Disney likes to think of the Princesses as role models, but what a sorry bunch of wusses they are. Typically, they spend much of their time in captivity or a coma, waking up only when a Prince comes along and kisses them. The most striking exception is Mulan, who dresses as a boy to fight in the army, but–like the other Princess of color, Pocahontas–she lacks full Princess status and does not warrant a line of tiaras and gowns. Otherwise the Princesses have no ambitions and no marketable skills, although both Snow White and Cinderella are good at housecleaning.

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Having only recently ventured into the world of girls via having a daughter, dealing with positive role models for young girls isn’t something that has come up yet! On the one hand, I don’t have a problem with pretend play that involves being a damsel in distress, a prissy princess, etc., but I certainly don’t think it’s healthy for girls to only aspire to such things. What do you think about allowing daughters to play with a character toy whose sole purpose is to catch a prince and live happily ever after? I tend to think, “No way!” But I always wanted to be Harriet the Spy, so . . .

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