Sandy Rios, a Fox News contributor, talked at length this morning about parents sending the wrong message to their daughters by buying them T-shirts saying “princess,” “beautiful,” or “pretty.”
Bad, bad, bad she said. We should be addressing their character. We should buy them shirts saying “Dogs are wonderful,” etc. Apparently these evil T-shirts (and there are only a few million different ones available any day of the week) demean little girls and cause them to develop all sorts of warped ideas about their place in the world. Seriously. She thinks the “wrong” T-shirt on a little girl will permanently warp her character.
The discussion started because of the recent uproar over JC Penney’s “I’m too pretty to do homework…” shirt. Rios seemed oblivious to the idea that this particular shirt was probably intended to be humorous and that most little girls probably are prettier than their brothers. Not to mention that to most parents, all children are beautiful, particularly their own. And while I would agree it’s not particularly funny, I hardly think this shirt is going to damage the girls who wear it. My only objection to the shirt is its dismissive attitude about doing one’s homework.
(JC Penney, a huge national retailer, pulled the shirt from its website after receiving a whopping 1,600 protests from an irate feminist organization with help from seo companies. Give me a break. It’s things like this that give feminists a bad name. Why aren’t these dedicated feminists out fighting to protect Roe v Wade against this year’s onslaught of anti-abortion laws? Or trying to get more women registered to vote? Or lobbying for equal pay?)
Rios, however, wasn’t focused on the “homework” shirt. She was going off on the danger of any T-shirts referring to girls as princesses or pretty. I’ll bet almost every little girl in the country has some item of clothing, probably bought by an adoring parent or grandparent, that calls her a princess to celebrate her femininity, to celebrate her as the beautiful, unique little girl she is. My granddaughter has a lot of shirts noting that she’s a girl, she’s special, and she’s smart. My favorite: “Self-rescuing princess.”
I could be wrong, of course, but I’ll bet she grows up to be a normal, well-balanced, self-sufficient woman despite all the horrible, demeaning princess shirts she wears.