Wednesday, March 14, 2012

bippity boppity boo

I know there’s been a lot of talk about how the next generation of girls are so Princess–obsessed, that there has been a lot of worry about how the media is influencing the self image of our generation of little girls.  Books and articles try to show how Disney has created spoiled little princesses (and yes, I don’t particularly like how tween Disney stars model a certain kind of disrespect to their TV parents, male or female).  And how Cinderella and Snow White enforce the helpless image of Princesses in distress needing a Prince to save the day.

Having both a son and a daughter, I can see how the media targets them very specifically.  And no other place appears to “define” gender more than Disney.  Pretty glittery princess gowns and sparkly castles for the girls. And fighting warriors to protect your nation as a jedi or pirate for the boys.

However, our little girl still loves Cinderella, so before her lunch (a coveted, 6 month reservation for seating at the Cinderella's Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom Castle)  we hesitantly booked the equally popular Bippity Boppity Boutique for a princess makeover for TheG (yes, this also must be pre-booked 6 months in advance). While she was being made over to look like Cinderella, TheB was made over to look like a knight.

I really was reluctant and almost cancelled this makeover, as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to reinforce the notion that being a princess would make you happy.  And as parents, leading up to Disney, we ensured that both children had similar exposures and experiences to the real world around us, and reminded them that Disney was just a fantasy world.

Well, we went forward with the makeover plans as I was told that this is apparently a once in a lifetime opportunity, so after dressing our daughter up in her princess costume, then being treated to having her nails painted, makeup applied (which was ghastly and was removed afterwards) and having her hair done in her choosing (with limited choices), the chair was finally spun around to surprise our daughter with her transformation in the mirror.  

She almost started to cry.

She said she "wanted to look normal".  She was okay with the dress, liked the nail polish (it was pale) and the lip gloss.  Although she enjoyed the attention (and thought it was neat that they paid just as much attention to her brother as with her) the end of the day, she felt the most beautiful when she was being herself. Not some tarted-up, whispery voiced "image" of what beautiful is.

She understood the notion that we were together in a make-believe place, where princesses aren’t real (and she would often ask why all the princesses spoke "so funny", like Mickey Mouse).  She understood that while you're visiting this magical theme park, you can temporarily be transported into a story, like in the movies.  But just like the fairy tale, there is an end. 

So after having lunch in the Castle (she wanted remain in her dress and crown "costume" when she greeted Cinderella), she quickly took off the makeup, let her hair down, and picked up her wand...

...and bippity boppity boo, TheG was back to normal, and was the real, fun loving, strong girl again, in a real world, understanding the difference between reality…and fantasy.

And we couldn't be more proud of her choices.

Cheddar Breakfast Potatoes
(adapted from "Cooking with Mickey and the Chefs of Walt Disney World" cookbook)

Not for the faint of heart or for those watching their waistlines.  It was on the menu at the Cinderella castle and was something that would appeal to everyone...OTHER than dainty princesses. 

  • 4 cups shredded potatoes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp. parmesan
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

  • Place shredded potatoes in mixing bowl.
  • Add shredded cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
  • Mix until evenly mixed.
  • Place in greased baking dish and bake for 350degrees for 35 minutes
  • Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes. or until cheese is melted and started to brown.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Enjoy with gusto!

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