Monday, October 12, 2015

Stop Princess Bashing - It's Really Okay

I saw this on social media.

It really pissed me off. In fact, it pretty much caused all my grumpiness for a good hour.

Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.

I get that it's a motivational thing. I understand maybe you're not supposed to take it quite literally.

But I did. And here's why.

Do you think I woke up one day and told my daughter she was a princess? Do you think I encouraged her to be a princess and love princesses? Do you think I literally am teaching my daughter that some day when she grows up, she can be a princess? And moreover that being a princess is a legit "job" that she can aspire to?

Hell to the no to all of the above.

Like many little girls, the princess phase just happened. One day she had no care in the world for them and then the next she was beyond obsessed. I'm not sure how it happened or why but I don't care. My daughter loves princesses and I'm okay with that. It's a phase just like Elmo was and she will grow out of it.

It has been adorably cute for the most part. She talks about the princesses like they are her friends. She's tickled pink whenever she sees anything princess anywhere. She loves to dress up like them, read about them, watch their shows/movies, and play with the dolls of them.

When we took her to Disney, she was in awe. She still talks about that to this day, two years later; even brings out the autograph book out to show people. When she looks back on her childhood, she will remember the princess phase fondly.

Now that she's five years old and in kindergarten, we had a talk. She asked me recently if the princesses were real. I asked her if she wanted to know the real truth and she assured me she did. I was honest and told her they were not real. Princesses live at Disney but they are just women dressed up as them. Belle doesn't really exist but is merely a character in a story. Same with Cinderella, Aurora, and Ariel. I told her even Anna, Elsa, Kristof, and Olaf were not real either.

I want her to truly understand the difference between reality and fiction but only when she's ready. She's five. If she wants to believe in all that magic still, it's okay.

At kindergarten's open house, I saw a photo of her. She was standing up against a wall that said, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a..." and she held up a sign that said "princess". The next day I asked her what she really wanted to be and again she replied a princess. I told her that there is a true life princess in England who was just born. We got to talking about the monarchy and how princesses truly exist but warned her that she most likely could never be a real princess. She didn't cry or get upset. I'm sure if I ask her again next week she'll say princess again. And again, I'm oaky with this. At five, she's too little to understand the truth of the world. I want to protect her and her innocence as long as I can.

But think about it this...

Over the past few decades, Disney has given us many Princesses. Most recently, Disney gave us Frozen and two more princesses. I know that Frozen has been more a part of my daughter's life than any other princess franchise. She thinks the world of Elsa and Anna and emulates them the most.

Elsa: She's got these crazy snow powers she can't control so she shuts herself away from the world too scared to hurt the ones she loves. To love so deeply and care so passionately about others that you'd sacrifice your life's happiness is admiring yet sad. She's strong and brave in an amazing way.

Anna: She's a spitfire of energy and fun. She loves her family but is so lonely. When the time comes to be brave, she takes off alone, in a blizzard, to find her sister and make things right. Despite many obstacles, including a giant snowman, wolves, the cold and ice, being severely injured, and getting left for dead, she still finds a way out to save the life of her sister. The courage she portrays through the entire film with an easy going spirit is envy worthy.

These two women who my daughter look up to are princesses. But they are more than that. They are brave, loving, passionate, caring, courageous, considerate, bold, determined, and strong!

My daughter most likely will never become a real princess but if she picks up half of what Anna and Elsa portray in their story, she will definitely shatter glass ceilings in her life.

Stop dissing little girls looking up to princesses. Yeah it may be a fictional fairy tale but there are many good things they can learn too.

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