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Dad struggles to shield daughters from princess industry

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Playing princess is a popular pastime for young girls, but some parents worry that it's not the best game for their daughters. (iStock)

Andy Hinds, daddy blogger and self-described "stay-at-home" father of twin girls, has battled hard to protect his three-year-old daughters from what he calls the "Princess Industrial Complex."

He started off determined: weeding princess logos out of hand-me-downs, avoiding the topic in front of his girls, and referring to Disney's hyper-popular princesses as "little ladies" when his daughters first spotted them.

"The princess trope represented passivity, entitlement, materialism, and submissiveness," explained Hinds in a reflection for The Atlantic.

"Regardless of the more recent generations of empowered princesses in Disney movies, the overall princess trope promotes traditional notions of femininity and an unhealthy focus on physical beauty."

Still, despite his best efforts, Hinds admits that his girls have developed a "princess problem" - complete with poofy gowns and sparkly slippers.

"Sometime after my daughters' third birthday, I gave up," confesses Hinds, who said his wife was not as fiercely anti-princess as he was, started to feel like little more than an ineffective "crank."

Just a phase?

His girls now have a flood of princess-branded items, from dolls and costumes to potties and underwear.

Although he was assured by other parents that it's "just a phase," Hinds admits he started to worry when he found out his daughters were teaching other girls about "Disney's royal lineage."

Enter an antidote from Sesame Street starring Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor during which she explains that pretending to be a princess can be fun - but it's not a career.

By video's end, a very impressed Abby Cadabby ends up ditching her colourful dress for a judge's gown.

"My girls love the video, and demand that I show it to them on my phone several times per day," said Hinds, who has been trying to stem the tide by introducing more toys and books unrelated to princesses into the twins' lives.

He was recently disheartened by one daughter's cheery declaration that she still wants to be a princess, and doesn't want a real career.

Do you have young girls who love princesses in your life? If so, do you enjoy or indulge their interest, or do you try to discourage or subvert it?

Do you think it's possible for parents to shield their daughters from princesses, if they so choose?


(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on reader replies.)

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