He tried to keep Cinderella and Rapunzel away from his daughters, but the girls found them anyway.
There's no room in my family's life for any more princesses. Despite seeming to have no princess saturation point, my three-year-old twin girls don't need any more space in their imaginations taken up by poofy gowns, sparkly slippers, dainty manners, and gilded palaces. Though I tried to protect the twins from the Princess Industrial Complex, I'm afraid that they—that we—have developed a princess problem.
Four years ago, the news that my wife and I were going to have twin girls coincided with the moment of my most fervent dedication to the notion that gender is, for the most part, socially constructed. Many academic types abandoned this attitude long ago, and regular people tend to as well, especially after being around a child of one gender or another for any length of time; but I clung to it. And sure enough, after spending most of my waking hours during the last three years with my little girls and their friends of both sexes, I had to admit that I can see some basic differences you can usually count on between even the youngest boys and girls. The degree to which those differences are innate or socially nurtured is up for debate, but there's little doubt that popular culture and the marketplace go to great lengths to emphasize and capitalize on them.
Before the twins were born, friends and family inundated us with hand-me-down "girl clothes." We had a mountain of plastic bins that took up half of the future nursery, and most of the clothing inside them was pink and frilly. I figured that it didn't really matter what the girls wore when they were babies, but that, once the flow of free clothing dried up, which should coincide with the emergence of their sartorial self-awareness, we would start buying them clothes in gender-neutral colors. When sorting the loot by size and season, however, I made sure to put anything with princess logos or imagery into the giveaway pile. The princess trope represented passivity, entitlement, materialism, and submissiveness, and no daughter of mine would wear a onesie that celebrated such loathsome values.