I’m told most three and four-year old girls go through a princess phase. My four-year old is most definitely preoccupied with being a princess. Zizi’s current fixation with princesses involves, but is not limited to, the following: the need to have long hair, the need to wear pink/high heels/dresses, the need to dance with a prince, and the need to live in a castle. I’m a parent and a (somewhat mellowed out) feminist and so I worry. Certainly to me, the idea of a princess waiting in a castle to be rescued seems outdated. But Disney has a zillion items with “Princess” stamped on them with pictures of older characters from Disney films (and even a new black princess) that ties back into that idea of a woman needing to be rescued by a man. It’s a common Disney theme – Cinderella, Snow White, the Little Mermaid, etc. Once upon a time, this feminist housewife enjoyed watching the Little Mermaid. A lot. For the music. Ahem.
Just today, Zizi said she was waiting for the prince to come so she could dance. My advice to her? Be your own prince. Don’t wait on anyone to do what you want. We have an old Cinderella book (from my days as a teacher – I know, excuses, excuses) and my version goes like this – Cinderella moved into the castle with her animal friends, studied hard, became a doctor and helped many, many people. The End. The thing is, I know the ‘princess’ ideal exists but I think it can be balanced out with other options – girls can like Spiderman – girls can wear blue – girls can be bad ass.
And what happens when she’s five, eight, or ten and she’s still loving being a princess? I’ll deal. And hope there’s a little bad ass thrown in there.
I think about myself raising two girls who have mixed backgrounds, who will become women and create a place for themselves in the world. If I’m really honest, “housewife” is not my ideal for them. I want them to challenge themselves. Push the ideal – bad ass princess or feminist housewife or anything in between. It goes beyond rejecting the predetermined formula of what it means to be a woman – I want them to have a fire inside of them. Burn my loves, buuuuuuurn!