Unfiltered Little Princesses

Picture this:

You’re walking around a grocery store. There’s a young girl skipping down the candy aisle. She’s donning a lavender princess dress and splotches of glitter are smeared on her eyelids. She picks up a candy bar, but it slips out of her delicate grip. She reacts by throwing her hands in the air and shouting “FUCK!”

Not what you would expect from a pristine, angelic little girl, right?

Females have been suppressed throughout history, and continue to be today. Girls that have yet to reach their teenage years, little children that need extra protection and are also at their most vulnerable phase of life, experience the silencing the most. Their opinions are not heard and their thoughts often unacknowledged. In Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder depicts her girlhood experience. The book takes place in the years 1869 and 1870. In this time period, children were meant to be seen and not heard. Laura is often hushed by her parents and others, and it is frowned upon for her to pester adults with questions. Laura is intelligent, but due to her age and her gender in this novel, she receives little respect.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler discusses various definitions of the word “childhood” in her essay in Keywords for Childrens Literature. She states, “Changes in the status of children are notable for what they indicate about shifts in social priorities, that is, for what they reveal about alterations in the desires and behaviors of adults” (Sánchez-Eppler, 36). Adults are beginning to acknowledge, as time goes on, that children are the future of the world and that they need to be heard and taught. Children are being educated and speak to their ideas. FCKH8, an activist t-shirt company, posted an attention-grabbing video on YouTube that features young girls (and one young boy) in their best dress-up clothes adorably using profane language to raise awareness about sexism and how society treats females. This exhibits the power girls have and the loosening of the suppressive grip on their little lives.  This video was almost certainly scripted, but it makes a point that young girls are important and are better being heard than silenced. Their curiosity and ability to contribute to their world, qualities Laura Ingalls possessed, are finally appreciated after numerous years of quiet little princesses. Based on this video, small girls can, clearly, make a large impact. The essay about childhood and Wilder’s story expose how society has evolved to allow young girls to have the presence that they do today.

8 thoughts on “Unfiltered Little Princesses”

  1. It’s really interesting to me that the majority of the comments on this video are men complaining that having these young girls swear is child abuse, which undermines the message they are trying to get across. This definitely relates back to the concept that Laura learns in childhood about how young girls should be quiet about the real issues going on in the world, as they are seen as naïve. While it’s great that girls are beginning to feel that they have a say in women’s rights, this idea must also be spread to those (like the people commenting) who are ignoring the true problems and suppressing girls’ rights and views.

  2. I really love the idea of this video. It’s very progressive in the way that it shows that girls no longer have to be quiet, ladylike, and overall stereotypically ‘feminine’, but rather can act however they want. It really promotes breaking the mold of previous notions of how girls are supposed to be.

  3. This post makes me question why children were to be seen but not heard years ago. Unfortunately, this idea of children are to be seen but not heard still applies today. Think about a time you were in an airplane and had a seat right next to a mom and her newborn. An initial thought may be ‘awe, the baby is so stinkin’ cute!’ However, after lift off and the air pressure adjusts the baby may turn into a crying, screaming, mess. Are you now wondering how you’re going to sleep on this international flight with a baby screaming in your ears. Selfishly you may hope that the mom goes and sits in the bathroom until the baby calms down so you can rest. Just from this example it demonstrates the thought of children are to be seen but not heard. How is it that we can change this thought? Although, I am not a mother I would assume no mother loves hearing her own child cry just like any person nearby doesn’t appreciate a crying baby. Secondly, a baby has many different cry sounds (as does any child). Crying is the only way the baby can tell Mom what is the matter. So for a child (or baby) to be told not to speak could put the baby or child in more risk.

  4. Wow, that was an amazing video. I am not going to lie, but I was a little shocked when I started that video. However, as I continued to listen, I was amazed at the truth it showed. It is sad that the video and our society needs to have little girls swearing at them to get people to listen. Another thing that I found interesting about the video and the points that you made is the fact that a lot of time, these gender issues and silencing do not stop when those girls grow up. An example of this is seen in “A Josefina Classic.” On page 84, we read, “None of the sisters had ever heard Papa discuss business with a woman before… Josefina was not sure it was proper for Tia Dolores to have such a conversation with him.” At this part in the book, Josefina’s family just lost most of their sheep and were not sure what they were going to do. Tia Dolores steps in and gives her recommendations. However, during that time, and even now, it was/is not right for her to do that. “That is a man’s job” so why should Tia Dolores be able to share her ideas?

  5. I love that video! I think it depicts so well that girls are faced with real, adult, unsavory challenges in life, and they can have big, adult, sometimes unsavory things to say about it! I think it’s interesting to think about this in the context of “Little Women” as well, and especially how Jo is constantly taught not to be so boyish and be more like a quite, docile lady. Such as on p. 3, when Beth tells Jo, “Don’t Jo, it’s so boyish…. I detest rude, unlady-like girls”. I’m sure one might view the girls in these videos as acting rude and unladylike, but I think they’re fantastic.

  6. Wow I loved this video.

    In reading “Little Women,” focus on appearance for girls is a huge issue. When Meg goes to Vanity Fair, she is self-conscious about not having an “appropriate” dress, making it clear that her appearance is what will get attention from the boys. She ends up getting dressed up “like a doll,” which completely objectifies her. She is NOT a doll, she is a living, breathing human whose worth equates to much more than the price of her dress.

  7. You raise a really good argument. I enjoyed your intro a lot because I wasn’t expecting that to turn so quickly. I think you raise a really good point on how kids should be seen AND heard too! It reminded me of one of the first keywords we read about childhood literature. Is it literature written for children or is it literature written by children? Should it be looked down either way? Especially when we are trying to look and “offer” ways to help the future generation grow. I must ask you, if you think that adults recently are still belittling a child’s capability, or are they starting to learn and listen to them? If not when would you think they will?

  8. I may not be in the popular opinion here, but I’m not sure I entirely agree with this video, or at least how the message is presented. Don’t get me wrong, gender inequality does exist in our society and how women are treated as compared to men is truly unfair. In respect to the quote from “Little House on the Prairie” about how children are meant to be seen and not heard, I began to think to myself, if a child was to be heard, as is displayed in this video, is that really what they would say? I understand the video was scripted and intended to stir up a brutal response, and maybe using young girls in this manner and was purely metaphorical, but I’m not convinced that those girls are really capable of understanding the ideas they are trying to speak about in the video and therefore, it seemed a little unethical to me. Regardless, this video really made me think and can certainly be interpreted in numerous ways. Thanks for sharing!

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