My goal in writing this series was to delve into the intersections of feminism, parenting and pop culture, and I did my best to tackle as many topics as possible in my eight weeks here. (Although of course, I'm still left staring at a laundry list of things I wanted to write about...isn't that always the case?)
"There is still pressure to do everything, do everything well, and look hot while doing it. And I think that 'and look hot while doing it' part, that's the new piece. It used to be that having it all did not include looking hot... But now it does and it includes it at a really young age. And while princesses may not be hot, per se...although one could argue—in fact I have a lot of mothers telling me that there are a lot of girls who won't stop pulling their shirts off their shoulders because princesses don't cover their shoulders—it's the first step on that road of wanting to look in somebody else's mirror to have yourself reflected, instead of looking inside yourself."
It's hard to overlook all of the negative aspects that pop up along the princess path, and I knew that I would be very particular regarding exposure and access to princesses if I had a girl. Never in a million years did it cross my mind that I would be trying to navigate the same murky waters, only with my son.
As Disney continues to sell their princesses (and make no mistake, they're selling a brand, not just characters), they continue to show us that people will eat up these negative messages as long as they're packaged in an appealing way—in this case, in pinks and purples and lots of sparkle. It's amazing how far they will actually push it.
Fighting for social justice doesn't need to stop when you give birth. In fact, in my opinion, we should fight even harder if we have to raise a kid or two in this world. Also, by continuing our activism postpartum, we'll set kick-ass examples for our children. It's win-win all around.
Whether in the form of advertisements, cartoons, books, food, or toys, pop culture is out there and is feeding a host of tropes and stereotypes that can heavily impact a developing mind. This series will take a look at where pop culture, parenting and feminism meet, as we explore the affects (whether outright & obvious or much more subtle) of media & marketing on children, and their families. I'll also take a look at how pop culture promotes certain stereotypes of families, especially in so-called "reality" shows.
You've likely encountered the work of writer and editor Ada Calhoun—whether it's her editorial work on Babble.com, of which she was founding editor, her pieces for Time and New York magazines, or her blog conversation 90s Woman—where, among many other admirable feminist pursuits, she and author Kara Jesella try to pinpoint the "most 90s woman" song of 2010.
Now Calhoun has published her first book, Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids, which chronicles her life as a new mother and outlines her parenting philosophy. Consider her the feminist lit voice for a back-to-basics approach to mamahood in the era of "helicopter parenting," the obsessive Gen X and Y response to the laissez-faire style of their parents. It may just be the only parenting book blurbed by Kathleen Hanna.
Page Turner recently interviewed Calhoun about her take on parenting culture, the gender spectrum in raising a boy, her "get out of hell" mantra for crisis moments, and how playground life circa 2010 really can evoke Heathers-era teen flicks.