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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Elsa hair-tie

Enough of Elsa

Did I say I liked Frozen? I did, didn’t I?

Well, I’ve had enough. Especially, of Elsa.

Libby’s pre-school is holding a dress-up party in a couple of weeks.

I’m one of those mums who loves making costumes (yes, feel free to roll your eyes here). So, naturally, I was quite excited when I saw the notice on the pre-school gate.

‘What will we you be, Libby?’ I asked. ‘An octopus, a wild thing from Where the Wild Things Are, an astronaut, oh, oh, I know – THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!!!’

Libby (real name Liberty – hence the awesomeness of my costume suggestion) rolled her eyes.

‘I’m going to be Elsa,’ she said.

I was deflated. On most days, at pre-school drop-off, at least one kid is already dressed in an Elsa costume.

On most days, at pre-school pick-up, Libby has a tiara ‘like Elsa’s’ painted on her forehead.

As for why they all prefer Elsa over her sister Anna, I’d like to say it’s because of her powers or superiority in the monarchy, but the real answer is: she has a fancier dress.

‘But everyone will be dressed as Elsa, Lib,’ I moaned.

‘Yep, and I will be too,’ she said.

This is one of the reasons I’m anti-princess. The insidious marketing that comes with pretty princesses drives me bonkers. It eliminates choice, diversity, individualism and, some say, imagination.

The same could be argued for superheroes and boys, but as Rebecca Hains says in her book The Princess Problem: ‘Girls have been playing princesses for generations. But there is something wrong when that is the main type of girlhood marketed to girls. Princesses should be one of a vast range of options for little girls. Compared with the choices boys have, preschool girls’ play choices have become exceedingly limited.’

I’m the first to admit I’m part of the problem.

I’ve given in to buying not one, but four cheap Frozen dolls over this past year to bribe reward Lib for various deeds (spare me from a parenting lecture there).

I wouldn’t have been able to justify paying the premium price for the ridgy didge Disney merch on such whims, but I’ve handed over a few bucks for knock-offs at ‘pop-up’ shops around the traps.

I even bought Lib a cap with Elsa and Anna on the brim, her Gran bought her the Frozen DVD, and her dad came home with the CD the other day.

By my standards, that’s A WHOLE LOT OF CRAPTASTIC FROZEN STUFF for one household.

I’m done with it. Let’s move on to the next obsession.

‘Oh, what a shame you don’t own an Elsa costume,’ I said. ‘We’ll have to think of something else.’

Libby frowned.

‘I know where to get one,’ she said.

‘Oh, really, where?’ I asked.

‘K-marts,’ she said.

I know K-mart doesn’t have an ‘s’ on the end but that’s how Libby says it – apparently.

Until that point, I was unaware that Libby even knew what K-mart, or K-marts, was.

I’ve got 16 days to try to convince my daughter that there are better costumes out there than Elsa. That we could create something rather than rely on K-marts.

Reckon I’m going to succeed?

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

 

 

 

4 responses to “Enough of Elsa”

  1. Nicole says:

    The problem is not so much the fact that Elsa (or any other popular princess at the time) is the choice of many, it’s the simple fact that they want to belong to a part of a group. This need is not exclusive to girls either.
    My daughter (Ava, 8yrs) recently decided that she wanted to dress as something other than Elsa for the book week parade, but her chosen book character (the gorgeous Ruby Red by Kate Knapp) was little known, so Ava felt left out. She had even carried the books in a basket.
    Of course, I am proud of her individualism, but it is such a tricky thing to navigate. Keeping her self confidence up when she is excluded from the main group is not only a challenge, but an emotional roller coaster!

    • Samantha says:

      That’s interesting Nicole. I don’t think the sense of belonging to a group was the issue for my daughter (she’s only four and blissfully without an urge to ‘fit in’ just yet), but I can see how that would become a desire as she grows older. She ended up quite happy to dress as a box troll – her choice – which was a pretty funny alternative.
      I wrote a post last year about how the girls I always admired at school were the ‘unique’ ones who were also often the most ‘popular.’
      I hope your daughter comes across my books when they’re finally on the shelves (Feb, 2015). If there’s a message to be taken from them, I’d like to think it’s that it’s much more fun to be true to yourself than to fit the moulds other people make for you. 🙂

  2. So my daughter is 6 and not quite in to Frozen as much as those younger than her but she’s also never really been much of a doll girl- she does love princesses but not obsessed! My daughter when to Book Week as Cotton Tail for Peter Rabbit and she got a prize for having one of the oldest characters! All the best with making a unique costume!

  3. Angela says:

    Not sure what my 2 are gonna go as, but am looking forward to seeing Libby’s now…! 🙂

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