Does anyone else find a pink princess TV alarmingly disturbing? Presumably every little princess needs to stay connected to the World Outside via her own cable- and DVD-ready color television…but why must that TV be pink and purple, topped with a crown-like curlicue? Are TVs so manly and intimidating that little girls have to be gently coaxed into using them? Would a girl’s gender identity be irrevocably harmed if she were to watch a neutral-colored or (heaven forbid) blue television that didn’t perpetually reinforce the notion that Pink is for Princesses?
Although I’m far from being a Raging Feminist, I’ve never understood the segregation of boys’ and girls’ toys. As a child, I duly played with Barbie dolls…but I also loved playing with Matchbox cars. Barbies were fun because you could dress them, and toy cars were fun because you could drive them. What interested me about any given toy was its potential to be either moved or manipulated. On those rare occasions when I now find myself in a fast food restaurant, I’m often bemused by the gender-specific toys that are sometimes offered with children’s meals: inevitably the primly poseable girlie dolls look boring next to boyish dump trucks and rocket-ships with their bells, whistles, and other moveable parts.
Given the choice between a girls-only princess TV and a non-gender specific Mickey Mouse TV, why would parents choose the former over the latter? If we want our daughters to grow up as their brothers’ equals, why would we reinforce at an early age the notion that a girl can’t watch TV with the big boys? Are we so insecure about our daughters’ intelligence that we think they require products that have been dumbed-down to stereotypically girlish expectations? Spending hours in front of a TV is already mind-numbing enough; need we heighten the intellectual impact by suggesting that pink-obsessed princesses spend their time plugged in while waiting for their princes to come?