She doesn't have to be "super" sexualized to perpetuate the gender stereotype that if you're a girl, what counts most is how you look.
Originally Posted by Jabroniville
As was well stated in this CNN op-ed piece, "For strong daughters, stop with the sex stereotypes"...
(CNN) -- When the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill died in March, The New York Times celebrated her as the maker of a "mean beef stroganoff" and "the world's best mother." When my 4-year-old daughter, Ellie, a wildly creative and interesting girl, finished a year of preschool last week, her teachers gave her an award for being the best dressed.
A few years ago at my son's preschool camp award ceremony, I sat silently as well-meaning counselors called each child forward. Girls: best hair, best clothes, best friend, best helper and best artist. Boys: best runner, best climber, best builder and best thrower. My son won best soccer player. In general, girls received awards for their personalities and appearance and boys for their actions and physical attributes.
It was similar at my daughter's ceremony, where the teacher told us that all the children were so excited to see what award they would receive; it had obviously been built up as a big deal. The gender disparity was subtle but present.
A boy received best engineer. A girl got best friend. Another girl was the best helper, and another most compassionate. A boy received best break dancer. A girl was named most athletic, and the teacher told us how when all the class raced around the track this girl "beat everyone! Even the boys!" And then my daughter got her certificate, showing her in a funky orange sweater, tight pants, and holding a bowling ball. Her award -- best dressed.
Many decades after the feminist movement of the 1960s, why are we still stuck in this gender-norming rut?
...Our culture constantly projects the message that only appearances matter, and this message is aimed squarely at our children. We can fight this only by working against the grain, resisting gendered language and emphasizing the internal over the external.
Sadly, what Disney Consumer products did with their makeover of Merida is exactly the opposite: emphasizing the external over the internal.