Balance the Scale!
Little girls aren’t born liking pink puffy dresses and crowns, at some point, these ideas are being taught to them. The big question is, by who?
Media, marketers, and big industries have pushed certain ideals of beauty and behavior that sometimes go against good values and self-worth, reinforcing gender stereotypes. Girls are being overexposed to princesses and underexposed to real role models, they are being underrepresented. The same goes for boys.
Don't get us wrong, little ones have the right to dream of being part of a fairytale, but isn't it time we balance the scale?
We need to level the playing field for girls and here are four reasons why:
Montana State University has found that on most films, princesses spend 29% of their time interacting with animals, 24% on singing, and 13% dancing. The rest is spent on cooking, cleaning or serving and grooming themselves. This is nice and all, but where are the hard-working professional princesses? The sporty ones?
Another research has shown that in most princess movies, male characters speak more than women, which raises additional questions about the example these characters set for girls’ determination, self-assurance and confidence.
Researchers at Brigham Young University found that 96 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys had been exposed to Disney princess media in one form or another. Those young girls identified with feminine gender stereotypes and often felt as though they couldn't do certain tasks and activities that most classify as being exclusive for boys.
The United States Department of Labor reports that women only make up less than 1 in 3 chief executives, and just over 1 in 6 software developers. This is interesting data, and more so if we take in account that according to a nationwide survey of children between the ages of one and 10, 41% of girls, want to go into science, technology, engineering and math careers. What's happening? Maybe we as a society aren't supporting them enough! If only they would take after real royalty, like Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand. The first has a BA degree, an MA in Oriental epigraphy and archaeology, and a Ph.D. in developmental education. The second, not only studies fashion designing but is an avid sailor and badminton player. And like them, there are dozens more!
Children shouldn't stop enjoying these tales, toys, and movies, but we need to teach them what is right and wrong to make sure stereotypes don't impact them negatively while they are growing up.
We want kids to believe they can be anything they want. Girls need to be exposed to more female police officers, firefighters, athletes and professionals, not just tiaras and magic wands!