Enough with the Princess Hate!

Sasha Brown-Worsham
Being a Mom

Halloween has long been my favorite holiday -- a day of candy, scares and family. What could be better?

It is also, for my 3.5-year-old daughter, a day of princess play. But then, what day isn't? My daughter is the Queen of the Princesses (is there such a thing?). She loves pink, purple and all princess, all the time

From the second she walks in the door at night, she demands to put on her princess dress. She loves to wear it to the mall and apple picking and just about anywhere we will let her get away with wearing it.

I don't have a problem with it and I don't think being girly ruins girls or makes them think they need men or have to dress skimpily.  But, among my educated, urban peers, I am often alone in this.

According to the Vancouver Sun:

Little girls have always swanned around in mom's cast-off party frocks while pretending to boss the staff. But observers are concerned about what princess culture is doing to little girls. And what will happen when little princesses grow up to be insufferable adolescents and adults who demand constant adulation and access to a bottomless pot of spending money. 
Countless essays and blog posts are dedicated to the bashing of "princess culture" and all things pink. Somehow eschewing all "girly things" -- Barbies, nail polish, lipstick and play heels -- makes you a better feminist and your daughter will be smarter, more well-rounded and less promiscuous than the daughters who dabble in Belle and Cinderella and wear ball gloves to pizza night.

I say enough is enough.

I am a feminist with a master's degree who has traveled the world and volunteers and reads countless books and newspapers and literary magazines who also thinks it is OK if my daughter wants to be called Cinderella sometimes.

It's cute.

Who says princesses have to be waited on hand and foot? The other day my daughter asked for chores, "like Cinderella." Yes, seriously. And moreover, she is learning that being a "princess" also includes volunteering and being magnanimous and giving because that is what we tell her. "Princess culture" is what you make it.

I think it is fine that she worships at the altar of purple and wants to wear sparkly things and "something beautiful" every morning. She is a girly girl who also loves to pretend sword fight, climb trees, run faster than the boys and wrestle.

She is herself. She is no princess stereotype. She doesn't think a boy has to rescue her. She often rescues her brother herself (or captures him, depending on her mood). She is no shrinking violet and even though I cringe on occasion when we watch Snow White (who really is the worst of the insipid Disney princesses), my daughter is not learning to be woman from her.

She is not learning to be a woman from Belle or Cinderella or Mulan or Jasmine, either. She is learning from me -- a writer who is not afraid to have an opinion. She is learning from her grandmother -- a successful lawyer. And she is learning from the countless other strong, opinionated, independent women she sees around her.

So if my daughter enjoys a little sparkle and blue nail polish, if she wants to try my lipstick on just to play around or teeter in my stilettos in the foyer, I am going to let her. It is cute and it is fun and it is harmless.

My daughter will still be a woman who can kick booty and the reason I know this is because she already is.

Do you worry about "princess culture"?

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