I must say, I’d love to spend an afternoon at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, preferably with my fourteen-year-old son. But I can’t imagine recommending it as a cure for low self-esteem, as the Disney Insider does in today’s article, “Huge Self Esteem Boost for Girls.”
Over the past year she is, of course, obsessed with the idea that she is a real Princess. However, she also is happier, more self assured, and no longer intimidated by her big brother. Many thanks, Fairy Godmothers!!!!
I tend to think that self-esteem is over-rated, in and of itself. I’m a lot more concerned about whether girls stay involved in math and science, whether they learn how to negotiate salaries, what skills they develop for mutual partnerships in their romantic lives. And while self-esteem may be correlated with these skills, nobody’s proved causality. (Harvard Medical School also questions certain assumptions about the importance of self-esteem, so it’s not just me.)
But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that self-esteem is intrinsically valuable. I’m still not sold on the idea that princess makeovers are the answer, especially given that most of the Disney princesses don’t display the sort of agency I’d like girls to know they can have. (I can make an exception here for Mulan and Tiana though . . . and arguably Belle too. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Brave.)
Shall I suggest an alternative? Check your local listings for a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association team. (It’s not your grandmother’s roller derby — while there’s certainly still plenty of bling and cleavage, nobody’s throwing any chairs.) I’ve seen a few girls’ eyes light up at the sight of strong, tough, sexy women engaging in this fast-paced, high contact sport. Kiss those body image issues good-bye; women of many shapes and sizes are celebrated; strength, speed, and strategy are all more important than perfect hourglass figures. And stop waiting for that prince to come. . . if he’s worthwhile, you’ll meet him on your travels, not while you’re sitting around wishing.