent hot hours in the Mississippi sun pulling weeds as orphan sisters Gwen and Isabel who worked Farmer Grey’s (my husband) fields, among other make-believe activities. Most importantly, her mother is not a princessy-type, but instead one who indulged the occasional whim for a crown and nail polish, but didn’t encourage the girly-girl princess attitude and lifestyle.Continued on the next page