I was a hard-core feminist in college. I was proud to minor in women’s studies and protest outside of strip clubs. Somewhere along my path to righteous women’s independence, the road got curvier and bumpy. Unlike Peggy Orenstein, I don’t wince at the sight of my little girls dressing up in Princess clothes and begging to watch Cinderella. I actually enjoy watching these Disney princesses and happily note the men play such peripheral useless roles in these movies. Snow White isn’t helpless.
Her eyes might look like they are always shut but she manipulates wild animals and small dwarfs to clean for her and dance for her and sit vigil next to her bedside. If only I could manipulate a few squirrels and birds into cleaning my house and baking a pie for me while I sing beautifully, life might be good.
My threshold for princess fantasies and unrealistic expectations, however, is not so high when it comes to reality stars and their impact on young kids. Specifically, my stomach churned while happily perusing the aisle of a grocery store without my children, I spotted the cover of a gossip magazine broadcasting how much money Kim Kardashian was paid to get married. It sickens me that she made almost $12 million off her wedding. In case you haven’t seen the numbers, $10 million for the rights to her wedding for an E! TV special, $1.5 million for the rights to her wedding pictures in People magazine, $100k from OK Magazine for the images of her wedding shower. And let’s not forget the three couture wedding gowns designed by Vera Wang. The media went so far as to bill it the wedding of the year and dub her America’s princess.
If someone who is famous for fighting with her sisters on a “reality” TV show, for having a very attractive body and long flowing locks, makes $12 million just for getting married, what kind of message is this sending our daughters? I don’t mean to sound like a Grandma, but young kids these days are bound to get a grossly warped sense of reality if they see so many people become famous despite having no skills or talent. And then to host an obscenely extravagant wedding when millions of people are without jobs or health care flies in the face of common sense. We go to movies for escapism. We don’t need to see real people with no talent bleeding money because they can.
And finally, what kind of warped message about what is important about a wedding does the Kardashian wedding tell the hordes of teen girls who are bound to be watching the special on E! in October? Are they learning that a bride needs 3 dresses to be stylish and happy on her wedding day? Are they learning that being sexy will get you through the tough times? Or that they can make millions by being opportunistic, attractive and rich, not for working hard, studying and having goals?
Here’s hoping that when the inevitable news breaks that Kim’s marriage is ending in divorce, the executives at E! who authorized wasting $10 million for the broadcast rights are fired and forced to donate much of that money to charity. That’s the kind of lesson this feminist mom would like to share with her girls.
When not issuing threats to her kids, offering bribes to get her 2-year-old fully potty-trained or wondering what to make for dinner, Monica Sakala also blogs at Wired Momma. Follow her on twitter @wired_momma