When I was a kid, there was a certain line drawn in the sand to separate boy toys and girl toys. Boys could play their war games using Transformers and G.I. Joe while girls could play with pretty things like Barbie and My Little Pony. These days, that sort of differentiation has increased exponentially and it seems like the “princess” culture is running ever more rampant.

With TV shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, these increasingly young girls are being treated less and less like children and more and more like little women. Even when we don’t go as far as these beauty pageants for girls wearing high heels not long after they’ve only learned to walk, we are bombarded with the popularity of Disney princesses and the like.

There is such a mind-boggling emphasis on outward appearance. They’re brushing and styling their hair. They’re putting on makeup. They’re wearing fancy, frilly dresses. They’ve got tiaras on their hands. And there’s a lot of pink. As New York Times writer Peggy Orenstein describes, it’s like “everything has been dipped in Pepto-Bismol.” It’s really overwhelming. If it’s not pink, it’s not “for girls.”

Just going through some of the clothes that Adalynn has received as gifts, I’d say that more than half are pink. I don’t fault the people who gave them–I know they mean well–but this really does push the “girly girl” kind of trend. I suppose when they’re still infants, it can be a little hard to distinguish gender without some clues from the clothing.

And what does this kind of princess culture teach our little girls? It reinforces the concept of the damsel in distress, as many of the Disney princesses still seek the comfort of the gallant hero who is there to rescue them from harm. It reinforces that how you look takes precedence over who you are. It encourages the mindset of being spoiled and pampered, rather than doing it yourself and taking matters into your own hands.

But maybe I’m just over-thinking it. Maybe there is no harm in a little dress-up and playing the role of a beautiful princess with gems and jewels and servants to fulfill your every whim. Nonetheless, seeing how I already worry about every little thing with my baby daughter, I’m not looking forward to when I’ll really have to tackle this issue.

Hopefully, she’ll just want to play some Street Fighter with her daddy instead. I’ll even let her have a pink Hello Kitty fightstick if she wants.