Raising My Son Among Princesses



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    Raising My Son Among Princesses

    There's a lot of talk about the effect of princess culture on little girls. But what about boys? What messages is my son picking up, not just from the media, but from the expectations and desires of the girls that he plays with? Despite my best efforts at showing Cole a balanced family with equally yoked parents, one strong savvy mama may not be enough to conquer the glitz of those silver-screen princesses, and I'm worried that my son is learning these five lessons:
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    Pretty is all that matters.

    Pretty is all that matters The times I’ve told my son he’s good looking are few and far between, even though I think he’s awfully cute. But he tells me I’m pretty almost every time I put on eyeliner. I love it — nothing wrong with a charmer — but hate that he notices. How I or anyone else looks is far down the list of things I want my son to care about. Girls primping in preschool, worried about looking just right instead of having fun? Cringe-worthy. Do I really have to start talking about inner beauty at age five?

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    Boys have to rescue girls.

    Boys have to rescue girls. I want my Cole to play and climb and dig and build, and I don’t mind him playing Star Wars, pirates, even royal family. But the game gets old if one player is always sitting there waiting for the action to come to her. Do movie princesses ever rescue themselves, plotting a cunning plan to foil an evil-doer without a man’s help? It’s an awful lot of pressure if my boy thinks he has to solve the problems of every girl that comes into his life.

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    Girls don’t think about anything deep.

    Girls don’t think about anything deep Whether we’re talking cartoon princesses or even adult chick flick fare, women don’t seem to worry about the big issues in life. Domestic concerns abound, along with finding a man and the latest shoe sale. I hate to imagine my son thinking that girls focus so much attention on their hair and accessories. How could you have a meaningful relationship with a woman if you thought so little of her intellect? Sure I worry about the house getting clean and finding a man, but there’s still about 86% of my brain left to think about other stuff.

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    Small guys are evil.

    Small guys are evil Girls aren’t the only ones with a dearth of good movie role models. Movie culture would have boys believe that you need muscles to be a hero. Cole is scrawny — upsettingly so. And though we’re working on it, as far as I can tell, if you are skinny or short in a cartoon, you are the bad guy. Dashing princes on the other hand … they seem to spend a lot of time working on their biceps.

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    Boys and girls can’t be friends unless it’s romantic.

    Boys and girls can’t be friends unless it’s romantic As a dateless tomboy all through high school, I had a great circle of female and male friends. That’s what I want for my son; I want him to get to know girls and what they are like without all the hormones involved. Some weirdness is inevitable, but I’d like him to be able to talk naturally with women.

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