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Unformatted text preview: fter all, though why this was news is bey ond me: any one who ev er play ed with the doll
knows there’s nothing more satisfy ing than hacking off all her hair and holding her underwater
in the bathtub. Princesses can ev en be a boon to ex asperated parents: in our house, for instance, roy alty nev er whines and uses the potty ev ery single time.
“Play ing princess is not the issue,” argues Ly n Mikel Brown, an author, with Sharon Lamb, of
“Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers’ Schemes.” “T he issue is
25 ,000 Princess products,” say s Brown, a professor of education and human dev elopment at
Colby College. “When one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice: it’s a mandate,
cannibalizing all other forms of play . T here’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but
if y ou look around, y ou’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing.”
I t’s hard to imagine that girls’ options could truly be shrinking when they dominate the honor
roll and outnumber boy s in college. T hen again, hav e y ou taken a stroll through a children’s
store lately ? A y ear ago, when we shopped for “big girl” bedding at Pottery Barn Kids, we found
the “girls” side awash in flowers, hearts and hula dancers; not a soccer play er or sailboat in
sight. Across the no- fly zone, the “boy s” territory was all about sports, trains, planes and
automobiles. Meanwhile, Baby GAP’s boy s’ onesies were emblazoned with “Big Man on
Campus” and the girls’ with “Social Butterfly ”; guess whose matching shoes were decorated on
the soles with hearts and whose sported a “No. 1 ” logo? And at T oy s “R” Us, aisles of pink baby
dolls, kitchens, shopping carts and princesses unfurl a safe distance from the “Star Wars”
figures, GeoT rax and tool chests. T he relentless resegregation of childhood appears to hav e
sneaked up without any further discussion about sex roles, about what it now means to be a boy
or to be a girl. Or may be it has happened in lieu of such discussion because it’s easi...
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- Spring '12