We're (not so) slowly creating a new social contract where oversharing has become de rigueur. Blame it on the popularity of reality TV or the easy access the Internet provides—either way, we're currently at a place where a video of a mom intentionally terrifying her young son while he belts out Britney Spears has over 10 million hits on YouTube.
I understand that reality television has to have some sort of "hook" to get you, the viewer, interested enough to stick around. For the most part, that's usually drama. Even when shows are about parenting, it's not the day-to-day rhythm that gets airtime, but rather the sensational, unbelievable, and usually questionable parenting decisions that take center stage.
"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.
Let's use Disney as an example (since they're one of the biggest offenders when it comes to branding). Sure, you might expect familiar Disney faces to pop up in places like mylar balloons in the florist department, on band-aids, shampoo, toothpaste, and tooth brushes in the health aisle, or on paper goods like plates, napkins, and cups. But would you expect those sneaky princesses to pop up in the produce section?
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.
Welcome to the twenty-first century. Are either of these films accurate or comprehensive portrayals of their time? Not even remotely. But they reflect cultural attitudes surrounding women, motherhood, and work, and the putrefied trope of Heigl's character didn't exist in 1987. Heigl and Keaton's characters are analogous as white-controlling-educated-women-who-have-careers-plus-family, and the evolution of this character is telling. Where Baby Boom gave hope, Life as We Know It brings despair.
Halloween is a time to bust out that creativity, play into the fantasy, and eat a ton of candy. It's not a time to push adult sexuality or hyped up ideas of ideal bodies onto young kids. I'd rather by scared on Halloween by ghosts and goblins than by thoughts of little kids running amok in overly sexualized costumes.