Dr. Rebecca Hains

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Are the “Princess Wars” the new “Mommy Wars”?

A couple of weeks ago, Stephanie Hanes of the Christian Science Monitor called me. She had seen my post asking studios like Disney and Dreamworks to let princesses dare to dream of more, and she wanted to hear more of…

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Can a Princess Dare to Dream of More?

“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” – Pinocchio, 1940 For over 70 years, making dreams come true has been a major theme of Disney. Lately, princesses have been at the center of that theme–and with princesses…

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Talking about toys: Taking child’s play seriously

On occasion, people ask me why I bother taking children’s toys so seriously. “They’re just toys, after all!” Yes, toys are just toys–but they’re so much more than that, too. Toys are a central part of children’s play, and to…

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New at the Disney Store: Princess Dolls with Extra Sparkles! (and extra problems)

On a recent visit to my local Disney Store, I learned that Disney had just released a new line-up of Disney Princess dolls at the holidays. The new line-up was on the shelves–and so were some of their older counterparts.*…

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“Chess for Girls,” or how Saturday Night Live predicted the future.

Saturday Night Live’s fake commercial, “Chess for Girls” [transcript], was hilarious in 1997–but today, it strikes awfully close to home. An ultra-pink chess set that’s “not too hard, just pretty and fun”–with prancing ponies and a long-haired queen in a…

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Practicing slightly subversive parenting: Toddlers and gender

Gender representations in popular kids’ storybooks make me sigh. Books based on TV programs and movies seem among the worst offenders; yet they’re inescapably popular. To manage them, I do two things: First, I keep movie- and tv-based books to…

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