Will your little princess grow up to be a narcissist?

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Will your little princess grow up to be a narcissist?

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The Disney films are so much a part of every child's childhood, and I think people often tend to think of them as harmless or entertaining or maybe even good. The truth is that, almost without exception, the heroines in the Disney films are very passive, and they're waiting for a man to come along to give them life--sometimes quite literally, as in "Sleeping Beauty," or somebody like "Ariel," who literally gives up her voice for a man--so the underlying message is really not a good one at all, especially for little girls. There's also been, in recent years, a tremendous emphasis on "princesses," so every little girl in America now wants to be a "princess"--there are "princess parties," and "princess clothes." Most people think this is cute and they think it's harmless, but actually, I think it isn't harmless at all. The emphasis on being a princess can really create a kind of sense of entitlement that's not very good for children at all. I think each child should feel very special to his/her parent or caregiver but shouldn't feel any more special than any other child in terms of the world. The emphasis on being a "princess" really does, I think, encourage a kind of narcissism.

Watch Jean Kilbourne, EdD's video on Will your little princess grow up to be a narcissist?...

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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses...

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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