When I was a little girl, I was a princess.
I rode bikes that I dreamed to be horses and snuck my momma’s jewelry out of her room to pretend I was marrying a prince. My brother became a dragon on many occasions and I slayed him with wit and a plastic sword and then I built a fort where I made my baby dolls pretend cookies and wrapped the hurt paws of my stuffed animals.
I was a princess.
I was kind and pure and fierce. Sometimes I was rescued by a prince but sometimes I did the rescuing, tromping through the woods behind our house. I believed in magic. I was beautiful in sparkly dress-up clothes and my brother’s camoflauge pants alike.
My mother never feared that this play would turn me into a damsal in distress, getting my MRS. degree from school and becoming a doormat of vanity. She saw it as play, development of character, a branch of femininity in my world of big brothers and GI Joe. She bought me princess movies and never worried that I would take them to heart as a rule for my life (she worried about that with Pretty Woman, when I got the “prostitution isn’t glamorous, Beth Anne!” speech). She balanced Snow White with Girl Scouts and a pink room and fort-building, hammering home that I could be anything I wanted to be while the princesses I adored taught me lessons on who I wanted to be:
Cinderella taught me to be kind to animals and generous to those that do me wrong.
Ariel taught me to stand up for who I want to be, even to the parents that I love so much.
Belle taught me to be open-minded, to love the unloveable.
Mulan and Nala showed me that I could run with the boys.
Jasmine taught me that people are people, no matter if they live in a castle or a slum.
Princesses don’t mean spoiled divas. They don’t mean vanity. Let little girls be brave and beautiful and special. Let her decide what she loves without projecting your own opinions because that is how you teach a little girl that she can be whatever she wants, believe what she wants, and stand up for what she believes.
That’s the power and truth of a real princess.
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