Fasten on your tiaras, y'all, it is National Princess Week! Now, I know what you're thinking. Do we really need a National Princess Week?
Well, let me ask you something. Do we really need a National Grilled Cheese Month? Because we have one, and we are in the midst of it folks. So why not a princess week? As the left-leaning, progressive mother of a 6-year-old girl, I will be celebrating with her! And you're never going to guess who agrees with me.
Yup, one of the great women of stage and screen and a role model to women everywhere is right on board with Princess Week. Heck, she's the woman Disney and Target picked as the face of the whole she-bang. In part it's marketing shtick. Andrews starred in The Princess Diaries and its successor, which have been released on Blu-Ray this week in honor of the 10th anniversary (yikes, has it really been that long?). She's also co-author, with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, of The Very Fairy Princess books, a series that has offered an alternate definition of what it means to be raising a little princess, and the latest is being sold at ... you guessed it.
More from The Stir: Cure Your Daughter of 'Princess Syndrome' in Seconds
But here's the thing, folks. Princess has become a loaded term in our society. It's seen as somehow anti-feminist. It's been linked to the war on women and the means by which the patriarchy holds us back. And that makes life pretty dang hard for us moms of little girls who love the whole princess thing. We're NOT bad parents. We just don't believe that liking princesses is ruining our daughters. We're trying to redefine what the word means. Or to be more precise, we're taking the reins back on how society defines the princess ... and we're using this week to help us.
I'm celebrating on behalf of a little girl who prefers to see life in many shades of pink instead of the black and white of the princess-hating moms. I'm grabbing hold of the word "princess" and using the positive personality traits it has long represented to teach my daughter what makes a good person.
Honesty. Grace. Kindness.
Ironically, Andrews first book is one that helped liberal old me come around to my daughter's obsession with all things glittery, pink, and princessy. Its main character was exactly the kind of kid I'm raising: a girl with skinned knees and droopy socks who still thinks she's a princess. When I snagged a few minutes to chat with her about National Princess Week (and the new Very Fairy Princess book, which takes little Gerry to my daughter's dream world ... a family wedding), I asked her why she's signed on for this project when so many people are "down on princesses." Here's what she had to say:
Maybe they're not thinking about the aspect of what princesses do, what their obligations are. I think if a book is about being a princess and being all dressed up and above the world and very grand and so on, that's probably not appropriate. Certainly, I don't feel that's appropriate.
But if you are writing about a princess that works hard and tries very much to be aware of what it is she does for her country and for her people, really follows her responsibilities well, then I think that's not a bad thing.
And what about the more fanciful look at princesses? The movies? The kiddie stuff with the pink and the sparkles? Andrews has a message for moms about that too:
We're celebrating the uniqueness of every little girl. Our character says anybody can be anything you want to be; you just have to let your sparkle out. And our theme is what makes you sparkle?
It's not about the trappings of being a princess; it's more about the inner aspect of what it is a princess is and feels, how generous she has to be, how decent she has to be, how gracious and hard-working.
If that's the message we can send to little girls with a princess week, I'm on board. And if they want to serve grilled cheese at their princess-y tea parties, all the better!
What do you think about a National Princess Week?
Image by Jeanne Sager