If you knew me before I became a mom, then you’d know that I was pretty anti-princess. I swore up and down that my daughter wouldn’t fall prey to the gender stereotypes of pink and purple butterfly fairy sparkles. There would be no “girl toys” or tutus or licensed characters lingering about, but above all there was no way there would ever be any princesses. I was a princess hater after all.
I always saw princesses as weak. They were pretty and sweet, but not all that capable and seemed to spend most of their time concerned with fancy dresses and waiting around to be saved by a prince. While I wouldn’t be sad if my daughter turned out to be a pretty and sweet girl, I also want her to know that she’s more than just a pretty face and that she can do anything she wants and doesn’t need to wait around for prince charming to help her do it. While I do hope she finds her true love one day, I don’t want her to buy into the idea that she needs another person to be fulfilled. I want her to be a strong, smart and capable girl.
But despite my best efforts to shield her from princess culture, the color pink and all things girly, she seems to have found them on her own… almost through osmosis or something. As her little personality is emerging, she is showing me that she has a mind of her own and she plans to like what she likes.
Things like… the color pink (her favorite) and Ariel from The Little Mermaid (the sun rises and sets with her despite the fact that she’s never even seen the movie). She loves playing with dolls 24/7, scoffs at most of the gender neutral learning toys I have painstakingly chosen for her and girly dresses are kind of her thing. The other day when I put that dress in the photo on her, she did a little twirl and said, “Mama, I look as pretty as a princess!”
Honestly, I have no idea where she ever got that because my husband and I have never referred to her as a princess and go out of our way to compliment her on things other than her appearance. But you know what? I’m OK with it. This is who she is and what she enjoys and I will embrace it because it makes her little toddler heart happy. Does that mean I won’t ever buy her another building set or that all of her clothes will start being purchased in shades of pink? No. But, it does mean that I will not squelch her little spirit with my preconceived notions about what a strong girl should look like. She’s actually a pretty tough kid and I don’t think wearing pink or playing with princesses is going to change that.
Besides… princesses are changing too. While they might still have fantastic hair and wear great dresses, they are strong and capable and don’t spend their days just waiting around to be rescued anymore (I’m looking at you: Brave, Anna and Elsa) and that’s something I can totally get behind. I’ve also been really impressed with Disney Junior’s show Sofia the First, which we’ve been watching lately (Fern discovered it through watching the commercials preceding another show we watch). I love how they focus on inner beauty and making good choices. These are things I want my daughter to learn and I’ve realized it doesn’t matter if princesses help in that learning process. And even if they don’t… I’ll be here to fill in the gaps and we’ll have some good conversations about other strong women too.
So, you be you little girl, and I’ll be here… along for the ride.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.