to think a school party based on Cinderella is sexist and hardly positive promotion of women?

(146 Posts)
NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:23:06

I've name changed as this will out me.

DD's teacher read Cinderella as the class book last week. She is in Reception. I shuddered when she told me as I'm not a fan of stories where women are judged on their looks (ugly stepsisters, pretty Cinderella) and need to be rescued by a man.

Anyway, one week of reading a book that is morally questionable isn't going to hurt dd so I didn't say anything when the teacher told me at parents evening.

However, dd1 has come home today with a letter informing of a 'Fairytale ball' and the children are encouraged to go dressed as a fairytale character. When I read this, I thought ok, we can try and pick a positive role model for her to go as. However the letter also says the Ball is based on their Cinderella week and on the letter is a picture of (what I think is) the Disney prince and princess from Cinderella in all their finery holding hands. So dd (who has never had any inclinations towards pink and princess tat) now wants only to dress up as a princess and I quote "get married and live happily ever after" [anger]

Honestly I never thought I would be this annoyed but the more I think of it, the more disappointed in her (very nice) teacher . Am I in a time warp? Is this 1974? Shall I just tie dd to the sink now and tell her the brains in her head count for nothing and the way she looks and getting married are all that are important in life?

I'm trying to raise a strong and independent woman. I understand that playing with a barbie and dressing as a princess doesn't prevent me from doing that. But I really don't expect the school to be promoting those outdated ideals.

I am fully prepared to accept IABU, and I actually hope I am so I can let this go, but surely in this day and age they could have found a story where boys and girls are equal and looks don't come into it.

So AIBU? If so, why? If not, would you mention it at school?

Sirzy Tue 20-Nov-12 17:25:50

Personally I think your over thinking things although I can understand your frustrations to an extent.

As long as they read a good variety of books and do appropriate activites related to them then I can't see a problem with it as a one off

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Tue 20-Nov-12 17:27:44

Overthinking it. It's a fairytale

natwebb79 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:29:44

Erm, a bit of an over reaction I think...

GoingBackToSchool Tue 20-Nov-12 17:29:58

But you said that it won't prevent you from raising a strong and independant woman, and she wants to dress up, so why not? Agree that you're over thinking

Euphemia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:30:52

I agree you're over-thinking it. If you start unpicking the fairytales they're all very old-fashioned and offensive in some way!

I prefer to view them as part of our rich story-telling heritage. You can discuss with DD how "We don't do things they way they used to, when these stories were written," and try to help her see them as a charming part of our past, and no more than that.

pjmama Tue 20-Nov-12 17:31:48

Overreacting a bit IMO. My DS loves Lightning McQueen, but I don't think he wants to be a car when he grows up. DD however DOES want to be a penguin, but hey ho. Point is, it's just fairy tales and presumably isn't the only message she's getting? Let her dress up and be a princess, what's the harm?

BlueberryHill Tue 20-Nov-12 17:31:48

How about Shrek, she is still a princess, just one who can do karate kicks?

I'd be uncomfortable with this tbh. What about the little girls who don't want to be princesses? Where is their place in a Cinderella Ball? sad

Selim Tue 20-Nov-12 17:32:15

I think knowing fairytales is really important.

You could try introducing 'real' queens and princesses. Boadicea, Victoria, Elizabeth I and others. Have her think about what it takes to rule a country, command armies and govern people.

FWIW, I agree that Disney Princesses are a terrible role model and shoved down their necks at every turn. Cheap, nasty, dis-empowering drivel.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:33:27

I will let her dress up in whatever she wants whilst telling her that women are actually equal to men and do not need to be 'rescued'

McPhee Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:32

She could go as a pumpkin, a rat/mouse, the prince

Who said she has to be Cinderella

It just needs a bit of imagination.

Personally I can't see what the fuss is about

It's only a bit of fun


Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:35


Selim Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:58

If you don't want to be a princess then you can be a mother or a grandmother or a godmother or a little girl or a mermaid or a wise woman or a bear or an enchantress or a witch or a wolf or a prince or a queen or a fairy or a troll or a billygoat or a pumpkin or a rat or a coachman or a king.

mrskeithrichards Tue 20-Nov-12 17:36:10

Part of being strong and independent is being able to think for yourself.

Just sayin'

MikeOxard Tue 20-Nov-12 17:39:44

Well I am a bit of a feminist, and even I think YAB a bit U. If she was a little bit older, more able to understand, and these ideas meant something to her, then I would agree, but she's only little. It's a baby story and she won't want to be cinderella for long.

The people who think it's no big deal. Do you think girls magically want to be pink princesses or do you think there is an element of societal pressure? If so, should we be pressuring girls to want to aspire to: prettiness; niceness; being rescued; frankly being a bit dim; half of the time being asleep r unconscious while the action is going on; relying on your fabulous hair to save you?

When I read those studies where girls say they would rather be pretty than clever, I wonder if fairy tales and Disney are all that harmless.

LeeCoakley Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:01

I was going to say you are over-thinking it but from dd3's point of view (tomboy) she would have been horrified if she was expected to dress up as a princess. Me too. I would have tried to be off sick that day. As long as there are other characters (e.g. mice, rats) that are acceptable I suppose it's ok.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:10

"presumably isn't the only message she's getting" - That's the problem, the only messages she is getting from this book and negative about the role of women in society.

And yes, I do pick apart the books and influences I share with her. That is why she hadn't heard the Cinderella story till they read it at school.

I went to the libary with dd after school to try and find a fairy tale that has a positive role model. The best I could find, in the short time, was Hansel and Gretal where the Gretal is the one who does the rescuing. And like MrsTerryPratchett says, this is a good opportunity to introduce her to women who are strong role models.

And if she wanted to grow up and be a penguin or a car I wouldn't care. My point is the subconscious message she is receiving that women are weaker and need men to be happy. And the fact, this message is coming from school that is annoying me.

GoingBackToSchool Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:25

Also, I just spent an entire afternoon with two 3 year old princesses who were going out to buy tiaras. But they were also going out to save their princes who had got 'stuck in a snow pond'. Princesses can be the rescue-ers sometimes too! :D

Chandon Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:51

what do you mean, is this 1974?!

I never dressed up as a princess in the 70s, I DID dress up as Pippi Longstocking though! (now there is a role model)

Anyway, girls grow out of this princess stage, try doing this in Y4! So not a biggie.

WhenShallWeThreeKingsMeetAgain Tue 20-Nov-12 17:42:13

Oh FFS, OP - just that.........FFS !!!

KurriKurri Tue 20-Nov-12 17:42:40

Might be worth looking at some of these titles for some more inspiring Fairy Tales for you DD.

I'm generally in favour of Fairy Tales as being somewhere where children can explore their fears and darker ideas from a safe place. But if I was using them as a teaching project, I would be discussing the moral implications with the children, and encouraging them to be critical.

I totally agree with you about the need for positive female role models for girls, based on presence of mind, or other qualities of character rather than looks.

The Ball idea sounds a bit ill thought out - or at least the illustration on the invitation. Would have been better if the children had been given a free choice of character to choose.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:43:04

Sorry for typo's trying to cook dinner and be outraged at the same time grin

Try to cook dinner and be outraged, that sounds like the title of a feminist tract!

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:46:08

She has been given a free choice. But the message from school is so strong that she only wants to be Cinderella. Which is strange as she never had any inclination to do this before.

It's the same as giving girls only pink toys, or providing dressing up clothes where girls can be nurses but boys can be doctors IMHO.

What MrsTP said.

And for all of you saying she could be another character, what reaction do you think she is most likely to get at school at a party that they've been told is about Cinderella?

ps. Bet Disney are loving the way that schools are encouraging children to pester their parents for official Disney Princesses items!

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:50:22

She isn't in a Princess stage. If she was, then fine. I would go along with it.

What has happened , is that she has been introduced to a negative role model from school (of all places) and this influence is now affecting the way she thinks.

I'm not questioning girls that want to dress up as princesses. I'm questioning the judgement of the school to place such emphasis on a role model that in no way promotes equality.

SingingSands Tue 20-Nov-12 17:52:59

When I was growing up and reading fairy tales with my mum, she taught me that the main character (the princess) was the hero of the tale. The princesses had to overcome hardships and work hard to get what they wanted, it wasn't handed to them on a plate. It was only because fairytales were written long ago that their main goal was "find a suitable husband" as that was the main role of women long ago. Mum also told me to look for the hidden meanings, e.g. your friends can become your family when your own family let you down (snow white) or to always keep sight of what you want, even when others try to take it from you (cinderella). I didn't grow up to be empty headed or tied to the kitchen sink. Fairytales can teach our kids more than "happily ever after".

Sorry if that was rambly, I'm on my phone and maybe not explaining myself very well...

BitOutOfPractice Tue 20-Nov-12 17:53:17

I think you may need to calm down a bit and do more cooking dinner and less being outrages grin

If you want a "Disney" princess who doesn't need rescuing, try Beauty and the Beast where Belle refuses to marry the town hunk because she wants to have adventures, goes out to rescue her father, bravely offers herself up to be imprisoned, and rescues the beast from his spell

Or Mulan - who goes off to war I think I may have snoozed through that one

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:54:05

Thanks for the great list KurriKurri.

I'm tempted to take this in and give it to dd's teacher to balance out the impact of spending so much time on weak Cinderella I won't though

featherbag Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:09

Erm, YABU and a bit... odd. I grew up loving the princess fairytales, including Cinderella, and I'm fully aware that I do not need rescuing by men. I'm happily married in a equal relationship, and in our house I'm the main breadwinner. As I am intelligent and was encouraged by my parents to think for myself, I can tell the difference between fairy stories and real life. And I still love fairy stories!

Adversecamber Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:16

Cinderella was my favourite fairy tale as a child. I am a strong woman and was an active trade unionist involved with helping to write equality legislation for many years. Seriously I loathe sexism of any sort but you cannot shield your DD from it , you just have to explain situations and guide her.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:32

grin @ the name of a track!

Thank you SingingSands, I've been trying to find a way to turn Cinderella around in DD's head, to somehow find a positive. smile

RedHelenB Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:41

I thought the main point of Cinderella was her kindness. And her step mother * sisters were ugly because they were unkind.

Fakebook Tue 20-Nov-12 18:00:41

It's just a bit of fun. I suspect all those objecting to girls and boys toy aisles will be coming along to support this atrocity, but I wouldn't really give a rats arse about it.

But if you turn that around RedHelen that means that ugliness is immoral and beauty is moral. Some children can already be a bit unkind to others who look different or 'ugly' so that message isn't awesome. I like Shrek where the true form of love is 'ugly'.

"It never affected me"

Maybe not. It's affected many other girls/women though. Is it not worth making an effort to reduce those numbers?

How many women out there remain in bad relationships because they think they need a man (need to be rescued)?
How many women think their worth is based only on their appearance (ugly sisters don't succeed)?
How many women think they have to wait for people to do things for them rather than doing it for themselves (Cinders waits for the Fairy Godmother and the Prince to make things happen = successful, the Ugly Sisters seek out the Prince and ask to try on the shoe = failure)?

Think this isn't a fairly common attitude? Think again. There are better role models for little girls.

If Cinderella was the exception to the norm for how girls get represented then that would be one thing. It's not though. And a Cinderella Ball is making poor little pretty Cinders the focus, and the aspiration.

A fairy tale ball would be great, it's the focus on a particularly gendered tale that sits wrong.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 18:12:15

My DD is in Reception. Whenever there is a fancy dress party in trot a classful of princesses.

Recently, the children were asked to dress as 'What you want to be when you grow up'. There were loads of doctors, nurses, policewomen, teachers, vets etc. Any one who wanted to be a princess, and yes there were a couple, were actually told by the other children that you can't be a princess in real life.

Even 4 yo have a grasp on reality you know.

You only have to look at the scary wedding industry to see how many women never grow out of the happily-ever-after, princess for a day, the wedding is the 'ending' myth.

It may well be harmless nonsense but why is it everywhere? There are reasons it is being marketed to our little girls.

RedHelenB Tue 20-Nov-12 18:15:50

I meant more in the beauty comes from within rather than kind people are pretty & bad people are ugly.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 18:17:52

"Even 4 yo have a grasp on reality you know" - Well yes that's my point isn't it? That my dd is old enough to understand the subconscious messages that are being fed to her.

Re: wedding. Absolutely.

Anyone ever heard a wedding day being described as a woman's chance to be a princess for a day? Still think it isn't aspirational? That it doesn't permeate society?

I know that's the message RedHelen but I wonder if children are sophisticated enough to get that rather than 'pretty = good, ugly = bad'. When Shrek tells Fiona she is beautiful, I think THAT comes across as the message. Not with Cinderella. Although i will admit I may have been beaten into submission by being forced to watch Shrek HUNDREDS of times. Thanks you Madagascar for saving me from Shrek repeat hell.

Goodness yes, MurderOfGoths (great name BTW). Princess for a day. <Shudders>

buggerama Tue 20-Nov-12 18:23:09

OP, you are making a big thing out of nothing. I want my girls to grow up as strong women not reying on men to rescue them too, but I also dont mind indulging them so they can wear pink princess outfits sometimes. I think you are making an issue out of this which could well backfire

LivvyPsMum Tue 20-Nov-12 18:24:02

Its a fairytale! She's not going to be scarred for life!

squeakytoy Tue 20-Nov-12 18:25:40

"What has happened , is that she has been introduced to a negative role model from school (of all places) and this influence is now affecting the way she thinks"

She is 4, for heavens sakes... I wanted to be a princess when I was 4.. by 6 I wanted to be an astronaut, and by 10 I wanted to be a rally driver...

You really do need to chill out a bit and relax..

I read and watched disney as I grew up, and all the old fairytales too, and it certainly didnt turn me into a subservient housewife.

If you daughter is strong minded, she will be strong minded, no amount of Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella will change that.

ll31 Tue 20-Nov-12 18:27:22

think you are overthinking it tbh.. but get some books of legends - celtic, english whatever that have strong woman characters and bring them in... really tho i think you can still immerse ur dd in your beliefs at this age...and hearing other views -albeit in story form-won't stop her hearing what you're saying

stargirl1701 Tue 20-Nov-12 18:27:46

Is it the Learning Unlimited resource 'Fairy Land'? If so, they're pretty inspirational when used effectively. I wouldn't get upset over it.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 18:30:22

If your 4 yo really truly believes that she will grow up, marry a prince and become a princess, then unless she knows Kate Middleton I think she doesn't have a grasp on reality.

If, on the other hand, she simply wants to dress up in a sparkly dress for a party, I'd say there is really nothing sinister in that. The princesses in fairy stories aren't the only role models she'll be exposed to in school.

FWIW I also have a 9 yo DD who wanted to be the Little Mermaid when she was 4. Now she wants to be a scientist.

perplexedpirate Tue 20-Nov-12 18:30:43

I think you are right, OP, I wouldn't be impressed either.
I think it's important to separate within this argument the traditional fairy-tales, which I agree are culturally important and very interesting, and the sanitised pretty-pretty Disney versions, which aren't.

mrskeithrichards Tue 20-Nov-12 18:32:15

I liked the princess and the frog girl she was cool

tiggytape Tue 20-Nov-12 18:33:12

YABU and way overthinking this.

For a start DD can be a mouse or a pumpkin if she prefers and, even if she wants to be a princess for the day, this will hardly ruin your ambition to raise a strong independent woman. If you are only going to achieve this upbringing by shielding her from negative images of women, it will be a thankless task anyway. Surely you'd want her to know the negative image but not believe it rather than simply not know it exists.
Now she is at school you have lost the ability to censor what she is exposed to in this area to a great extent - no matter what your views on it, 99% of the girls in her class will be a princess at the ball.

And as an aside, Cinderella isn't such a negative character. She had a horrible life but remained positive, kindly and hardworking. She was loved even when her material possessions evaporated at midnight and was not judged on her looks in the end because she was filthy and in rags yet the shoe fit and she was picked. I agree she wasn't exactly forging a career in finance or medicine but she is hardly a horrid or bimbo character either.

Doingakatereddy Tue 20-Nov-12 18:36:59

If it's female role models we are looking at would it be Hillary Clinton, Ann Sun Kyu Chi (sp) or perhaps Angela Merkel? Great dressing up for a 4 year old hmm

Have a word by all means but not sending a 4 year old dressed up like a princess when all her friends will be sounds very unreasonable

QuanticoVirginia Tue 20-Nov-12 18:37:22

Total over reaction.

Surely the way you bring up your daughter to be a strong and independent role model is by being one yourself ie leading by examplei???

In my house I am the bread winner and fixer of things. If their computer breaks or something needs fixing it's me they come to because they see me do those things (not their Dad). Even he is amazed at my willingness to get a screwdriver out and google a solution as I refuse to pay for anything I can sort out myself.

I am sure a few fairy stories wouldn't counteract what they see going on around them and wearing a bit of pink and pretending to be a princess won't stop them because nuclear scientist or whatever their fancy is if they've got some decent role models in their home.

thebody Tue 20-Nov-12 18:39:11

Tight tape really good post and do true.

Op I do see your point, even as a mom of 2 really girly princess's dds. Who would have loved this.

Fast forward to teenage years and woe betide any bloke messing them around.

She is little and will grow out of it.

ThePerfectFather Tue 20-Nov-12 18:40:38

I have a question - when growing up, did all the women on this forum somehow manage to dodge all the fairytales and sexist crap that went unremarked and uncontested in it's day? If not, how on Earth do you explain yourself now? How did YOU make it through the gauntlet of sexist imagery? How did YOU make it through that trial by fire?

How can you call yourself a "strong, independent woman" if, apparently, a few fairytales at school will turn you into an airhead?

Or are you saying that we need to dump Cinderella because future generations of women will suddenly be powerless to resist it's corrupting influrence - despite being RAISED by women who explain about female role models and are in fact role models themselves?

dementedma Tue 20-Nov-12 18:43:03

Think you need to get a grip op.
My two dds loved fairy tales and all that stuff - Aladdin and Jasmine, Cinderella etc.
they are now 22 and 19 - independent, smart and feisty who take no crap from anyone and know what their value is.
Get over yourself and stop projecting your issues onto your daughter.

curlypoo Tue 20-Nov-12 18:43:15

YABU - massive over thinking and clearly not enough going on in your little head that you have given to much effort to drastically and willfully misinterpreting something which is a very very small moment in your child's long life. Just please get a grip and for goodness sake's don't go on about it in the playground. Just enjoy, it really isn't that important.

"Have a word by all means but not sending a 4 year old dressed up like a princess when all her friends will be sounds very unreasonable"

But that's it isn't it? Letting little girls know that they must be princesses or be left out/wrong?

"Surely the way you bring up your daughter to be a strong and independent role model is by being one yourself ie leading by examplei???"

It'd be great if parents were the only ones with any influence over how their kids grow up, but they aren't. Society and peer pressure also play a role.

Greensleeves Tue 20-Nov-12 18:46:39

I agree with you OP

Fairytale princesses are appalling role models

I don't have a girl, but I do teach them and I would really baulk at this.

And I would say some people on this thread are wilfully underthinking it!

"How can you call yourself a "strong, independent woman" if, apparently, a few fairytales at school will turn you into an airhead?"

It's about the bigger picture. Disney Princesses being aspirational is a symptom of a much bigger issue in society. And it may not have affected us, but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect others. Should we not worry about them because we are alright? Also do you think this small selection of MN users is representative of the majority of women? Or in fact men? Because boys are also being brought up with the princess imagery, this idea that girls should be demure, pretty, and need to be rescued.

Hulababy Tue 20-Nov-12 18:50:00

It's just one topic out of many she will encounter at school. Traditional tales is one of the literacy themes. There will be many many others. By the time she has heard the next story and done activities focusing on it she'll have moved on - any messages you think she will be picking up now will be transplanted in a matter of days/weeks with a new topic.

CaliforniaLeaving Tue 20-Nov-12 18:51:16

I'd dress her ans Princess Merida from Brave, she's one feisty Princess who slings arrows and defends her country.
Maybe watch the movie with her.

Greensleeves Tue 20-Nov-12 18:51:50

There are plenty of traditional tales that don't push an agenda of female passivity through Hula. It's not necessary to expose little girls to this agenda as part of their education.

CurrentBun Tue 20-Nov-12 18:53:34

And the fairytale should end ...

and they all lived happily ever after ...she left the bastard."

Sirzy Tue 20-Nov-12 18:53:35

I am sure people could find a problem with every story if they really wanted to!

as long as its part of a balanced curriculum then its fine. If they only look at similar books then I could see your point.

MrsHoarder Tue 20-Nov-12 18:55:16

But that's it isn't it? Letting little girls know that they must be princesses or be left out/wrong?

It would also be mean to send her into school dressed up as a cat if there was a "dog" themed dressing up day. Nothing to convince children that they need to fit in like having them stick out and be mocked.

Viewofthehills Tue 20-Nov-12 18:55:39

Let her enjoy being a princess for the day. It will do her no harm.
I say that as someone who bought my daughter all unisex (ie boys) clothes until she was about 3 when she discovered pink. I then caved in a bit and we had a lot of pink for a few years. She wouldn't be seen dead in it now.
I think it is better to let her get the princess thing out of her system and you'll find she moves on pretty quickly to something else. On the other hand if you resist it may become more of an obsession.
I also think you should tell your daughter she looks nice when she does, because the default is she will think she is ugly. You should equally tell your son, of course. You may think looks don't matter, but actually they do, and everyone should learn to take pride in their appearance.

when growing up, did all the women on this forum somehow manage to dodge all the fairytales and sexist crap that went unremarked and uncontested in it's day I had a scary 1970s feminist, artist DM so it was challenged in it's day for me. I have in my possession a book I wrote about a girl who makes Prince Charles form the Princes' Trust after he proposes to her and she decides to start her own business instead blush I was an annoying child.

I think that on an individual level, in my younger years, I did want to have a man, get married, have a happy ever after. I did expect a partner to know what I was thinking and for things to be easy because love should be. I do think these ideas permeate society. Women earn less, there is still DV and rape. I don't think Disney Princesses CAUSE that but I don't think they help.

LittlemissChristmas Tue 20-Nov-12 18:57:19

she is a little girl.
It's christmas = panto season
Its just a fairy tale I'm sure by the time she is 16 and you have drummed your feminist views into her she will realise that she is not a princess, there is no Prince Charming and not always a happy ever after but why shouldn't they think there is while they can.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 18:58:36

Because boys are also being brought up with the princess imagery, this idea that girls should be demure, pretty, and need to be rescued.

And girls are brought up with superheroes, so they are all going to be disappointed aren't they - unless they have the ability to take it all for what it is, a fantasy.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:00:18

curlypoo "clearly not enough going on in your little head" - Is this how you normally talk to people? I have to say, I'm pleased you are not an influence on my dc. And god help yours, if you have any.

There are posters on here who have voiced exactly what I'm trying to say far more eloquently that I could, so thank you to them. They have understood exactly what it is that I'm trying to say.

I think I will have to seethe quietly about it though (rather than mention it at school) and use the links and examples given above with dd.

I would just ask some posters though, if you ignore every negative role model that is put in front of your dc, and write it off as 'overthinking', how do you think your dc will learn to question society and know the positive from the negative when they encounter it?

Sirzy Tue 20-Nov-12 19:03:13

There is a differences between ignoring something and educating them about the other options. Ignoring something achieves nothing, teaching them to tackle it is the only way it can have any effect.

Children need to be taught to question things, they can only do that if they are aware of the things in the first place.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:04:03

Greensleeves - "It's not necessary to expose little girls to this agenda as part of their education"

This. This.

Exactly what I am trying to say.

redexpat Tue 20-Nov-12 19:04:14

I think she might be a bit young for it in reception but might be worth getting hold of a copy of Princess Florezella by Phillipa Gregory (I think). She is a princess, who doesnt want to get married, and ends up rescuing the prince from the dragon.

Growlithe just for you a superhero picture

BTW OP I would rather overthink than underthink.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:07:00

Growlithe That's rubbish. The Superhero fantasy for boys wears off pretty soon. The importance placed on looks and finding the 'perfect hero' of a man is drummed into women for a long time after they have left childhood. The two are not comparable.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:09:26

MrsTerryPratchett - That's a clever picture. Says so much.

Viewofthehills Tue 20-Nov-12 19:12:31

Obviously you don't ignore negative role models- you discuss issues with them.
However, it is better if you lead them in the right directions and try to let them come to their own conclusions, rather than just telling them what to think.

PC gone mad, surely?! Why would you even think that? I think it's a cute story !

StElmo Tue 20-Nov-12 19:18:01

Are you for real?! It Cinderella, a child's fairy tale, it isn't going to dictate how she lives her whole life. You daft hippy.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:18:18

Hoping for gender equality in schools is surely a reasonable expectation rather than political correctness gone mad? Or am I really in a time warp?

<< looks around for the Tardis >>

Greensleeves Tue 20-Nov-12 19:19:40

People who say "PC gone mad".... well, they generally share certain charasteristics.

OP you are absolutely right and even the wilful underthinkers know it deep down grin

Viewofthehills Tue 20-Nov-12 19:19:48

Sorry- discuss issues with your children.
I don't think my DD's have any ideas of finding a perfect man. They have lots of ambitions and none of them include men.
I hope they see that their parents are equal, but have different talents and that they appreciate having parents who both have their best interests at heart and co-operate to make it all work.
At your DD's age the message you give her is still the most important for a little while longer.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:20:13

Do people tag insults onto the end of their post because their comment is too poor to stand by itself?

Possibly, OP.

Bums and poo. I thought I would try it.

Viewofthehills Tue 20-Nov-12 19:23:06

There pretty much is gender equality in schools. They can all play football, netball, dance, do food tech, metalwork, sewing, science. Where there isn't is the media and in a lot of children's homes.

SkiBumMum Tue 20-Nov-12 19:27:49

I am with you OP. I'd had it if our school did this. It annoys me enough that they have those stupid high heels and princess dresses in the costume box. I'm in the minority though! Disney Princesses are vile and the little girls are brainwashed by them. We don't have them at home and DD gets described as a tomboy. No, she just has toys not "Girly" tat.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:28:13

MrsTerryPratchett - That's a more intelligent post than some on here, although obviously that could just be a daft hippy opinion that occured in my little head grin

kerala Tue 20-Nov-12 19:29:46

OP totally with you - Murderofgoths put it very well. I would feel the same. Its pernicious and it DOES have an effect. I would also feel rather powerless especially when faced with the slight majority on this thread eye rolling about over thinking. Underthinking by the school more like.

ps my DD went to a princess fancy dress party dressed as a tiger - she looked a million times cuter than all the disney clones.

And this is how gender roles are left unquestioned. Dare to question and you are "a daft hippy", "overthinking", "odd", "clearly [don't have] enough going on in your little head", "PC gone mad", looking for problems and need to "get a grip".

Know your place woman.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 19:30:55

SkiBumMum- people call dd a tomboy as well. One said it because dd likes splashing in puddles and getting muddy. I mean honestly ..

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 19:31:51

Growlithe That's rubbish. The Superhero fantasy for boys wears off pretty soon. The importance placed on looks and finding the 'perfect hero' of a man is drummed into women for a long time after they have left childhood. The two are not comparable.

The princess fantasy has worn off with my 9 yo DD. Yes, she likes her hair to look nice to go to school, but this is to do with her own self esteem and has nothing to do with looking good for boys, she would be appalled at the thought.

I really think you are doing today's girls a massive disservice. You asked earlier if it was 1974. Well, maybe in 1974 there were less strong women role models around in rl, but today's girls have greater expectations and ambitions of life than just getting married. That is because they see what is around them. Well mine do, anyway.

MushroomSoup Tue 20-Nov-12 19:32:00

I grew up on Cinderella and similar stories. But I am a strong, independent, well educated woman.
It's just a story!

I remember being described as a tomboy as a kid, then when I wore a dress got comments along the lines of "decided to stop being a tomboy then?". Because you know, it's one of the other, girl or girl pretending to be a boy hmm

kerala Tue 20-Nov-12 19:33:21

Mushroomsoup that argument reminds me of "but my granny smoked 50 silk cut a day and lived to 90" type comment.

"but today's girls have greater expectations and ambitions of life than just getting married"

Do they? Really?

Have you missed the part where there are girls out there who aspire to be WAGS? Where a wealthy husband is a reasonable desire? Where violence/emotional abuse/infidelity are just a hazard of keeping your man? What about those girls? Shouldn't we challenge stereotypes in this new generation of little girls to prevent them following in those footsteps?

I'd rather they were read Cinderella than Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, or sleeping beauty. At least you can argue that Cinderella goes against what is expected of her and her position in society and escapes the drudgery that was her life.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:47:37

This would really annoy me too. My daughter is a similar age at an all girls school and they definitely wouldn't be doing this.

showtunesgirl Tue 20-Nov-12 20:10:29

If you want to REALLY turn fairytales on their heads, I would suggest watching the musical Into the Woods.

Fairyegg Tue 20-Nov-12 20:20:28

Your reading to much into it, your dd will read/be read many different type of books, this is just one of many.

JakeBullet Tue 20-Nov-12 20:20:54

Send her as the Fairy Godmother...a woman who makes things happen. grin

dementedma Tue 20-Nov-12 20:21:17

Talk of brainwashing and affecting girls' lives is absolute bollocks - if I may use such an obviously masculine term. How many of the women on here protesting about this, read these stories as children but have grown up challenging and questioning things? If you are parents of little girls, loving princesses and sparkling things does not mean they will grow up as simpering man-dependent airheads. Mine haven't.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 20:23:56

If as a mother you end up with a wannabe WAG, I really don't think you could say it was because your DD was read Cinderella in school when she was 4.

Floggingmolly Tue 20-Nov-12 20:36:52

It's a fairy tale written in the 1600's.
It's not about the role of women in society. Get over yourself, you're being ridiculous.

PeppermintPanda Tue 20-Nov-12 20:39:40

I agree with you OP. I'd be inclined to send her in this and a tutu.

I would be disappointed with the school. The party theme is Unimaginative and limiting.

Arcticwaffle Tue 20-Nov-12 21:02:11

I would be annoyed. I might even complain to the school. But actually, my little girls would probably want to go as rats or pumpkins and I wouldn't mind that.

GhostShip Tue 20-Nov-12 21:25:30


I've actually heard it all now.

Stop trying to psychobabble something that doesn't need to be that complicated. A little girl pretending to be a princess isn't going to do her or anyone else any harm. It isn't instilling any sort of belief. What exactly do you think it's going to do to her?
Kids like to roleplay. One day I'd pretend to be Cinderella, the next I'd be playing Evita (I loved the musical) Kids do that sort of thing, and whether it's because of social learning (nurture) or something deeper than that (nature), if your little girl wants to dress up as a princess there is no harm in it. Just how there'd be no harm if she decided to dress up as a cowboy, or an astronaut. Let her decide.

Everlong Tue 20-Nov-12 21:27:21

What ghost said.

Woozley Tue 20-Nov-12 21:28:44

I am a feminist but absolutely loved Cinderella as a young child and would have practically weed myself with excitement at such a party.

Dancergirl Tue 20-Nov-12 21:36:24

Yes to what Ghost said.

OP, she's your first child is she...? grin

Arcticwaffle Tue 20-Nov-12 21:40:54

you don't need to be pfb to mind princess disney crap. I think I'll still be getting het up over gender stereotypes even if I have 20 dc. I was challenging them aged 6 at infant school, and pre-children, and now with several children it still makes me want to vomit if I see a disney princess film.

dementedma Tue 20-Nov-12 21:51:37

You were challenging gender stereotypes when you were 6? And they accuse Disney of brainwashing! Or did you work it all out by your very own self?

I feel sorry for tHe boys in the class actually - by reception mind had long grown out of fairy tales after doing them at nursery and at home with me when younger. They would have thought dressing up as a character from a fairy tale very babyish!

I think there are far more interesting stories that could have been chosen for reception children and sounds like the teacher has picked the easy option for the theme of "traditional tales" or something. She/he probably thinks that half the class are covered for their outfit as most girls that age will have a princess dress at home, but what about the boys!

Bloody stupid story, anyway. You're telling me that Cinderella had such peculiar shaped feet that she was the only woman in the land who could fit those shoes on? I can forgive the pumpkin carriage cos magic is magic and all that but have never accepted the whole "shoe fits only Cinderella" thing. Wierd, freaky-footed creature. grin

You should read, Witches Abroad by my namesake CurlyhairedAssassin. An old witch says (something like), "8 1/2 wide, that's my size". Unless by accident they pick the right house to go to first... It is all abotu stories and fairy tales. Terry Pratchett writes well about those things, and has good female and male 'heroes'.

MushroomSoup Tue 20-Nov-12 21:56:56

kerala it wasn't an argument, just a statement. And please credit me with some sense: cigarettes actually DO kill from time to time but I've never heard of anyone living a life of down-trodden misery simply because they liked Cinderella!

LessMissAbs Tue 20-Nov-12 21:58:36

YANBU. Its the most unamibtious sexist "fairytale" out there. It sends almost no useful message to children. You will get called all sorts of things for pointing this out, but this is the reason sexism is perpetuated.

Tpratchett, I have read that book and really enjoyed it, although I read it in my youth and don't remember details.

Just remembered my 2 did Three Little Pigs & The gingerbread man for their traditional tales project in Reception. The teacher was very imaginative - for the 3 little pigs one ds made bricks out of paper and built a little wall, and had science lessons about different materials and their properties etc etc. they acted it out with puppets they'd made I think, too. Other ds did the Gingerbread Man and did cookery lessons involving measurimg ingredients (number skills/fine motor skills), art lessons on the story etc etc. I was really impressed when I saw all the photos of how the stories had been explored and applied to different learning outcomes.

ReadingnCinderella and having a princess dress up day sounds like the easy way out so hopefully it will be a bit more involved than just prancing around in their frilly dresses/shirts.

Fwiw, ds2 is in Yr 2 and had a pirate themed day last term. Hardly good role models either!!!!

CrapBag Tue 20-Nov-12 22:11:30

Oh for god sake. Get a grip.

Its a story, a fairytale not a fecking biography.

TP, was it Granny Weatherwax or Nanny Ogg who said that line? Sounds like an Ogg quote!

Excellent Little Pigs science. I must try that with DD. It was Nanny Ogg who tries to get married to the Prince. Sadly, she fails.

I think I will go on Mastermind with MrTP as my specialist subject. Nerd.

Ha ha! You've made me want to pick up a TP book again, not read one for years! Since the first few were published in fact. He's a very witty man! I met him at a talk he gave once in a bookshop (think it was when Witches Abroad came out actually) - interesting fella......

Sorry for thread hijack, OP, although strictly speaking, I didn't start it. grin

IsabelleRinging Tue 20-Nov-12 22:25:04

I would be more worried about any 4 year old who has not had the oportunity to enjoy fairytales for what they are.

My work here is done <wanders off to find another thread which is even vaguely Terry Pratchett related>. I wish I had met him. Except for meeting him at the wedding, obviously, I'm not lying about being MrsTerryPratchett.

Thread hijack over...

Completely what ghost said. Unclench yourself OP. In ten years time your DD won't even remember all this never mind be some hapless wench chained up in the kitchen waiting on a man to rescue her to a life of handbag chihuahuas and pink fluffy frou frous. Just let her be a child for heaven's sake.

No one is saying that Cinderella is the cause of gender inequality/girls aspiring to be princesses/saved by men, but it* is a factor.

And for those still saying, "well it didn't affect me". That's wonderful for you, have a star, have a pat on the back, it does affect other women. And easy as it may be to just dismiss them because it doesn't affect you, it's lazy thinking.

I'm amazed that people can't see all the ways in which the Disney Princess story is played and replayed in a variety of mediums and formats, and the fact that it is accepted as so damn normal by so many women. I mean look at some of the popular books/films/TV aimed at women, would you say 50 Shades is about a strong woman? Or about a woman being "saved" by her "prince", who has, incidentally, rejected a few "ugly sisters" due to not being like the "princess" - who is a ditzy/helpless type of girl. Never noticed the huge amounts of grown women lusting after Christian Grey? Wishing they could be swept off their feet by him?

Nope, not insidious at all. hmm

*By "it", I mean all Disney Princess/damsel in distress type stories for girls.

jamdonut Tue 20-Nov-12 22:38:47

I don't know if this has been mentioned earlier in the thread..I haven't read it all...but when we did Cinderella with the children, we read several different versions. I don't think any of them had Cinderella "saved" by the Prince. In all of them she was a selfless,kind girl who worked hard,and was treated abysmally by her step-mother and step-sisters.
Cinderella is usually used as an introduction to writing character profiles.
In year 3/4 we expanded on that with tales from othe cultures,which were like the Cinderella story,making comparisons and finding similarities and differences to the stories. It was actually very interesting,using Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Africa) and The Rough Faced Girl (Native American Indian).

I am quite sure the school is not trying to make little girls into the princess from Enchanted!! wink

The thing about material subconsciously affecting your behaviour is that it is subconscious. You wouldn't consciously know that it had. My decision to stay with my twunt of a husband for 8 years when i should never have married him... Do I know if all the societal pressure on women to be in a relationship, to be a perfect wife affected me? Not fully.

Cinderella won't fuck them up. The whole weight of stories and media and peer pressure and pink aisles and victim blaming and porn and boys will be boys and all that crap and Barbie saying that Maths is hard and fluffy, pink, pretty pony parties might. A bit. And maybe not for the better.

"Cinderella won't fuck them up. The whole weight of stories and media and peer pressure and pink aisles and victim blaming and porn and boys will be boys and all that crap and Barbie saying that Maths is hard and fluffy, pink, pretty pony parties might. A bit. And maybe not for the better."


Just because there are bigger things, and so many of them, should we really not tackle the smaller things? Seeing as those smaller things often pave the way for the bigger things.

Merrycuckingfistmas Tue 20-Nov-12 22:49:32

Go and have a shave and a shag, you will feel much better in the morning.

The dishes can wait wink

gybegirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:04:23

Let her play dress up - although i can't help thinking Cindarella is a wholly unimaginative book for her teacher to have picked and would keep an eye on their future suggestions.

As a slight antidote to the saccarine dullness, get Revolting Rhymes on audio cd by Roald Dahl. It gives a great take on the old fairy stories - Cindarella gives the psychotic prince he heave go and marries a jam maker instead (although I do tend to talk loudly over the slut reference with my 4 and 6 yo girls!). There's also Little Red Riding Hood, Golilocks (the thief) and Snow White.

The fact that you care about this indicates that you'll naturally guide her into an equal way of thinking!

Dancergirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:07:38

Oh FFS, why does everything have to have a 'message' or provide a role model? What happened to just a bit of fun?

AND, what exactly is wrong with wanting to get married and live happily ever after? It doesn't mean you can't be a successful independent woman TOO. It's not either or. Most women want to get married or be in a committed relationship.

OP, your dd is still little and at the moment you have some control over her life. But you'll find that that control lessens as she gets older and she will be influenced by all sorts of things. And you won't be able to monitor what she reads either.

Dancergirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:10:14

Oh, and I have NO problem in my 3 dds reading fairy tales, dressing up, watching Disney films and wearing pink if that's what they want to do. It bears NO relationship to the women they'll become.

SavoyCabbage Tue 20-Nov-12 23:11:35

My dd went to a princess party as a tiger.

I know where you are coming from. Cinderella is an odd topic and Disney Cinderella is worse. There are so much more interesting things in the world. We went to look at a school and they had a mural of rappunzzel in the cloakroom and my dd said 'who is that?' so the head told her and dd said It does't look like her. She's not black' as we have this book.

ExitPursuedByMarieAntoinette Tue 20-Nov-12 23:21:42

I despair.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 23:40:59

The OP doesn't even know if the Cinderella read in class was the Disney version. The teacher simply used an image on the invitation (and probably thought it was a nice touch to do the invitations in the first place).

In defense of Disney, their latest princesses (Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida) have been very strong female leads. So maybe blaming Disney for everything is a bit iffy. Cinderella was made in 1950 after all.

If anything, I think that Disney were encouraged to create a brand from their previous princess films by the popularity of Princess Diana worldwide in the 80s.

meboo Tue 20-Nov-12 23:49:52

Children will be influenced by many other things in life than a fairytale, I want to scream 'take a chill pill and have a G&T'

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 00:12:38

Well Cinderella certainly influenced me in a good way.
But I'm off to bed now, Charming is calling me
<Removes glass slippers, pink frilly dress and tiara>
Hope someone's got rid of that bloody pea under the mattress as well, it's been keeping me awake.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 21-Nov-12 01:25:04

<<bangs head on keyboard>> <<repeatedly>>

Step Wed 21-Nov-12 08:37:10

Oh FFS.....

I object to Disneyfication of Aschenputel and some of the Grimms' beautiful fairytales, most of which have a moral dimension. However Janosch has a great book where they're all reversed eg the frog kisses the princess and she comes to live with him in his underwater kingdom but that's a different thread.
The original version of Aschenputel (though maybe not of the tale) has a daughter swearing to her father she'll be good and kind and trust in God. Despite her hard times she remained true and kind after his death. For which she was rewarded... Seems a resonable moral to me. Remain true to your promises and a moral upstanding person and you'll reap the rewards.
The Disney fairy Godmother etc is all a Holywood afterthought.
Oh and it's a bloody fairytale.

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 09:01:23

So may be we should start censoring all books that don't show women as equal.
How about that one with the 5 daughters all looking for a husband, while the men are are all in positions of power.
That'll be Pride and Prejudice won't it?
And Tess of the D'urbervilles, well wasn't she just a victim, lets ban that too, eh?
Our daughters shouldn't be reading any of that patriarchal crap, should they?

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