Childrearing

My Daughter Bleeds Disney

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When I was a naive little pregger, I promised myself that my daughter would never wear all that tacky character-branded merchandise. Even the sweet Classic Pooh nursey motif was just too commercialized for my taste. I guaranteed those around me that you would never find my child in an Ariel t-shirt or with a Spongebob bookbag.

Oh what a silly woman I was.

I made it through the infant stage without any branding on my daughter or in her nursery. I let her have character toys, but those were used for imaginative play so I didn’t mind. She still likes to make up her own adventures for her Tinkerbell dolls and she warns her baby Belle about the dangers of moody beasts. Apparently she doesn’t buy that whole “transformation” nonsense. Toys and movies, I didn’t have a problem with, but I was still dead set against character apparel, decor or accessories. My little one didn’t need to be anyone’s brand ambassador.

I can still remember the purchase that opened the floodgates. My daughter and I were hunting for a baby shower gift at Babies ‘R’ Us. I was getting frustrated with the registry and Brenna was ready for a nap. She was about two years old. We walked through the clothing section and she fell in love with a little red jacket. It had big buttons up the front and a cute white trim around the hood. And of course, it had a small Minnie Mouse logo on the pocket. Brenna was in love.

She begged and begged for the jacket as we walked through the aisles of overpriced infant gear. Finally, I acquiesced. I explained away by hesitation with the fact that Minnie was barely visible. You wouldn’t really know that it was a Disney jacket unless you were looking for it. It wasn’t that bad.

Ladies, this is how they get you and your children hooked. It’s like drugs, just a small amount to start with. Once I had crossed that line, it was impossible to turn back.

The next time I gave in, it was on purses. Silly little purses to carry around a couple toy distractions when we go out to dinner. I don’t know that you can find a child-sized purse without Dora, Barbie or Belle on it. Even if it doesn’t have a character, it’ll be hot pink with glitter and feathers. Can I really make an argument about class at that point? Once I finally agreed, Brenna’s grandmothers were thrilled about buying her adorable little princess purses.

By then, there was no turning back on this road. My daughter started asking for the least conspicuous, yet still branded, clothing she could find. Alright, so it wasn’t a huge graphic print princess, it was just Cinderella’s silhouette. That’s cute, right? I keep deluding myself. Suddenly we had Rapunzel socks and a Tinkerbell hoodie. Where did my adorable, brand-free little girl go?

The majority of my daughter’s clothing does not have a character on it. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t catch her in an Ironman tee-shirt and Ariel necklace. She doesn’t have Princess bedding, but she does have vinyl princesses and superheros clinging to her walls. Cinderella is dancing with Wolverine as we speak.

I still worry about the characters that pop up on my daughter’s clothing. I still say no to the most garish of product placements. But I’ve really lost the battle with marketers for my daughter’s attention. She loves wearing pajamas with Jessie on them and cuddling up with her stuffed Bullseye to go to bed. She feels cool showing off her Spiderman socks and Snow White tee-shirt. I’m sure it’s a phase that I went through as well. But I have to admit, this is one trend that I hope she outgrows quickly.

(Photo: Disney Store)