Seeking advice and resources on parenting young daughters
April 29, 2010 12:31 PM   Subscribe

It's a girl! Enter massive anxiety over how to navigate gender in my parenting.

My husband and I just found out that our (first) little belly monkey is a girl. Yay!

Onto the problem: however ridiculous this may be, I am full of worry over how to parent a daughter. This kind of worry does not occur to my husband (lucky him - and he'll be the world's best dad). But as for me, I can't stop thinking about all the insidious little ways society and even we, her most well-wishing parents, are going to start programming gendered expectations into her, beginning immediately: with the decor of the nursery, the colour of her sleepers, the tones in which we speak to her, the words we use...

How can I be an appropriately 'feminist' mother? What do I need to know? What do I do about Barbie and Disney princesses? Will her attraction to 'girly' things be natural or socially constructed? Scanning the bookstore shelves, I see numerous books on raising boys, but none on raising girls. Help!

Please supply your thoughts, reading suggestions and other useful resources.
posted by kitcat to Society & Culture (31 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Why do you need to be a "feminist" mother? If your daughter likes Barbie and Disney princesses, are you going to actively discourage her from her natural interest?

Raise your daughter to be her own person. She's not a generic human being.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:36 PM on April 29, 2010 [11 favorites]

You might want to read this previous question which addressed a very similar concern about raising a daughter in this day and age.
posted by HeyAllie at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm the mother of an almost 30 year old daughter, and I've been calling myself a feminist since about 1966.

Your attitude matters more than external things. And I've read studies that said that girls just naturally reach for girly toys and boys naturally reach for boyish toys. I wouldn't stress about it too much. Just teach her not to take crap from anyone, male or female, and she'll be all right.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:42 PM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

Disney princesses are not all evil. My favorite was always Jasmine, and Mulan is a decent example as well. You can encourage her love of the princesses and provide her a sandbox and a toy bulldozer, for instance. Or a jump rope and a soccer ball, or a playhouse and both boy and girl dress-up clothes.

Green and yellow are great tones for a nursery (you won't have to repaint for baby number 2 either!). When she's a tiny newborn I would suggest a few things with pink on them so people know she's a girl, if that sort of thing matters to you. Once she's past the age where it's nearly impossible to tell, you can buy her dresses and pants, red and pink and blue and green and sparkly and camo and anything that catches your eye.

You will want to decide how you are going to handle all your kids' tears. For instance, if you had a little boy who bumped his head and started crying, would you hold him and tell him it's okay in soft tones till he felt better? If so, do that with your girl. If not, well, do something else.

I think you will find that if you are really invested in raising your child in a forward-thinking manner (go you!) you will figure out how to do it well just on instinct.

posted by Night_owl at 12:42 PM on April 29, 2010

Some ire got up in it, but this thread may be of some use to you. (I understand you are not disappointed in the baby being a girl, but I think some of the thoughts there could be useful to you.)

For the umpteenth time I will recommend My Mother Wears Combat Boots. There's an entire chapter on gender roles that was pretty well done.

This Metafilter post may also be of interest. Why can't a girl be a princesspirateninjavetinariannurseprofessordoctorballerinalawyer?
posted by zizzle at 12:42 PM on April 29, 2010

If you, your husband, your mother or your friends are likely to talk about weight, body image or food choices obsessively, now would be a good time to start learning how to politely say, "we don't talk about our bodies/weight/food like that anymore."
posted by Sophie1 at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]

Our daugher is almost 3. At first, we stayed away from "girly" to the point where my husband was buying clothes for her in the boys' section! I put aside all of the overly-frilly outfits I received. Eventually, though, she wanted to wear what the other girls were wearing, and I have to admit, it's a lot cuter than the baseball outfits she wore as a baby.

So far, she's not into princesses, even though some of her contemporaries are. For us, Disney is fine, but not the shows that are about getting married. We avoid that. Toys - we got her tools, doctor's kit, and other unisex things. She is most definitely not into dolls right now, but that may change.

I think that the expectations that steer her toward girly things are going to come more from the outside than from us. She started identifying as a girl just less than a year ago, and only recently started playing mostly with girls, not boys. I'm starting to think that there is going to be a certain degree of her just naturally leaning toward the traditional feminine. I've been observing her class, with mostly the same group of kids, since she was a baby, and that's really opened my eyes. The kids all play with the same toys, from balls to dolls to cookware to blocks to puzzles. The teachers don't steer them in a gendered direction. But those things are starting to come out anyway. I was/am kind of surprised.

I'm looking forward to seeing what people with older daughters have to say, because your question is important to me, too. In my mind, spending time doing daddy things with her dad (watching sports? ha) is going to be important, instead of making her do mommy things with me automatically. So is seeing me mow the lawn while her dad bakes cookies.

posted by Knowyournuts at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Love her to pieces and be awed by her potential. Nourish her passions and admire her skills. Teach her to be kind and compassionate and generous and brave. Show her that all people are people no matter what they look like on the outside. Same way you raise a strong, kind, feminist son.

Yeah, there's some specific stuff out there that girls have to deal with. But children become confident in their own power and abilities through their parents' love of them and belief in them, and confident children neither need to pointlessly conform to nor pointlessly rebel against society's expectations of them. As long as you raise her to know that you love her, and she is AWESOME, she will think it's totally strange that it bothers anyone that she wants to buy pink rainboots to go play football in the mud. She'll know people are wrong when they tell her ONLY boys do X or girls MUST do Y, and since she'll know she has YOUR love and approval, she won't care that much about what random strangers have to say about her choices.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

We didn't know we were having a girl. So the bedroom was light yellow, light blue, and white. There are gender-neutral layette pieces - yellows and whites and greens - and you can buy those if you like. Once people know you're having a girl, the pink will arrive. Let them spend their money on it, and buy what you and your daughter like.

When preschool came around, we looked for a program with a very egalitarian, anti-bias approach, with a number of male teachers. This wasn't just to be feminist, but because we wanted that example of men as caregivers for our kids. This has been wildly successful with both of our kids.

As for books, I've not found a ton relating specifically to girls in infancy. I like It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters for a general take on all the different ways we raise girls. There are a lot of other books out there about older girls, from Reviving Ophelia to Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters.

But really, for the first few years, it is more "what do I do with this baby?" than "what do I do with this daughter?" Love your child, follow her lead to find out what interests her, and don't make anything off-limits. Set a good example.

The biggest thing I've deliberately changed since having a daughter is my self-talk, both out loud and internally. I don't know about you, but I've had body issues galore since forever, and I knew I did NOT want to pass that on to my daughter (or my son, but I had a girl first and this is a bigger issue with girls in general). And the fact that I'm fat doesn't help, not because I think I'm setting a bad example, but because a lot of society thinks I am, just because of my body.

So I no longer say anything negative about my body out loud - and I try to not say it in my own mind, either. I try my best to talk about bodies and what they can do, or why it's important to be kind to our bodies by giving them good food and exercise, to enjoy being strong, and to be interested in, but not critical of, how bodies are different. It's a struggle, especially as she gets older and hears other kids talking about being fat (six year olds talking about how fat they are makes me want to cry and cry, but that's another different story), but I think it has been worthwhile. That's what I mean by a good example.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

They come out of the chute with a set of predilections already, as far as I can see. Just be open to the moment.

Also, in general, girls are a breeze as toddlers and tots and you think you are home free until teen-hood hits, and then your smugness, expressed or not, with other parents of hell-raising little boys will be repaid tenfold.
posted by Danf at 12:56 PM on April 29, 2010

I think I've seen a lot of questions like this, and while I don't have kids, I did have a mother. There are a whole host of things I wish she'd taught me to do, and while she often tried to tell me what her views on how to think and live life were, they seemed really far from how she herself acted.

I would actually just suggest you be yourself, have excellent self-esteem, and do what comes naturally. If you use a book or something and it's not authentically you, your kid will pick up on how you don't practice what you preach, and she won't think you have much credibility later on.

I think MexicanYenta has got it. Be proud of yourself, be happy, be confident, be stable and sturdy, and don't pretend to be someone you aren't. I would have given anything to see my mother have strong self-esteem, but she was always trying to get me to be different than she was and seemed to take every opportunity to cut herself down or speak badly of her life choices.

I know the discouraging your daughter from being overly worried about food/weight is in style right now, but I think that you should realize how much she's going to learn from her friends, tv, and how much that's going to influence her. I never worried about food and eating, etc., and then I came to this country and gained some weight during college, and then learned to exercise during college. My littlest cousin, however, spouts things she sees on tv all time about food and exercise. Her parents never talk about that stuff.

So, what I'm saying is, relax. Just be yourself and don't overthink.
posted by anniecat at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can be a feminist and still like the color pink or want to be a princess. Princesses can kick major butt too. (But it's okay to hate Disney. Heaven knows I do.)

I agree with those who say let her be herself. I'm the parent of two girls, (I have a boy too) who are less than a year apart. They were raised the same. They are grown now. One is incredibly girly, loves makeup, is a fashonista, etc. The other is a tomboy, collects swords including that Klingon thing, and is pretty much I-am-woman-hear-me-roar. Both girls are strongwilled, strong, good people. The tomboy likes to wear a dress once in awhile and still has her Disney princess poster. (!)

It's a lot more nature and a lot less nurture than people tell you, this raising of offspring.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Will her attraction to 'girly' things be natural or socially constructed?

This is an oddly academic question to be asking in the context of having a new baby. If you want to know my opinion, I think there's a major biological element (see Robert Wright's The Moral Animal) and a cultural element to gender roles. So what? If it's biological, does that make it any better or worse than if it's cultural? I don't see how.

I'm not a parent so you should take my advice with a grain of salt, but my plan if I have a boy or a girl is to raise them with basically gender-neutral values and not try to fit them into a gender mold. There will still be lots of biological and cultural forces shaping the kid's gender identity -- you'd hardly want to ban movies, TV, and novels, which are almost inevitably steeped in gender norms. I agree that this is a concern, but the best you can do is try to foster her independence and individuality (just as you would if you had a son) and hope for the best.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2010

My four-year-old daughter wears butterfly wings and plays rugby. Many girls will still choose the way of the Pink, but give them balance by providing opportunities to explore things that are typically male. As she gets older, she will look to you (and her Dad) as models. In our house, Dad cooks and I mow lawns, do basic car maintenance, and our son and daughter help us both: they both cook dinner under supervision, and both paint the fence, fix broken toys, wash the car. Jobs aren't broken into roles. That will give your daughter a good foundation for understanding how her world might work.

Be aware yourself of the way girls are described compared to boys. I find it hard not to tell my daughter she's beautiful in that outfit when she's so pleased that she's chosen her own clothes, but then I can word that in a more neutral way and tell my son the same thing when it's applicable.

Really though, at some point she'll make friends with other girls who will strongly influence her choices. When my daughter got to about 3, she discovered Barbie and Disney Princesses, and we support her to an extent. However you can talk to her about what you think of them and limit her exposure. My daughter has 4 Barbies now, but has never seen a Barbie movie and we don't buy her extra accessories. So the time she spends playing with them is minimal compared to her time running around outside, playing on the swing or drawing pictures. Sometimes if you fight it too hard, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.
posted by tracicle at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2010

I am a 20-year-old feminist woman raised by feminist parents.

I certainly played with Barbie dolls, watched Disney princess movies, and played dress up as a little child.

I don't remember talking about feminism or my role as a woman with my parents until I was already a little older, but my parents always encouraged me to what I thought was right, speak up for myself, make good choices, push myself to do things that were hard for me, and demand respect and give it to others. All children, male and female, should learn these things. As far as I'm concerned, if children are raised to give respect and expect it in return, they will all be feminists.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2010

I kind of don't think that your desire to raise a child instilled with the values of feminism should change whether that child is a girl or a boy. Model good behavior, teach your child that all people should be treated equally, and be a source of support throughout their upbringing. My daughter is almost 2 now and I'm still working out how to be a good role model for her but really your actions and words will make so much more of an impact than any Disney character.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think my biggest advantage growing up was having a great "feminist" role model as a mother. She was one of the first female navigators in her Air National Guard unit -- yep, my mom wore combat boots -- and worked part time/evenings/weekends so she was home with us doing fun mom stuff a lot of the time. Her favorite story is when I and her female colleague's daughter went to their Guard base for the first time around age 5, and the daughter and I were dying laughing over the MEN in FLIGHT SUITS AND COMBAT BOOTS who looked RIDICULOUS, because weren't those GIRLS' clothes?

Just un-self-conciously being an example of a strong, cool woman will do wonders for her perception of femininity. I had dolls, I had pink clothes, I was even a Disney princess for Halloween once -- but thanks to Mom, I never questioned if I *could* do something men usually do, or if I *could* have a career, or if I *could* do all these things society normally says I couldn't. You just have to be the kind of woman you want your daughter to be.

Good luck with your little girl -- I know you'll do great!
posted by olinerd at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's the feminist way to deal with princess & Disney shit: Learn to take anything you're uncomfortable with as an opportunity for an open-ended conversation with your daughter so she has opportunities to understand, explore and incorporate other points of view into her own, and then make up her own mind, even if it's counter to your desires.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:17 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

My four-year-old daughter wears butterfly wings and plays rugby.

Our house, too--our daughter wears tutus that get covered in mud as she runs around outside, tiaras while she plays Lego's, etc. She has a little girly play kitchen and a soccer ball and she's really into climbing and running around outdoors.

The best thing you can do for a daughter is to let her know that who she is isn't constrained on all sides by her sex, and giving her free rein to express who she is and not allowing anyone else to constrain her. To me, that's the whole point of feminism.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:20 PM on April 29, 2010

Pick up a copy of "Pink Brain, Blue Brain" - it's a fascinating read and will really allow you to get a handle on how children develop especially in regards to gender issues. There is also great advice about ways you can help your daughter be the best person she can be in the face of the pretty heavy gender pressure in our society.
posted by amanda at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2010

As a father to two girls, now young teenagers, I want them to be independent thinkers, who are not swayed by what they "should" do, how they "should" dress, and how they "should" think. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do as a parent. As they get older, their influences will become wider. And, as they get older, they will not believe you ever were their age. It's all part of the grand plan to actually build independence. So, the early years will be important. She will first look to you and your husband, observing how you relate to each other, how you talk to each other, etc. So that's when you build your important and initial influence as a role model.

So this brings up an important aspect of parenthood. We don't need to be perfect parents. So don't be too hard on yourself. Provide an example for her but know your direct influence will wane as they get older.

posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2010

My mom reeeeally wanted to be a granola mom. This was the late '70s/early '80s, and after six years of marriage and interminable beanplating over gender roles, all that (I was an overalls kid from the start) she had me. Among the other crunchy things she did (like the nuclear freeze walk, which I thought referred to how cold it was that day, because JEEZ IT REALLY WAS), she helped out at the local food co-op, which back then was very crunchy indeed.

So I was about three months old, and she carried me around in a little straw basket with handles. She had plopped me on a shelf while she labeled cheese or whatever, and suddenly I let out this giant, sustained, Exorcist-meets-vomit noise.

She just couldn't help herself. "Why, [Madamina!]That is SO unladylike!"
posted by Madamina at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. do everything you can to make your child self-reliant. You can start this at a really early age: as soon as she can crawl, don't hand her the toy, expect her to go get it herself. When she's older, teach her the skills to do everything a person can reasonably do for herself.

I'm male, and I'm pretty disgusted at how many everyday, mechanical things I don't know how to do. If I had a kid, male or female, I would learn how to do those things so that I could teach my child. (Why am I searching the web to find out how to fold a fitted sheet? Why can't I change a flat tire?)

2. unconditional love, no judgment, be on her side.

One of the things this means -- and this is where SO many parents fail -- is to stop teaching lessons and start really being supportive. This means that if your kid doesn't want to go to school, you don't give her a lecture about how ignorant she'll be if she doesn't go to school. Instead, you empathize with her. "Yeah, I didn't want to go to school when I was a kid, either! It sucks to be forced to do things you don't want to do!" That doesn't mean you let her do whatever she wants. You do, of course, have to help her face real-world expectations and consequences. But you can do that AND acknowledge that her feelings are valid.

The main message I got as a kid, often from well-meaning adults, is "you will read this book and you will enjoy it!"

3. consistency, consistency, consistency.

And if you must be inconsistent, admit that you're being so and that it sucks.

4. feed her mind. Art books should be lying around the house. You should be playing Shostakovitch symphonies and Elvis songs. Naturally, you should be reading to her every day. (And, PLEASE, don't read her "lessons" or "improving stories." She'll get plenty of that elsewhere. Read her things that will excite her imagination.)

5. model empathy.

6. play.

The color of her room is a non-issue. Really. It may be an issue for you, but she isn't going to care about it. Pink isn't symbolic for her. Paint the room some color, because it has to be SOME color. If pink makes you uncomfortable, paint it green or whatever. Then, when you later ask her what color she wants the room to be (assuming you give her that choice), accept her decision without judgment.

Finally, you may "do everything right" and, yet, your daughter may choose to become a housewife. If so, she'll be doing what feminists are supposed to do: making her own choice.
posted by grumblebee at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have two boys and a girl. There are all sorts of things the boys do (running around shooting each other with play guns, for instance) that I fretted about in the abstract before I had kids. But when they're your kids, they're your kids, and they're no longer some abstract "oh no boys who play rough games" or "oh no girl who loves princess stuff" but they're this whole human being whose goodness and smartness and interestingness you can really see. Whole human beings who happen to play rough games or love princess stuff. With some things, looking at them through my kids' eyes has helped me see the value of them.
posted by not that girl at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would say the most important thing is to not make her feel bad or guilty for liking the things she likes, whether they're "girl things" or "boy things." I was a huge tomboy and there were a lot of guilt trips and fights and disappointing birthdays. I think as long as you stay away from that, and you address anything problematic with whatever she turns out to like (e.g., talking about how real people don't actually look like Barbie, but having the conversation in a matter-of-fact way so that she doesn't feel like you disapprove of something she loves), it'll all work out fine.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2010

I have boy-girl toddler twins, and I think about this issue a lot. In my opinion, the most important thing is to not limit their possibilities. For example, my mom sent us two plastic plates - one with a "Cars" (the movie) theme, one with Disney princesses. Both kids like both plates, so we take turns with them. Yesterday at the store we overheard a woman yelling at her young daughter in the children's plasticware section - the girl wanted a "Cars" sippy cup, and the mom said, "No! You can't have that! It's not for girls." Ugh. But I don't go to the other extreme, either. Both of my kids play with dolls, cars, trucks, blocks, and animals. They're not quite old enough for a lot of the really gender-specific toys, but I'm not going to freak out if they gravitate toward certain stereotypical things. (On preview, Blue Jello Elf is right on the money about how to deal with things you may find problematic.)
posted by candyland at 3:04 PM on April 29, 2010

Response by poster: All answers fantastic. And thank you to those who linked to the "Gender Disappointment" and 'sucks to be a girl' threads. I was feeling both things those posters were, as much as I don't want to admit it.

I feel huge relief and excitement about raising a girl after reading your answers. I was thinking of her as this helpless thing that would be the sum total of parental and societal exposures. What nonsense! She'll be her own person and I'll be there to help her with that.
posted by kitcat at 5:25 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Father of a 15-year-old daughter here (and a 12-year-old son). I echo the folks who say the kids will basically be who they are, your job is to love them and to make sure they see a variety of possiblities for living as a girl/woman. Our daughter is a bit tomboyish -- has only worn a skirt or dress in public once in last 7 years, except for goofing around trying one on in a dressing room with a friend on a shopping trip. Totally accepting of other girls who are girly, though. (Small funny story: When Zoe was little and in day care, when Mom would come to pick her up wearing her work clothes (dresses or skirted suits), Zoe would tell her, "Mom, I want you to change your clothes before you come pick me up!)
posted by jhiggy at 6:36 PM on April 29, 2010

I prayed for a boy my whole pregnancy. I was terrified of girls and girly trappings and societal pressures and self esteem and all that and of course ended up with a girl.

9 years later I have a smart, sensitive, bakugan loving, tennis playing, skirt and combat boots wearing, blue hair dying, basketball fan and lego architect who has a ton of boy friends (not boyfriends), doesn't "get" hannah montana or makeup, and is now beginning to be ostracized by her girlier peers. This will probably get worse before it gets better. I am so proud of her that she has made her own way and become her own person, but there is heartbreak in that too.

Welcome to parenthood. <3
posted by lilnublet at 6:50 PM on April 29, 2010

You know, I think the "pink" thing is a red(dish) herring. Obviously the association of that color with girlhood is arbitrary and entirely socially constructed. But one thing I do notice in my daughter is an overwhelming interest in nurturing -- she'll take her older brother's plastic animals and toy trains and decide which is the "baby" and which is the "mommy" and then act out the nurturing roles. What's interesting is that by her age (21 months), her brother already had a real live baby, which he daily saw me nursing and bathing and caring for, yet he was not at all fixated on nurturing as a concept.

And you know what? I would never dream of discouraging those impulses in her. Love is love, empathy is empathy, caring is caring and if she's drawn to those beautiful impulses, all the better. I just can't imagine defining impulses like those as "too girly" and trying to discourage them.

I guess my point is that, if you define femininity in a certain, especially arbitrary and shallow way -- pink and princesses -- you'll be more anxious about this than if you think about "typical" femininity as also meaning loving, caring, empathy, nurturing. Practicing those virtues takes a lot of bravery and strength, as you'll find yourself very soon.
posted by palliser at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2010

This is something that I've really struggled with. My daughter is seven now, old enough that my control of the situation hasn't been absolute in quite a long time. I was lucky enough that I was able to work from home for her first few years--she didn't enter daycare until she was three, and then it was only part time. (I was a single parent until she was five.)

One of the things that I think was really helpful and that I now find myself wishing I'd done more of was to talk about *other* ways to be. If she got a skinny, blonde Barbie for her birthday, we'd talk about how she doesn't know anyone who looks like Barbie, but she knows a lot of people who look different. Sometimes we'd draw pictures (or look at photos) and point out where Barbie and the people she knew were alike or different--mommy has a fat belly where Barbie has a skinny one, but we both have green eyes; Aunt Rowey has large breasts compared to this doll, but they both have little waists; Yasmina looks a lot like Barbie, but has brown skin; this doll looks like Grandpa T.L., but grandpa's in a wheelchair. I think it did a lot to normalize different bodies and types of people, and also let her understand that dolls (and movies) often don't reflect the real world. We had the same discussions about gender presentation, different kinds of families, all kinds of things.

I'd also suggest taking a good look at any movies that she wants to watch. Maura wasn't allowed to watch any Disney or Barbie movies until she was about five, and even then it was more because she was at daycare all day and I couldn't very well announce that no one will be watching Disney while my kid's around, thanks much. I wish that I'd examined this stance earlier. It turns out that many of the Barbie movies aren't all that bad--insipid and boring, sure, but not offensive or, surprisingly, necessarily anti-feminist.

Barbie and the Diamond Castle is boring as hell and includes things like finding baskets of "adorable puppies", but at the end of the movie, Barbie and friend have saved the day (and the girl who was trapped in a mirror,) and the princes (who are clearly interested in Barbie & friend) and muses say that Barbie & friend should stay at the castle and live happily ever after. Barbie & friend, however, decide that they don't want to live with the rock-guitar-playing princes and the fancy-dress-wearing muses, and they want to go back to the cottage in the woods that they lived in at the start of the movie--effectively choosing their friendship with each other over the princes. Barbie and the Three Musketeers is sort of similar--Barbie saves the day (and the prince's hide), the prince is clearly interested in her and asks if she wants to go out with him, and she says maybe some other time, because right now she's got important musketeering to do. I can assure you that I never in a million years thought that I'd be defending Barbie movies, but there you go.

Disney princess stuff, on the other hand...well, let's just say that I wish that I'd held out longer than I did. If you go down that road, be prepared for a lot of discussions about how marrying someone you just met isn't necessarily going to make you happy, and that thinking that someone else is just soooo pretty is a crappy basis for a relationship. I'm still fighting that particular battle.
posted by MeghanC at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2010

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