The above picture is doing the rounds on Twitter. I assume people who like it think it shows empowering girls or that it’s a feminist statement. As far as I’m concerned it’s nothing of the sort!
Let’s look at the logo first. “Forget princess” Why? What message does this give a girl who does want to dress up as a princess? Is this the equivalent of the dumb blond jokes? Is this saying to little girls that if you want to dress up as a princess then you are somehow inferior to someone who wants to be an astrophysicist? Is it so hard to imagine a little girl who loves dressing up as Cinderella AND wants to be an astrophysicist? Does it have to be one or the other? Would it not have been better to just have “I want to be an astrophysicist” as the slogan?
Secondly, does being a feminist mean we should only aim to have highly academic education/careers? What if the slogan was “I want to be a Reception teacher, a TA, a paramedic” or, shock, horror, “a mother”?! Are any of these choices in any way inferior? But I bet you if the slogan had said I want to be a mother there would have been outrage on social media! Some people may say that these are objectionable because there aren’t equivalent ones for boys. Two wrongs don’t make a right; let’s have a range for girls AND boys which make it ok to say that I want to be a father/mother and the others I’ve mentioned above.
Now, let’s look at the picture. Am I the only one who feels slightly uncomfortable looking at the picture of a little girl who, with those outsized sunglasses, looks to be older than what her age may be. So, little girls putting on huge sunglasses and looking older than their age is ok as long as they’re saying “Forget Princess”?
My other objection to this slogan is that it turns dressing up as a princess from something that is innocent and age appropriate to something which is somehow wrong. My earliest memory of buying a book is from when I was 5 or 6. My father picked me up from school to take me to the dentist. On our way there he promised that once I’d been seen by the dentist he would take me to a book shop which was next door to the dental clinic and I could buy a book. I spent the time at the dentist thinking of the books I wanted to buy. We then went next door and I went from one shelf to another and finally settled on “Sleeping Beauty”. My daughters have loved dressing up and I’ve bought every Disney princess costume there has been! I went on to study Applied Genetics, my eldest is studying medicine, my middle daughter is applying to medicine and my youngest told me the other day that she really likes physics! Yes, a very small sample size and yes, anecdotal evidence but reading about and dressing up as a princess hasn’t harmed any of us. Let little girls be little girls and if they want to dress up as a princess then let them. Now, that really is feminism!
As far as the above ad is concerned, I’ve fixed it for you!
“Women have to be allowed to be many things.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie