Raising daughters while battling princess culture

Disney Princess Tiana
In this handout image provided by Disney Parks, Disney's Princess Tiana gives a kiss to Yolanda King, granddaughter of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., May 30, 2012 at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Handout/Getty Images

Andy Hinds and his wife are the parents of typical, twin 3-year-old girls. And these days "typical" means princess-loving. Hinds recently penned an article for The Atlantic about how princess-related books, clothes and toys infiltrated their home.

From his piece in The Atlantic:

During the first two years of parenthood, I was able to maintain the princess blockade in our home with very few breaches. Although my wife and I never talked about princesses in front of the kids, they heard the word constantly, because it's the default term of affection total strangers use when addressing them. Because the word had no associations for the girls, however, it probably meant no more to them than "cutie pie."

Inevitably, though, Disney Princess items started appearing in the playroom. One day when the girls were primping with purple combs emblazoned with images of Cinderella, Belle, and Rapunzel--trifles from birthday party gift bags--they asked me what the glamorous figures were called.

"Um..." I sputtered, unable to think of a good euphemism for the dreaded P-word, "...little ladies."

The stay-at-home dad is learning how to navigate the bejeweled waters of princess land, and he (mostly) has it under control. Hinds will join The Daily Circuit Thursday, Feb. 21 to talk about his journey as a dad of daughters.

Hugo Schwyzer, professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College, will also join the discussion. He tends to let his daughter embrace the royal heroines.

Schwyzer and his wife run "a princes-friendly household" and even hired an actor to play Princess Aurora at their daughter's fourth birthday last month. The couple subscribes to the theory that a little princess won't hurt too much, and denial might lead to an all-out toddler backlash.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRINCESS BATTLE:

Is "princess culture" bad for girls? (Daily Circuit blog)

Is a Disney-free daughter really a more empowered one? (Jezebel)

Disney-style princesses show staying power (Chicago Tribune)

What's wrong with Cinderella? (New York Times)

Why do girls love horses, unicorns and dolphins? (NPR)

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.