Well, folks, it’s happened.
Our Jelly Bean has grown up apart from the rest of society, without much television, listening to a Victrola for entertainment, and reading lots of good, wholesome books. She’s already well-versed in voluntary simplicity. And, of yeah, we don’t live in a house for 1/4 of the year…
I knew that preschool would be her first exposure to the rest of the world. It was very tempting to keep her at home, so that she wouldn’t be exposed to outside influences until she was older. I know some people who do this, who homeschool their kids until they are older, more secure in their identity. I can definitely appreciate this point of view.
However, we wanted to make use of the resources available. We wanted Beanie to have a village. We wanted her to have relationships with other adults, so that more supports will be available to her during those times, when she’s older, when she might want to talk to someone other than Rob and me. We also wanted her to be able to work with other adults to pursue interests in areas where Rob and I have little expertise, if she so chooses. Also, we know so few families with little ones that we are not equipped to provide the social opportunities that preschool offers.
Still, it didn’t take much to throw off my confidence. I read about the “Fast Food Song.” How horrible. How awful that preschool teachers are advertising corporations to their students. I knew Beanie would hear about fast food eventually. Heck, she’s even eaten it a few times (and, happily, she doesn’t really care for it). But outright advertising in school is so wrong. Especially advertising for fast food, which already preys on young children.
We sent her anyway. She comes home singing everyday. There’s no fast food song. There is a nice song about carrots and cucumbers though. Nutrition is a big deal in Head Start.
Yet, she is being exposed to the world outside our house, outside Moonraker. Occasionally, the kids in her class get to take home donated books, and Beanie chose one about Disney Princesses. (To her credit, she chose one about the Cars movie the week before.). She has always liked playing dress-up, with dresses and play high-heels. Now, when she dresses up, she is a “pin-cess.” Her preschool sent home an adorable picture of the Bean admiring herself in a Snow White dress.
We have nothing against little girls wanting to be pretty, to be feminine. I wear dresses and skirts most of the time. But the princess thing always disturbed me. It’s reinforcing our culture’s pressure for women to be materialistic. It’s encouraging girls to marry for money and nothing else. It’s reinforcing the notion that women must be weak and in a supporting role.
Rob and I have worked hard to find books and DVD’s with strong, feminine heroines. We’ve found the Paper Bag Princess by Munsch. Fiddler on the Roof, a long time favorite, has strong female character. Some more obscure anime series, such as Last Exile, You’re Under Arrest, and Magic Knight Rayearth feature strong women. So, we can roll with this. If the Bean is going to be a princess, she’s going to be a strong one!
I suppose we had better start looking for an Empress Sophia lunch box right now…