Photo Credit: Jan Thijs
We know the hazards of little girls being obsessed with princesses -- they only want to wear dresses, they stop doing anything non-princessy and sit around all day waiting for their princes to save them...But what about older girls?
They might have hung up their dresses and put away the tiaras, but some girls continue to wait (albeit secretly) for Prince Charming into their tween and teen (and even adult) years. What's worse? They are developing body issues because they are worried about what the prince expects to see when he gets there. Experts are saying that the feminine mystique is being replaced by something more sexual. "Girls no longer feel that there is anything they must not do or cannot do because they're female, but they hold increasingly strong beliefs that if you are going to attempt these other things, you need to look and be sexually hot." says Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair of the Council on Contemporary Families.
The two current retellings of the fairytale Snow White are good examples of this theory. In case you forgot, Snow White is the one about a Queen who is willing to murder a helpless teenager for the sole purpose of being the prettiest. Well, in 2012, Snow White isn't so helpless anymore. Mirror Mirror, a film that got poor reviews yet earned $19 million its opening weekend, stars one of Maxim’s “Hottest Daughters of Rock Stars,” Lily Collins, as a princess who must save her prince. In the more twisted Snow White and the Huntsmen, which comes out on June 1, “It” Girl Kristen Stewart is even more tough and dons armor in a Game of Thrones-like mission to retake the crown. Both new princesses are steps in the right direction. But we are still many steps before we can call the princesses “harmless,” especially when teen and ‘tween “princesses” are going "sexy" younger and younger -- hello, 15 year old Miley Cyrus posing topless for Vanity Fair.
The Associated Press reported that a quarter of 14-to-17-year-olds had either sent naked pictures of themselves or received naked pictures. A Girl Scout study found that 23% of girls age 11-17 don’t play sports because they think their bodies don’t look good doing it. Meanwhile Abercrombie and Fitch offered a padded bikini top and thong underwear tagged with the phrases "eye candy" and "wink wink" for girls age 7-14.
Documentarian Darryl Roberts, currently working on a film about the sexualization of children wonders, “When did we as adults stop protecting our youth and started exploiting them?”
I'm not sure when. But we need to start taking our concerns to the CEOs of the media outlets, stores and advertising firms that are selling sex to girls younger and younger.
My friend’s daughter dressed up like Godzilla with a pink wand and tiara. When the movie “Princess Godzilla” comes out we’ll know we’re really getting somewhere!