This is not what the discrimination from the event organizers is about, however these are all relevant questions. Why cant a princess look like a fierce warrior, and why does a girl attending this event have to specifically dress in disney princess outfits, why cant she show creativity and want to be "different" or her "own person" among st the crowd? The question is, was this really a simple innocent poorly executed decision from the owners part, or is this sizeism discrimination at its finest?
It really doesnt matter to me what the intentions are or are not of the organizers, it is the message they sent to that little girl that day. I think the idea of what they are trying to do for the girls that attend the event is very good. I have never been there personally or know anyone who has attended the event, so I can not judge it, or its organizers in that context. However, there are much larger issues surrounding what happened that needs to be addressed, and the key word here is "ACCESSIBILITY & INCLUSION" regardless of race, gender identity expression, cultural identity, or disability.
Girls come in all shapes and sizes, as well as cultural, religious, and abilities backgrounds. This means that the definition of a princess can mean something very different to them then the "standard" Disney princess. What if this princess attending the ball....
1. The Princess has a learning and or physical disability and can not fit the clothing due to her body shape/ size/. required use of a wheelchair, or is an amputee for an example?
2. Princesses in her culture and or religion where specific outfits that are more or less modest in design, and she desires to express her cultural identity?
3. The Princess is very tall, curvy, short,athletic has her own "awesome shape" etc.
4. Wants to look like a Warrior Princess such as Mulan, or the girl from the Brave?
When I was a young girl I wanted to be Mulan, and and as a teen Zena the Warrior Princess. Cinderella was not someone I idolized. I drove skiidoos,rode horses, and loved learning archery and riflery. That did not mean I still did not desire to dress up as a Princess.
The bottom line here is: If a Princess does not fit the Princess standard sizes and looks, does that mean her individual, unique identity is not worthy or valid enough to participate in the event? Humans exist on a spectrum, and that rainbow of life which is our diversity as the human race should be celebrated, not criticized. As a female strong woman, Scottish highland heavy games athlete, dancer, dance and fitness instructor I know how hard it can be to enter sports and entertainment events that require a "certain look" to equate a "fit/ standard" body. As a child I was bullied for being taller, stronger, and having more back and leg muscles then my male peers. It all started when I was 8 years old an my elementary school physical education teacher told me I was fat, and shamed me for my asthma and limited ability to run or jump in class due to my scoliosis. My step father shamed me for my size from 8 years old to 12 years old.
At 12, my mom brought me home the first long body con, ankle length dress I had ever owned, as she could not afford one earlier. I tried it on in the bathroom, and came out more happier then I had ever been in my entire life. My stepdad proceeded to argue in front of me with my mother about how fat I looked in it and he refused to let me wear it to the the dance at my school, and she had to take it back. I went to the basement and cried, and heard them argue late into the night about if I was really fat. I wasent, in fact I was very slim, but simply tall and fully developed for my age. This moment changed my life forever, until he spoke those words I had never felt so beautiful in an outfit before. My mom then sent me to the dance in one of her old woman dresses and I got teased for the the style and the way it fit me so I went home and cried.
This lead me to develop toxic eating patterns from self-hatred, which turned into body dis-morphic disorder. My extreme fitness regime and calorie restricted diet led me to develop other chronic health conditions in my early twenties. I boxed, ran, lifted weights in my teens deep into the night in neighborhood hoping to have that Barbie Girl body I saw in the magazines, hoping that maybe I would not be teased for my size anymore.I was born with a learning and physical disability that greatly affected my ability to participate in academic and extra-curricular activities on a consistent basis in and out of school. I know what thats like to feel punished, un-wanted, and ashamed for you are.
As a mom with a toddler, I can now proudly say "I am a mathematical miracle." At the age of 8 a girl is just starting to develop her identity and her self esteem as it relates to her outer beauty and intellectual hierarchy compared to other girls her age. This is why the communication the event organizer had with the parents of the girl, is so harmful. The mother, and step-mother made a great attempt at compromising with the organizer, however there was no le-way on their end. The organizer's stance at the time of communication with the parents can be basically summed up as such "She doesn't fit the dresses we have, so she can come, but she won't be able to bring her own dress as to be un-fair to the rest of the other girls." Another extremely important point about this is the under-handed social programming we are demonstrating to young girls who will grow up to become women. Did the movie "Mean Girls" be produced in vain? Teaching girls their worth is only in their looks teaches them to compete against one another on that basis, when really all equally have something unique to share with the world that goes beyond that.
Growing up with a single mom, my mother worked fulltime, and double time as a nurse to provide for myself and my three siblings. That meant she could not participate in mother-daughter events due to her packed work schedule. In this day and age we need to be inclusive to all family dynamics, and all children. Event organizers need to educate themselves on how to become more inclusive to families with different challenges and requests, and ensure they are not violating human rights. I can speak to this first-hand as I was a professional certified children's entertainer, and worked at corporate/charitable/ and family events as a clown, mascot, face painter, temporary tattoo artist, and caricaturist.
As an entertainer and dancer at a healthy size 8, fitting size small to medium clothing at 5'8 I was told by my agent I was to fat to fit the size 6 princess outift, even-though I modeled, taught dance and fitness 6 to 8 hours a day, and had a healthy diet. I was pushed into playing alot of male roles and characters because I did not have the "right" body type to represent a disney princess. That's okay, it made me a better actress anyway, and inspired me to be creative and out of the ordinary characters. However it did hurt, and my agent encouraged un-healthy dieting recommendations.
I am also a dance instructor with over 11 years of experience teaching children from various economic backgrounds, and physical abilities. We need to stop segregating a large part of society as if they are not worthy of being included in the events and activities we all cherish, and hold dear.
I would be just as outraged as these parents, and you should too! Even if this discrimination was not intended, dis-clusion or lack of trying to make reasonable accommodations is bullying. Cutting children out of programs or events should always be a last resort, and those cases should only happen if their is a serious concern of safety for the child, which is not the present case for this issue.
This type of behaviour towards children needs to stop! If there is a parent out there with a daughter who has experienced any of the similar issues I am going to offer you from now until march 2020 the opportunity to have a Princess Ball Birthday Party of your own. I will give you all my: www.artwithsas.com entertainment services for 50% off regular package prices. Every girl deserves to feel like a Princess, no matter how she looks or where she comes from.
If you would like a dance lesson or face painting and temporary tattoos, I got you covered.
As a society we should be empowering women to focus on their education, entrepreneurship, and over-all health and wellness, not a number on a scale, or a waist measurement. Physical education accessibility to teens and young girls is a subject I am passionate about, and believe should be a priority. I have developed this exciting project- GEM.POWER in response to helping schools and community organisations develop body positive, disability inclusive, dance fitness programming for young girls. To learn more visit:
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To read more about this news article visit: https://peggy991.com/news/5981889/waist-size-restrictions-sideline-8-year-old-winnipeg-princess-from-charity-gala/
The purpose of the camp is to not only improve self-esteem, but to also create cross-cultural understanding among dancers. We believe when girls see other girls from diverse backgrounds and body types dance with joy in their current body, it inspires them to do the same.
We know when girls collaborate with one another their over-all health and wellness and leadership skills improve. Our multi cultural, modern dance theatre camp are designed to help teen girls boost their confidence. Our facilitator, and guest choreographers will demonstrate the HAES (Healthy at Every Size) philosophy through small group open discussion, and choreography development.
This 4 hour workshop to schools, family-centered service organisations, and schools through out the year with the goal of empowering teen girls to discover self-love through our trademarked dance fitness workshops. The
wempower workshop is 4 hours in length and features a 45 minute group motivational speech, 1 hour group dance lesson, refreshments, and a 1 hour Vision Board building session, one on one Q & A session with the Educator and each participant. Teens get to meet our inspirational Educators and hear the story about their journey through depression, eating disorders, and self-confidence challenges. This is not your typical health and nutrition workshop in Home Economics, this workshop is for the modern Teen struggling to find her Identity, in this current time of re-defining a woman’s role in society.
- An interactive, judgment free, open conversation format inspiring speech (My life story)
- An introduction to the definition of self-worth and self-respect, why your opinion of yourself is the most important despite media pressures, and modern day challenges teens face. (Q&A period, "get to know the teens*
- Practical tips and education on the subject of finding life balance through holistic nutrition, exercise, and hobbies for all bodies, budgets, and abilities (No fad diets, body positivist, health at every size).
- Practical steps to identifying your strengths and how to find your path through a vision board (Art exercise)
- Meditation exercise (Stretching & Breathing for Fight/Flight/Freeze moments, and practical PTSD, Depression and Anxiety Management tips)
- Dance Tutorial (Hip Hop & Modern Dance for Beginners to Intermediate dancers to Empowering songs)
- Educational Resources (Handouts and links to Teen Resources locally and online on the subject of Bullying, Nutrition, Health etc
- Glitter & Airbrush Tattoos/ Snack for the Teens (They can share their story and ask the Educator questions.
This 1/2 day. 5 day camp that runs from a Monday to Friday features dance and fitness lessons. Students develop leadership and team building skills through our open-discussion format Gempower life skills lessons.
Our Gempower 2 Hour Classes features a 1 hour dance lesson, and a 45 min. Leadership lesson along with a nutritious snack.