Lance is currently obsessed with the Disney Princesses. He only recently watched Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Aladdin. At first he was into the villains, but I think he honestly likes the princesses.
His little girl friend (and according to her, future wife) A. has been princess-crazy for the last couple of years, and he's always happily played along, but now he knows all the names and stories.
At his school bookfair tonight he only had eyes for the princess books. We bought "Polite as a Princess," which talks all about good manners. I'm not complaining - we could use some better manners around here. But the last lines say "Princesses are polite young ladies. Don't you want to be just like a Princess?" I almost barfed.
I've already had trouble with the "met and fell in love while dancing but didn't know her name" line, or why the Prince loves her (because she's beautiful). Lance asks 10,000 questions about any new movies or story, so we're getting our fill of Beast questions, Jafar, and wicked stepmother. And I have plenty of objections to the beautiful faces, perfect bodies, and overmarketed evil empire of the Princesses.
But part of me just sighs with relief, because for the most part, the Princesses are so much less VIOLENT than his Darth Vader/Batman/Spiderman/Incredibles play. And when he plays with his friends-who-are-girls, he is happy to play with the microscopic shoes and changeable hair of the little Princess figures.
I've read plenty of "down with Princesses" or "my dilemma with my Princess-obsessed daughter" articles, and I'm sure I'll be right there worrying about Audrey. But with Lance, I'm watching it with more curiosity than anything. One part of me is delighted that he's not shunning all things "girl," because he is such a stereotypical active boy in many ways. But the other part is worried, because I have the flip side of the worry about a girls' self image - will Lance feel like he has to be a handsome prince, with all the responsibility that goes along with that, or else a horrible beast?