Monday, June 8, 2009

To Princess or Not to Princess

So I'm perusing the web as I do when I should be doing something else--this time sleeping--and I come across this article on The Root: "Enough With the Princesses!
Forget about whether the new Disney princess is black or white. The problem is with princesses. Period." * By: Monique Fields (http://www.theroot.com/views/enough-princesses?gt1=38002) And, sorry, but I have to laugh.

I skimmed the comments other readers made regarding the article, and there's really nothing new I can add there. But, raising two daughters of my own I can relate. Between the ages of 2 and 4, Kylie owned no pants or shorts. None. No kidding. She had skorts, dresses, tights and pretty shoes. I went for the skorts because I had a girlie-girl, but not a particularly modest one. She'd hang upside down no matter what she wore, and since I encourage my kids to be active I wasn't about to chase after her insisting she pull down her skirt. We have a rule in the house and that's strictly a "show no panty" rule. As long as she's covered she can be as upside down as she wants.

Back to the princess thing. There's no thing. Honestly. I've been a girl (some would stay I still AM a girl), I had friends that were girls and I'm raising girls. No matter the level of their obsession with the "ooh, sparkly", they outgrow it. Reality and real life creep in to their mentality, even though there are some realities we'd rather they not have to deal with--those show up anyway. Rianne didn't hit the princess thing quite as hard as Kylie but, at 5, it already shows signs of fading.

Recently we took the kids to see "UP" and saw the preview for "The Princess and the Frog." (I'm actually not nearly as excited for that movie as I am to see what they do with "Rapunzel" next year. Rapunzel is my very, very favorite princess and one of my favorite fairy tales. I've been waiting for literally decades for Disney to tackle that one--even at times considering suggesting it to them myself.) As we left the movie theater, I asked Kylie if she was excited to see the next princess movie. She said yes with enthusiasm. Currently, by the way, her future profession of choice is either a singing ballerina (imagine that on stage) or a veterinarian.

I used to think exactly the same way as the author of the article. Princesses were weak, always needing to be saved, and I wanted my girls to do the saving themselves. Be independent. Be strong. Be brave. I looked with concern more than once over my daughter's head as she oohed and aahed over the next sparkly to enter her vision. But I got over myself. And, in a way, princesses helped me. Even though Mulan isn't technically a princess, she's right up there on all the posters next to Jasmine and Aurora. And she saved China! Twice! Not bad. Jasmine questioned the laws, took risks and got what she wanted. And she didn't rush to the altar with Aladdin either. They took their time and got married when they were ready. Belle dreamed of more than the simple life and "sacrificed" herself for her beloved father. Pocahontas, an actual princess since her father was the chief, and risked everything to save a stranger (I'm going with the movie here, don't attack me for historical inaccuracy).

Yeah, Snow White bugs me. She's such a sap and way too nice. I think doormat when I see her. Aurora I love, but mostly because she's spunky in the forest scene and I adore Prince Phillip and his horse. Cinderella is another one who dreamed of a better life--and there's nothing wrong with dreams. I'd be very worried if my girls or my boys had no dreams, hopes for the future. Because the best laid plans started out as dreams.

And everything has to start somewhere.

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