You hear all the time about how “in this economy,” we have less and less money to spend. People are being more frugal, fixing or repairing something instead of automatically throwing it out, and trying to make do with less of everything. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I went to college in the late 90s at a time when it seemed money would never run out. My freshman roommate threw everything out when we moved out of our dorm room because she figured she’d just buy a new one at the start of the next school year. Amazingly enough, her parents happily complied.
But now I see stories on the internet news sources all the time about how people are cutting back. Lately I have been noticing stories regarding cutting back on prom, which I don’t see as a bad thing. I still do not fathom why a group of teenagers need to take a limo to prom. My then-boyfriend drove me to prom in his parents 1992 Honda Accord, and I felt like a princess anyhow — but it was because of the way he treated me. He paid for my dinner and made sure to open my car door and pull back my chair for me. I didn’t need to arrive in a limo to feel special.
Now that idea is filtering down into the youngest of children, speaking of princesses. An article over on MSNBC.com mentioned that with the economy’s downturn, many parents are trying to steer their daughters away from all the princess paraphenalia in an effort to rein in the diva mentality.
Kids love to pretend and play-act. For little boys, it’s superheroes. How many of our brothers and male friends begged their moms for a kitchen towel so they could pretend to be Superman? Little girls have been pretending to be princesses since the beginning of time, certainly for far longer than the Disney Princesses have been around.
I don’t really get the connection that because a child likes to pretend that she is a princess, it automatically means she will engage in diva-like behavior. I have a four-year-old daughter myself who is just now getting into the whole princesses thing. Recently I bought her a Cinderella dress-up costume so she can even look like a princess if she feels like it — and she wears that thing nearly every single day. But it hasn’t made her into a diva. She doesn’t understand that “princess” can mean “entitled.” “Princess” to her simply means “pretty lady wearing a fancy dress and high heels.” She’s usually playing with her cars and her Tonka truck while wearing her princess dress, not waving her wand and demanding that we cater to her every need.
It’s not the Disney Princesses power machine that is to blame. I think it’s society in general. We encourage diva-like behavior on all of the reality shows because the conflict that results is what sells. Why else would Lacey make it that far on “Hell’s Kitchen,” and why they brought her back for the final episode? It wasn’t because she could cook — because I can cook better than she can. It was because she acted like a diva and caused major conflict, which upped the ratings.
Look at the young ladies on any of the bride shows. All you hear is, “It’s my day to be a princess!” There’s so much focus on making a big deal of the bride — but since it’s a wedding, shouldn’t it be about the couple? Shouldn’t it be about the marriage and not about whether the bride gets her way in every little detail? It makes me wonder how much our parents and grandparents spent on their weddings. Would it be the equivalent of $20,000, the average cost of a wedding nowadays?
I see nothing wrong with a little girl wanting to pretend to be a princess. Imaginative play really stimulates the brain and encourages creativity. What’s wrong with a little girl putting on a pointy hat and reading out edicts to her loyal (toy) subjects? It doesn’t immediately follow that she will start to insist on her own way all the time. It’s up to the parents to put the kibosh on diva-like behavior in all forms and at all times. Just because your kid is wearing a princess dress and tiara doesn’t mean she now rules the roost. And let me tell you — a diva in toddler clothes is the furthest thing from cute.