cover image The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years

The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years

Rebecca C. Hains. Sourcebooks, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9403-7

Children’s media expert Hains (Growing Up with Girl Power) investigated a dominant cultural force in little girls’ lives through an unusual method: moonlighting as a costumed birthday party princess. She learned that parents are aware of the potential problems, like unrealistic body image and lowered self-esteem, associated with the princess obsession; they just don’t know what to do about it. “Princess culture” is more than a phase when girls aged 2–10 enjoy pretty pink tutus, movies, and toys—it is an unavoidable, gender-segregated media and marketing phenomenon fueled primarily by Disney’s Princess Collection line of branded items, which has thus far generated $4 billion in sales. Hains’s dissection of princess marketing reveals inherent gender stereotypes, centered on romance, beauty, passivity (at least until Frozen), and ethnic homogeneity, with non-Caucasians accorded only token representation. To beat the “Pretty Princess Mandate,” Hains prescribes “Pop Culture Coaching.” In four step-by-step chapters, she offers parents advice on how to decide which values are important to them, talk to their kids about the media, and set a “healthy media diet.” The princess culture issue was previously addressed in 2011 in Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter, but Hains adds to the discussion with these practical parenting tips. [em]Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept.) [/em]