This Mom Tweaked a Disney Princess Book for an Empowering Femininity Twist
Another inspiring mother’s story has gone viral for teaching young women about femininity. Danielle Lindemann, mother to a girl who is nearly 3 years old, taught her daughter to defy ever-looming gender roles and to be anything she wants with some edits to her What Is A Princess? book.
Because, “Why wouldn’t Cinderella have sparkly shoes and be a neurosurgeon?” Lindemann told the Huffington Post that most “princess stuff” in the world doesn’t leave many options for femininity, and she wants her daughter to understand that she can be kind, pretty, love to dance and wear sparkly tutus yet speak her own mind and be a doctor or senator if she chooses. Her young daughter obviously doesn’t quite understand this message yet, but she hopes her daughter gets the meaning. “Just the other day she was rocking her Belle dress from Beauty and the Beast while checking Elmo’s heart with a toy stethoscope,” she wrote to Your Daily Dish. “She thought his heart was in his neck, but hey: baby steps!” Lindemann believes as a parent to show girls and boys that their worth goes beyond their physical appearance. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with girls (or boys!) wanting to put on something sparkly and feel pretty. I have some pretty dresses myself. But when the dominant idea is that girls ― and women ― are judged mainly on their physical appearance in a way that boys and men are not, I think it’s important to model some other values for these girls as well,” she told the Huffington Post. Her story, which went viral after she posted on Sociological Images, received positive feedback, but of course, some criticism too. “If there were a multiplicity of children’s books out there in which little girls were shown playing with trucks and trains and learning to be engineers and surgeons, and if there were books out there in which boys were shown getting a kick out of dressing up in fabulous clothes…well, it would be a different world,” Lindemann explained to the Huffington Post. “But it’s not that world.” There was no motive behind the edits beyond teaching her daughter a valuable lesson and just being “silly and having fun.” The mother, an assistant professor of sociology at Lehigh University, told Your Daily Dish she hasn’t shared this story with her students but tends to use pop culture in her teaching which often leads to meaningful dialogue about the perpetuation of stereotypical gender roles. “It’s not that I want my students to think exactly the way I do about things (How boring would the world be then?) but to be able to consume media critically and arrive at their own conclusions,” she wrote to Your Daily Dish. We hope Lindemann’s daughter criticizes the media when she is older and becomes that awesome neurosurgeon in a sparkly tutu and glass slippers – if she so chooses, of course!
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