Recently it came to my attention that mobile princess pamper parties for young girls are a thing these days. I had a gander at the website of one of these businesses because I was really disgusted and more than a little morbidly curious. The packages (which range from $200 – $600 for six “princesses” for 1.5-2.5 hours) offer pink fluffy robes, skincare tips and tricks, makeup, foot spas and magazines. MAGAZINES. If you read this blog regularly, you’ve already heard what I have to say about magazines and why they are an integral part of female oppression, self-esteem issues and bullying marketing tactics. Also, who spends that kind of money on a child’s birthday party? What is this I don’t even. What happened to fairy bread, Fanta and a trip to the movies or the pool? I’m so out of touch.
I understand that parents all think that their daughters are lovely little special princesses….. But parents, you need to keep that shit to yourselves. Little girls who are told that they are beautiful little princesses whilst being pampered and given makeovers, grow up to have a really warped view of women and their places in society, and really poor self-worth focused on appearance. Spa treatments, makeup, magazines, photoshoots and catwalks are adult concepts and should never be introduced to young girls – they have plenty of time to hate themselves and feel like they aren’t good enough later on in life, if that’s what you have planned for them. Although these businesses claim that the parties will make young girls feel like a million dollars, what happens in a few days after the makeup has come off and they aren’t being given pink lemonade in their fluffy pink robes? What about in a few months? A few years? Building a girl up to feel special simply because she is surrounded in pink and wearing makeup (one of these party packages actually refers to the word “makeover”) is not how to make your girl feel special. A makeover implies that there was something wrong with her beforehand, and now she will always think back to the time she felt most beautiful – armed with a buttload of makeup and people surrounding her telling her how fab she is (because they are making exhorbitant amounts of money for doing so).
Later on in life, she treads the path of insecurity, feeling that she isn’t as good as the girls in the magazines, and thinking that only with a perfect hairstyle and flawless skin will she be worth anything to anyone. Eating disorders (of varied severities) and feelings of jealousy toward other women will feed her thoughts as she is now consumed by the new iron maiden – the socially constructed cast that holds women to insecurities, wasting their energy on their looks instead of their potential. The patriarchal system loves this because it is a way to effectively contain women under their own self-imposed glass ceiling. Pay gaps exist because women are taught from a young age not to question or ask what they are worth, whereas men have never been taught that they must quietly accept what is given to them, and will readily negotiate pay rates fiercely. Parents, please understand this: By placing your daughter into the role of the pampered princess early on in life and foisting upon her all of the things that are impressed upon women in society, you are setting her up to create her own glass ceiling, like many before her. You are teaching her that she is nothing but the number on her clothes tags, or the clarity of her skin or the sheen of her hair. You are subconsciously encouraging her to engage in the game of social female oppression as it exists today.
I’m sure that many people reading this are thinking “it’s just a birthday party, calm down”, but the truth is that when it comes to children there is no such thing as “just a birthday party”, “just a bedtime story” or “just a Disney film”. These things are all fundamental in shaping our mentalities from a young age. They all have underlying themes and attitudes which we pick up on in small ways, thus carrying them with us into our adulthood. I don’t know about many of you but I know for damn sure that many things that were said to me in my youth, or subtle messages I received from various stimuli, certainly stuck with me. Just for fun, picture a princess – right now. Got one in your mind?? I bet you didn’t picture a princess with a short haircut, or a princess with uneven skin tone, or even a princess that was any other colour than white. I bet she didn’t have a thick waist or flat chest or any other body apart from a slim hourglass shape. I bet she looked something like this.
This is what you are imploring your daughters to look like by calling them a princess. This is you subtly telling them that as they grow up, they must try to conform to this ideal, and furthermore you are perpetuating this even further by throwing her a $600 pampered princess party. Children pick up on (and subtly understand) so much more than adults give them credit for.
I know that I seem hardly qualified to comment as I don’t have children, and I’m not trying to give parents marching orders on how to raise theirs – all I want to do is point out some of the things that may not be as obvious to others as to myself. I want all of your daughters to grow up knowing that whichever personal style they choose for themselves is the right one, and furthermore that it is COMPLETELY irrelevant in relation to their feelings of self-worth, for these should in no way be connected. Don’t let them struggle through the same self-esteem bullshit you went through when Cosmo was “The Bible” and we didn’t know any better. Help your daughters smash those glass ceilings and know that they are already da bomb “as is, where is” – it all starts here. Don’t turn your little princess into a little doormat.
Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo