Princess Power…

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So, I’m not a big fan of this whole princess thing. I swore my daughter would never wear a clothing item with that appalling appellation running across the chest or bottom in great glittering entitled pink letters.

And I’ve been really happy that, since she hasn’t watched a movie yet I’ve kind of avoided the whole thing. Well, I thought I would be avoiding it. You see, no one told my daughter we were avoiding it.

And my daughter is a princess. She loves princesses. Someone got a Disney storybook for her birthday a few years back and there are princesses in it, but they do more normal things like Sleeping Beauty and the fairies pick blueberries, and Belle fixes a ladder in Beast’s castle. My daughter’s favorite, of course, is the one where Tiana bakes the beignets and there are all these luscious pictures of beignets dusted with powdered sugar, and she manages to get a second job because of these amazing beignets. We both like that one. These are the princess stories I can get behind.

I just really don’t want to do my daughter the disservice of creating expectations for a lopsided partnership. Life is messy and relationships look more like Anna and Kristoff back to back fighting abominable snowmen than it looks like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White waiting in ageless perfection for true love’s kiss to begin her life.

So I was slightly appalled at Disneyland last week when my daughter kept coming back to the Sleeping Beauty figurine set, complete with Prince Philip, a wedding dress, and a small picture frame shaped like a heart with Prince Philip’s face in it. Blech! I distracted, I suggested, I showed her all the other beautiful things but I couldn’t ignore the fact that she kept coming back to this one. Ugh.

I don’t want my daughter to have storybook romance misconceptions, but I don’t want to create issues where there are none. Little girls like dresses and romance and boys who are willing to fight for them. I get that. That’s my story, too. But I want to allow her the freedom to create her own vision of what this great romance is going to look like for her.

So, since it was her choice and within the allotted price I allowed her to buy it.

Within minutes of it being opened in the car the back seat was full of giggles as Prince Philip and Aurora found themselves in the embarrassing situation of being caught in their underwear. I rubbed my forehead. What had I done?

And today I let her get out the whole set and all the little pieces are strewn all over and finally Aurora is dressed in her cottage dress with bare feet and Prince Philip’s photograph is looped over her hand. Ugh.

Then…

“Look,” she says to her brother, “She’s got a shield.”

She thought it was a shield. Bless my little girl’s heart, she used that picture frame like a shield for the rest of the afternoon and fought tirelessly against her brother’s new Darth Vader figurine.

I heard my son say, “I think it’s supposed to be a picture frame.”

“Hush,” I said, “she can use it like a shield if she wants to.”

Because that’s what I want love to be for my daughter, a powerful shield, an active defense against the dark side of the galaxy. Yes, not to passively pine, but to fearlessly wield. In that way she will not waste time sleeping, but be my Fighting Beauty.

Wield love, my girl, in its many forms! Fight for it like it fights for you!

5 responses »

  1. I am going to send Lucy her own little tiara to wear around the house so she can hone her princess skills more complete! Shields be damned!!!

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  2. Do you have a copy of “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch? Excellent picture book for little girls AND boys, to re-frame the concept of a princess. -Amy

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