Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect

October 03, 2011

In a cover story, the Christian Science Monitor examines how increasing sexualization of young girls in the media causes some parents to re-examine the the toddlers-and-tiaras Disney princess craze and whether little girls become little women too soon. Wheelock Prof. Diane Levin, author of "So Sexy So Soon," is among the experts quoted.

The article begins:

In today's highly sexualized environment—where 5-year-olds wear padded bras—some see the toddlers-and-tiaras Disney princess craze leading to the pre-teen pursuit of "hot" looks. Do little girls become little women too soon?

A few years ago, Mary Finucane started noticing changes in the way her 3-year-old daughter played. The toddler had stopped running and jumping, and insisted on wearing only dresses. She sat on the front step quietly—waiting, she said, for her prince. She seemed less imaginative, less spunky, less interested in the world.

Ms. Finucane believes the shift began when Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva) discovered the Disney Princesses, that omnipresent, pastel packaged franchise of slender-waisted fairy-tale heroines. When Finucane mentioned her suspicions to other parents, they mostly shrugged.

Read the full article.

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