My daughter is not a princess. There was a time, a very brief time, when there was a kind of princess mania, but it was short-lived and I’m not entirely convinced that it originated with her. So much of what is marketed to young girls is princess oriented that it’s almost as if they don’t have a choice. Of course they like princesses because what options are they given? To paraphrase, some are born princesses, some achieve princess, and most have princess thrust upon them. My daughter was one of the latter.
Not to say that the whole princess thing is all bad. It’s an empowered role for young girls to put on to feel they have some control over their world. It’s unfortunate that so many of the princess narratives rely on the prince to save the day but that trend has definitely been changing in our enlightened times and authors like Gail Carson Levine write very admirable princess characters. Regardless, my daughter had had enough and went through a recovery period where she was most definitely NOT a princess, don’t call her a princess, she doesn’t like princesses! This also coincided with a sort of rebellion against pink, which still has a large role in her wardrobe even though it is officially out of favor – but that’s a whole other albatross that girls have to escape.
The rejection of the princess lifestyle left a void in her fantasy life that has been more than adequately filled by fairies. Her interest seems to have coincided with a distinct rise in fairy content but I’m not sure if she was riding the trend as it has evolved or if I simply noticed it more once her interest brought it to my attention. I do feel that the Disney Fairy juggernaut was evolving as her interest continued to grow. I saw the books (by Gail Carson Levine – again), the direct to video movies, the addition of Pixie Hollow to Disneyland, and the online games at PixieHollow.com launch. Other content like the Rainbow Magic series of fairy books seems to be riding the wave of cash washing over the youth publishing market.
She loves it all, including the fantastic Wee Free Men Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, which feature the comically bellicose Scottish PICTsies; small blue fairies who drink and fight all the time and have names like Rob Anybody, Wee Dangerous Spike, and Not as Big as Medium Size Jock but Bigger Than Wee Jock Jock. Like all of Pratchett’s Discworld books they are hilarious.
One of her favorite activities is playing the online games at PixieHollow.com. And just like the Wii, the best activity is creating new characters (she and her brother recreated the entire Harry Potter cast in Miis). When you log on you can create as many as three avatars that you can then move through the virtual world of Pixie Hollow. You can play games, earn fairy currency (sticks, spider webs, flowers, etc.), and – everyone together now – SHOP.
A side note for those of you with young men who dig the fairies, last year Disney introduced Sparrow Men characters to Pixie Hollow so the boys no longer have to get an early start imitating girls online.
Anyway, the fairy magic shows no signs of slowing down and we’re ok with that.
Perhaps if she wants it enough she’ll develop fairy powers and be able to send us to that vacation home in Hawaii. Hey, fairies are all about the dreaming!