Woman Shopping at Disney Store Furious over Shirt for Young Girls


Being a dad is the best. Of all the joys and struggles of the world, I can’t imagine anything being better than being a dad.

But raising young kids is also hard. Every signal they get from the world tells them to buy more. That they are somehow incomplete. Despite some cultural shifts, boys still receive messages that they are to be dominant, in charge, and due unearned respect.

Young girls hear they are supposed to be rescued by a prince and that their bodies are more important than their minds, gifts, and talents. As a father, my job is to raise a young man to know his strength is in mutuality and respect, and to teach my young girl to know her power is in not letting anyone — even me! — tell her that her gifts aren’t good enough.

For many folks, there is a long-standing critique of the Disney corporation. The coding of many Disney stories includes a princess who needs rescuing and are charged by many as being innately sexist.

The princess always has her happiness tied up with rescue by a prince. Disney, in recent years, has begun to shift the story a bit.

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In many ways the film Frozen walked right up to various Disney cliches and spun a tale in a different direction. Moana made a passing reference to the princess trope but made it clear that was not the story they were telling.

And of course Disney has been on such a spending spree of late that Disney “princesses” now include Rey and Leia of Star Wars, The Black Widow of the Marvel Universe, and River from Firefly. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And… so many others.

But of course Disney is a corporation at heart, out to make money. The moral moves it makes are most likely in relation to market forces.

That is why Emma Palmer, shopping at a Disney store in London, found shirts marketed to little girls that read “Shoes speak louder than words.”

“I saw this embarrassment of a T-shirt at the Disney store in Westfield yesterday, aimed at young girls,” She said in a Facebook post.

“This is just everything that is wrong with messaging to girls in a nutshell..It’s 2018 .. Surely it is widely recognised that the content of your mind and words you speak are WAAAAAY more important than your (ridiculous) shoes! *Facepalm*”

While some disagreed with her assessment, Palmer was quick to point out that the message that a woman should be concerned with her shoes and not her voice is a dangerous one.

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And Palmer was not just speaking as a consumer but as a parent. The 36-year-old interior designer is the mother to a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

“The messages you give to a girl should be about what they’re thinking, their intelligence, and what they have to say – not what they look like,” Palmer said. “I understand it is fun to dress up, to wear makeup, and to have nice things – but the point is at no point do I chose that as a substitute for a brain, or for what I have to say.”

No one is denying that many little girls do want to play dress-up. Or that some people like getting new shoes. This issue is about the messages prevalent in our world and what it teaches our kids about what is expected of them as a human being.

Not everyone has been a fan of the mother’s outrage, though. Some are defending the shirt as merely funny and cute and not intended to take away women’s voices.

It is wise to be aware of the messages that are being spread around us, so that we can help our children grow up into strong, confident, well-balanced individuals.

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