Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Cinderella Myth, Part Two

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... oh, wait, wrong tale.

Yesterday, I blogged about the whole Cinderella thing being a myth, and how we, as women, can never magically transform into the beautiful princess without a lot of hard work. And perhaps a Pinterest mishap or two. This is more about why I have a problem with the idea of princesses, especially in terms of my young daughter.

When I was young and idealistic, I had the notion that I would not inundate my daughter with princess stuff. When my son was born, I was happy that I would not have to tell people, "No, we don't do princess stuff." The Disney princess machine was huge at this point, and I was happy with our Thomas the Train, and not having to ban princesses.

Then I had a daughter. And, by the age of two, she was naturally gravitating towards anything and everything princess.

Why, you might ask, would I have a problem with princesses?

There are two main things.

Actually three. Three main things.

1. I don't want my daughter thinking that she would need a man to swoop in and save her. She is a capable, smart, savvy person, and she can use her own brains and strengths (whether it is muscular strength or cunning and cleverness) to help herself. She does not need a dopey prince to slay any dragons for her. She can handle it herself.

2. I don't want my daughter thinking that it is as simple as "and they all lived happily ever after." It is not that simple. Marriage, and life in general, take a lot of hard work. There is no fairy tale ending. Even when people are happy together, it is because they have worked hard at it.

3. This is the big one. There are women who proclaim themselves "princesses." You see them on reality TV shows like Bridezillas, Real Housewives, Dance Moms and Say Yes to the Dress. There is a whole generation of women who feel that they should be treated as royalty at all times. These are horrible, horrible women. I do not EVER want my daughter prancing around with this sense of entitlement and attitude. Respect and good treatment are not givens. They are earned through good deeds, kindness and selflessness. I do not want my daughter thinking that she deserves some kind of special treatment just because she is.

I hope that through my behavior and actions, I am steering her on the right course. She, at the age of 6, has informed me that she is "soooo over princesses." However, at the age of 5, she was certainly happy to partake in the princess makeover at the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique in Disney World. It was her birthday surprise, and she did love it. She also loved that, for that day, every person we walked by wished her happy birthday. It was her birthday, and she certainly did feel special. She did not expect the same treatment afterwards (although I think her 6th birthday was a bit of a let down). I hope that she is well liked and respected, not because of her clothes or sparkles, but because of her sparking wit and clever ideas. Those gems are as rare as the crown jewels.

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