Parenting. It can be a real piece of work these days. Don’t do this, don’t watch that, princesses are ‘evil.’ For some reason, this lifelong fan of Snow White found myself turning against princesses once I became a mom. Peer pressure?
When LadyP busted into our lives, people would sweetly comment, “Oh what a little princess!” Inside, I would seethe. She is NOT a little princess. Princesses don’t know how to DO anything, and that is NOT what my daughter will be like! Same thing happened when LilMiss came around. Don’t call her a princess…. you’ll turn her into a brat! (Looking back, I think I was just sleep deprived enough to get offended about innocent comments. Not to mention all the anti-princess pressure in this modern-mom world.)
Take those toddlers with their moms at Starbucks decked out as Belle: Do you really need to wear a gown to go with mommy on an errand? Give me a break. (This coming from someone who absolutely adores Disneyland… Just ask my mom how I once embarrassed her at the Wishing Well outside of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I digress.)
Princesses: So cliche. Overly pink. Antiquated. Not good for modern little girls. Period.
Back then, I didn’t get it.
Cut to my life at this moment: We are obsessed about all-things princesses at our house. Sofia started it all with LadyP (the now-3 year old) and LilMiss (the 19-month old) has quickly caught on. Aurora solidified it. Belle took it to another level. We all sing and dance to the songs. We watch the movies without moving a muscle. We’ve memorized lines from the movies and interject them into regular conversation. We dress in gowns all day long. We play with their castles. We buy paper plates with their pictures on them. We piece them together in puzzles that are way over my head. WE. ARE. PRINCESS. FANS.
AND I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT. (Almost as much as Snow White loved her Prince.)
Ariel is our latest mentor. I recently took LadyP to Hollywood’s famous El Capitan Theater (my old stomping grounds during my entertainment reporter days) to see the limited run of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (in 3D!) as a 3rd birthday surprise. It was our first major full-length film in a theater where you actually had to sit in a chair for a whole 90 minutes. With a ‘Sofia-Sing-Along!’ pre-show and an ‘Ariel, Live On Stage!’ finale… she was MESMERIZED. I witnessed my little lady sing the entire ‘Part of Your World’ – lyric for lyric, out loud – right there in the dark with her popcorn on her lap. Instead of keeping my eyes on the screen, I just watched my little girl and cried (and then leaned down to tell her that if she wanted to sing in a movie theater, she had to whisper because there were other people there to enjoy the movie also).
As my daughter unabashedly sang from her heart, there it was: PURE INNOCENCE, HAPPINESS AND HOPE. What every mom wishes she could preserve for as long as possible for her children.
All my fears about ‘petty princess influences’ for my daughters melted away. Sure, there’s the whole waiting-for-prince-charming-to-start-your-life danger zone… but we forget that princess stories also offer happy endings. In a world where happy endings seem to generally be too few and far between, I WANT MY GIRLS TO REMEMBER THAT HAPPY ENDINGS *ARE* POSSIBLE.
As moms, we spend so much time consciously (and rightfully) trying to raise our daughters to be emotionally-strong, independent, accomplished, smart, self-sufficient and capable of handling whatever life throws their way… I fear we’ve forgotten about the hope for happy endings part. It’s ok to have hope that your life will turn out great. It’s ok to have hope that you will meet your own handsome prince and start a family. It’s ok to have hope that things will shake out how they’re meant to be. It’s ok to have hope that you will one day live a great home with lots and lots of flowers around you. We all know the reality of life is challenging, but HOPE is the thing that gets us through those storms.
Pick any princess story and you will find HOPE for something ‘more’ or ‘better’ at the very core: Sofia teaches us to do nice things for others. Aurora teaches us that your life can still turn around no matter what b!tch has placed a curse on you. Belle teaches us to be nice to everybody, no matter what they may look like. Merida [from Brave] teaches us to appreciate your mommy. Ariel teaches us to believe in what you want your life to become, even if others don’t. (We haven’t met Cinderella yet at this house, but hopefully she’ll teach us to not waste too much money on expensive shoes – even if they are made of crystal – because you never know when you may lose one at some random party.)
So what if princesses have fancy jewelry and rock perfect hair (the fantasy of perfect hair never hurt anyone… and we all know how fabulous earrings can turn any bad day right around).
Poor princesses… I’ve been so wrong about them until now. Princesses are not evil. Anything that makes a little girl happy and hopeful in her still-innocent life is not “evil.” As far as I’m concerned: Belle, Tiana, Cinderella, Snow White, Merida, Sofia, Aurora, Rapunzel, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocohantas can babysit my girls anytime. (Please. I’m begging. Come over. I’d like to get a pedicure.)
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE: SHOULD WE FEAR PRINCESSES?
DISCLOSURE: I was graciously provided with 2 complimentary tickets to Disney’s El Capitan Theater for my daughter’s birthday. The opinions and experiences above are all mine. (And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I WILL be buying The Little Mermaid available on Blue-Ray this month… if for nothing else so that I can watch it.)