Most little girls dream of being a princess when they grow up. The crown, the dress, the shoes, the prince, the fairy tale life...
But turns out our daydreams of being a Disney princess aren't all that awesome for our self-esteem.
Watching Disney princess movies, and "engaging with princess culture," could make kids more susceptible to gender stereotypes, according to Bringham Young University researchers.
Both boys and girls who watched movies and played with Disney princess toys were more likely to have more female gender-stereotyped behavior a year later. For boys, this meant that they encouraged better body esteem and were more helpful. But, for little girls, they felt less confident and less positive about their body esteem.
Although the BYU study was small, several reports have noted similar findings to that of researchers. In her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, author Peggy Ornstein says the obsession young girls have with beauty can lead to serious issues later in life--eating disorders, and depression namely.
So, if you're feeling a little low when you daydream of finding Prince Charming, switch your focus to something a little more engaging like sports, working out, or an activity. Researchers say for young children and adults alike it's always better to be involved in a variety of activities to hold your attention rather than a fairytale.