Sound Off: Why are we still glorifying princesses?

I thought we’d moved on from Snow White and unicorns and all things pink. I thought we were trying to empower children

“Why unicorns? Their symbolism is innocence; only good girls can find them.” Photograph: iStock

“Why unicorns? Their symbolism is innocence; only good girls can find them.” Photograph: iStock

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The first time I heard a young girl talk about a unicorn I thought she was being wonderfully original. Today, I was in the girls’ clothes section of a local chain store and witnessed an onslaught of unicorns, princesses and a wide swathe of pink products.

When did this happen? I don’t have daughters or nieces so I haven’t been paying attention to the Disneyfication of girls. I’ve never even seen Frozen. Walk through the boys’ clothes section and they feature dinosaurs (at least they existed) and superheroes. There are some female superheroes but they are stuck in the midst of the males and they do not feature anywhere in the girls’ products.

What are we telling the next generation of women? Mermaid Barbie is advertised with the slogan “You Can Be Anything”. No, I’m sorry, you can’t be a mermaid no matter how hard you dream. Ask a classroom of girls what they want to be when they grow up and most will say, “famous” and just famous, with no idea of how they are going to achieve that goal. Kardashian famous.

Why are we still glorifying princesses? I thought we had moved on from Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel. I thought we were progressing and trying to empower children.

And why unicorns? Their symbolism is innocence; only good girls can find them. Or even unicorns with rainbows? Do they know we need rain for rainbows?

Denise Blake’s collection of poetry, Invocation, has been published by Revival Press

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with Sound Off in the subject line

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