Thursday, April 20, 2006

Royal Attitude Isn't Wearing Well

This article (written by Darla Atlas) ran in The Dallas Morning News last week and though a tad on the "I'm a square parent with something to say"-side, I agree with the core message: Enough already with the perpetuatinging of the whole "spoiled is cute" horseshit.

Oh, and BTW, I do remember there being similar type shirts/iron-ons when I was growing up in the 80's. I distinctly remember two school pictures where I was wearing one T-shirt that had a glittery/iridescent-like iron-on that said "Spoiled Rotten" and had a picture of an apple with a worm in it and another T-shirt that simply said, in black type "Don't Fuss. Just treat me like any other fabulous person." Both were around the time of my 5th-7th grade year in school. So, they did exist, but they were nowhere near as dominant as they are now and were nothing more than T-shirts at a time when just about anything was game for an iron-on. However, I can see how today they are much more of a commentary on encouraging/glorifying snotty attitudes that very much exist due to lack of parental discipline.

What's the real message of T-shirts aimed at our 'little princesses'?

This country has become overrun with royalty. Specifically, princesses. They're everywhere – at least if you believe the T-shirts worn by every other little girl in the country.

And if she's not a princess, she's "spoiled rotten," "absolutely adorable," "pure perfection," or an "authentic cutie." They're all variations of the same message: I Love Me. Lots.

I haven't bought one of these message shirts for my 6-year-old daughter, but it's not from a lack of supply. Whenever I go shopping for her, I thumb through shirts proclaiming "Social butterfly," "It's not easy being a princess," "I love the spotlight!," "Attitude Warning: May Answer Back," "Heart-breaker" and "Born to be a star."

I know, I know, it's just a shirt. And all little girls are indeed princesses, in the best sense of the word. I just wish that we could also brag about some of their other great traits. I mean, you never see a kids' shirt that says, "I'm witty!" or "I Make All A's!" or "Creative soul" or "I'm fun to be around!" How about "Well-grounded" or "Big-hearted"?

No, no, no. These would not sell, as they're flat-out dorky. But playing up one's spoiled-and- proud status is both cool and popular.

When I was my kids' age, I don't recall having shirts with all these "princess" sayings on them. Neither does my husband, whom I consulted.

"But how about those 'I'm With Stupid' shirts?" he said. "Those were a hit."

"Well, you're not bragging about yourself on those," I replied.

"Yeah, but you're calling your friend stupid."


The only "message" T-shirt I remember having was one with a picture of Shaun Cassidy on it. And maybe one made with iron-on letters that spelled out my name. Which was not, incidentally, followed by "Best Person Ever."

That may be because I didn't have the highest self-esteem in all the land. It could also be because where I was raised, being conceited was possibly the worst thing you could be. It was downright despicable.

I don't think I was the only person raised to think that way. About 10 years ago, my then-boss said he was afraid his niece would grow up to be insufferable, because she once said, "I'm pretty!" when they were at dinner. Nowadays, she wouldn't have to say it; it would be advertised all over her little person.

As this generation of girls gets older, will they actually be insufferable? It's too early to tell. But I do think there's a natural progression from "American Princess" shirts to ones that say "Drama Queen." Girls on The Real World like the drama-queen shirt, I've noticed. And they're the same ones who also like to brag that they're the b-word. A connection? Maybe, maybe not.

But maybe all of those shirts have nothing to do with our girls' self-satisfied attitude. It could be that it's simply the byproduct of modern-day parenting. I mean, my daughter is well aware of how adorable she is, T-shirt or no. The other day, I mentioned that a little baby in the neighborhood was so cute. "I'm cuter, though!" she said.

In some ways, I love that confidence, which I never had. I want her to feel so good about herself that if and when she runs across some mean girls (inevitable, I know), she'll be able to roll her eyes and know that she's better than them.

But I don't plan to buy her a T-shirt that says so.


Blogger Terri said...

I also hate the adult sized clothing with words such as BABY emblazened across the ass of a pair of size 20 stretch shorts. Baby what, rhino? or "Daddy's Girl" (HURL)

I have a shirt with a "saying" on it. It says "Don't make me get my flying monkeys."

nuff said

Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

LOL! I am soooo with you on that one. I think I told you about the baby buffalo I saw in the lowrider jeans with the pierced (exposed no less!) belly button. Whatever, Charro! Some looks are just not for everyone. Prime example: the men around here in the summer who insist on running/walking with their shirt off. Sorry, once you reach a certain age and (lack of)fitness level, if you get hot that easily stay inside. Don't expose the rest of us to the horror that is you.

I luff flying monkeys! ;)

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger Stephaine said...

I am guilty of buying these shirts. I just bought one of the it's hard being a princess shirt, yadda yadda shirts. In my defense though my daughters know they can be dethroned at anytime.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 7:11:00 PM  

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