When we were expecting our first child, we swore if the baby was a girl that we would avoid dressing her in pink. We purposely didn't find out the baby's sex so that we wouldn't be inundated with gender-specific clothing, toys, and books. We wanted to raise our child without buying into the stereotypes: girls play with dolls, while boys play with trains. Girls wear pink, while boys wear blue. Girls want to grow up to be princesses, while boys want to be superheroes.
This worked, for a little while. We styled our baby in graphic tees and camo shorts. Her first pair of walking shoes were red- and-white checkered Vans. She had more cars, trains, trucks, and buses than she had dolls.
As Ella got older and began watching parent-approved shows and movies (and began being influenced by other kids' interests), she began to fall under the spell of the likes of Ariel and Belle and Tiana, the Frog Princess. At first, we were amused. Then, we were relieved at how easy it was to get an hour or two to ourselves...so we introduced The Swan Princess. Then, it was Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. Then Rapunzel. And along with every movie came the "action" figure, and then her friends, and then her "things." Before we knew it, she was dressing like her favorite princess--a different one each day, thanks to the trunksful of velour dresses, crowns, and jewelry she got for two consecutive Christmases.
But then, just as we were becoming disgusted with ourselves for allowing her to be brainwashed into thinking all girls needed to find a prince to marry and live happily ever after, the tide began to turn. Mike got her a skateboard for her 4th birthday, albeit with bright pink wheels. Her godmother, Amy, introduced her to roller derby, even christening her with her own derby name.
Today, she alternates between telling us she wants to be a paleontologist princess and a paleontologist mom. Her princesses live next to the Playmobil volcano under the shadow of the Triceratops and T-rex who live there too. And somehow, they all just get along. So, I guess Disney hasn't cornered the market on little girls, after all.