Monday, June 25, 2012

Little princesses

When I was a little girl, I loved dressing up in fancy dresses and sequined dress-up gowns.  My kids love the same thing.  I don't know what it is--you can stock the dress-up box with as many fire helmets, animal masks and cowgirl hats as you want, and girls will inevitably go for the shiny princess gowns and tiaras.
Yesterday, I was looking over a children's book about modesty.  Inside was a poem about a princess who wore dazzling gowns and heavy jeweled tiaras.  One day, the gardener's daughter asked the girl, "Why are you wearing all those heavy, impractical clothes?  Why not wear overalls and a straw hat like mine?  The princess explained that her gowns, jewels and tiaras showed the whole world her special status as the daughter of the King.  (Of course, the reference is obvious--as Jewish girls, we are the daughters of Hashem, King of the Universe, and our tzniusdik clothing reflects that status.  I certainly prefer that explanation to "You're going to distract a bochur from his learning with your exposed elbows!"  Anyone thinks that way about my kids--or me, they should be locked up.)
Of course, we're not the only ones who feel this way.
I get tired of all the black clothing for children.  So, I've been scouting around for modest dress patterns for my girls.  There is a company called--surprise!--The King's Daughters*, that specializes in modest clothing for fundie X-tians!  (Apparently we're not the only ones who use that imagery.)  Of course, their patterns would need a LOT of modification--I don't think ankle-length, puffy-sleeved prairie dresses, pinafores, and sunbonnets would go over to well in very urban Boro Park.
But why the need to be princesses?  Why do we need this regal imagery to sell the idea of modest dress?  After all, we don't call kashrut "The Royal Diet."  Why do girls need to feel like princesses?  And, if we are princesses, why aren't we invested with the royal purple?  What's with all the black?
Somehow, I don't think we'll ever know.
*I'm not advocating the use of this company; the link is merely there for demonstrative purposes.


  1. You might like this post that touches on the same metaphor:

  2. I don't get dressing little girls in black either- if for no other reason than that it won't be an exciting rebellion in high school if they're used to it already.

    As for the princess thing, I heard one theory that it had to do with a need to identify with one's gender, at a point when your external appearance doesn't really identify you very well.

  3. I never got into the princess/purses and heels thing. I think because I was in an otherwise all boys class room from 1st to 6th grade and I heard the guys with their wise cracks against women that they were socialized to from fathers and older brothers. I ended up with a negative outlook towards all things girly.


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