not so happily ever after

What little girl doesn’t like princesses? Most of them have been swallowed up by the whole phenomenon. While these princesses frequently have strengths, what is front of mind for most tots is that these princesses are beautiful, wear fancy dresses, jewels and shoes.

Sometimes these messages are covert. Typically, the “bad” characters in Disney films are overweight.

Sometimes these messages are overt. In Gnomio and Juliet, just before her first date, the frog says to Juliet,”You know he’s going to ditch you when he finds out how much you weigh.”

In the film Ice Princess, there were a few scenes about food. In one, the mother gave her daughter a hard time because she wanted a cheeseburger. In another, a skater wanted the server to measure out the cheese in her salad at the skating rink snack bar.

Our little boys are taught that good looks, money and charm are the things that matter.

Parents are in a very powerful position, believe it or not, even more powerful than the messages in these films. What we can do is watch these films WITH our children and talk about what was portrayed. We can offer a different message, dispel the warped belief systems illustrated and empower our children to view themselves, their friends and people at large, in a different way.

How are you handling this issue with your children? Is there anything you can you do differently to be more effective? What do you notice when you have these conversations with them?

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About Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

Jodi graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY at New Paltz and earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. In addition to over a decade of work as an LCSW and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist with individuals, families and groups in her private practice, Jodi is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer and created Destructively Fit®, a training that addresses eating disorders within the fitness industry. She is a former director of Day Treatment at The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders and a founding member of Metropolitan Psychotherapy and Family Counseling Practice. Jodi also specializes in infertility and has served on the Clinical Advisory Board of Seleni Institute since its inception. Jodi is the creator of a curriculum on eating disorders for the Graduate School of Social Work at New York University and has been teaching this course, as well as guest lecturing in the NYU Post-Master’s Program, since 2007. Jodi actively lectures and teaches students, families and professionals throughout the metropolitan area about the etiology, prevention, treatment, assessment and work with eating disorders. Through psychotherapy and supportive work with adolescents, adults and families, Jodi works to create a secure sense of self, increased self-esteem and a healthy relationship with self and others. She works with an eclectic person-centered approach and tailors her practice techniques to the unique needs of each individual. Please feel free to contact Jodi directly in her Greenwich Village office, 212.529.5811. View all posts by Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

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