There’s a lot of chatter these days about princesses and pink and glitter and the effects of raising our girls in an environment with false expectations disguised as white horses. And I get it. I truly do. There’s nothing I want less than to parent an entitled, corset-crazed daughter who seeks dependence from a fairy or a frog or a prince, no matter how charming he might be. But here’s the thing:
The princesses will come. They will prance into the lives of our daughters whether we like it or not, through stickers offered by teachers, dolls borrowed from friends, playhouse canopies gifted by grandparents (bless their glitter-obsessed hearts, those dear grandparents). It’s inevitable. Might we focus our efforts away from controlling the infestation and, instead, see the pixie dust as an opportunity to have a conversation with our daughters about women and dreams and authenticity?
Growing up, my mother allowed my older sisters and me to watch the movie Grease at a very young age. The plot was lost on us all, but the songs and the emotion and the drama swallowed us whole. By the end of the move, we were ready to break open our piggy banks and pool our money for a pair of black leather pants – one size fits tight, please.
And as the closing credits rolled, she flipped off the VCR, turned to our couch-sprawled bodies and said this:
“May you never change for a man. Girls, remember who you are.”
Since that moment, I’ve seen the movie countless times – on weekends and airplanes and in the background of late-night bachelorette parties. And I always think of my mother’s wise words, and the fact that she seized an opportunity to work with society’s modern day media trends – rather than against them.
As parents, we may not always agree with the message behind pumpkin carriages or magic carpet rides or poisoned apples. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s not our job to agree with the message. It’s not even our job to control it.
It is, however, our job to provide a perspective and a reaction and an insight for our daughters (and sons). It is our job to play the cards we’re dealt, even when those cards arrive in a pink, glittered shrink wrap set with a princess-printed bow.
We’ll always have princesses and we’ll always have frogs. But sometimes, if we’re wise and patient and steadfast? Sometimes we get to play the white horse.