Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reclaim the Princess

Reclaiming the Princess
Mulan is NOT a Princess lol
I want to start out with a disclaimer: I am not saying Princess Culture isn’t a bad thing. It totally can be, sexism and equality are ALWAYS things women will struggle with and this is depressing. However I think that treating little girls (or boys) who want to be a Princess with an attitude of negativity is not quite the way to handle things either.

Recently on websites like jezebel and other liberal and feminist sites I see a TON of princess bashing. Negative statements in regards to girls who like princesses and topics that are anti-princess.

Sure when I hear Princess I think, pink, ball gown, crown, prince charming, sparkles…But I also think, fairy tale, strong, independent and powerful, make believe. (Key Word Here)
As a mother it is up to me to explain to my daughters that being a princess is fine as long as the word BEAUTIFUL does not define who and what you are.

Children should be allowed to play with what they want (provided it is not dangerous or inappropriate i.e mom and dad’s sex toys lol) and idolize who they want. As parents it is our job to make sure WE are teaching our children values and morals and not allowing TV and movies to do it for us.

My youngest daughter loves Pocahontas but she also thinks Doctor Who is bad ass.
My eldest daught
er loves Barbie and Sleeping Beauty; she also wants to be like Abby from NCIS. Who am I, or anyone else, to tell her that she can’t like Princesses because they are demoralizing and anti-feminist blah blah blah.

As a feminist myself I take offense to women who say things negative against Disney princesses and other princess paraphernalia. I grew up on Disney and my body issues don’t have anything to do with Snow White’s little waist, they are more about the covers of magazines I used to see in all the stores and being told fat girls are not pretty. I actually enjoyed the times I could lose myself in a fairy tale…because the girls all seemed to have happy endings.

Now I know what you’re saying…They all end up with Prince Charming, doesn’t this reinforce the damsel in distress mentality, that all women need a man?

I guess it can…I mean if the only thing your kid EVER watches/reads/listens to is stories where the princess is rescued and gets married. (Though that’s just love and there is nothing wrong with WANTING to get married and have a family).

As a young girl I also liked She-ra, Rainbow Bright, Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, at no time did I go:

“Huh I wish I was fighting a war where no one can know who I really am. I wish I could poop colored lights, Man it would be SWEET to have an umbrella that talked back and gee wiz I sure wanna be a Spinster with a mean cat.” (Okay MAYBE that last one.)

Stop taking the princess thing so seriously! They are fairy tales! They are cartoons; they are simply for pleasure and enjoyment. If you really are worried about your daughter thinking she can only be pretty and rescued then introduce some stronger female role models into her life and tell her she can have both. Women can be whoever they want to be, love whoever they want to and do whatever they want to do.

So fight back for the Princess! Take it back, own it! Like in the Vagina Monologues and Reclaiming Cunt, Reclaim Princess, it can be what you want it to be, it doesn’t have to be the image of the pretty stupid girl who is constantly waiting for some man to save her and has to be thin and perky.

She can be a Zombie Princess ( my daughter was one year), Princess of the Dinosaurs, Princess of Bath Time…or better yet she can be QUEEN…Remember, Princesses usually become Queens, and Queens are AWESOME.

The following is a list I created of Disney Princesses and why I think they are a good role modelS. These are my personal opinions BTW. When I mention skills like cooking and cleaning please do not be offended. I think EVERYONE should have these skill sets.

Snow White- survives a night in the woods by being resourceful and using her skills talking to animals to for help, has skills: cooking and cleaning, tames and puts up with seven angry dirty men, has a good kind heart and is friendly.

Sleeping Beauty- is rebellious and does her own thing, even if that is simply dancing and making animal friends, is friendly, is kind, doesn’t want to conform to rules, i.e. freaks when told she has a destiny she HAS to follow, I mean WTF. Wears blue.

Jazmine- outspoken, sarcastic, smart, witty, doesn’t like to obey predestined rules. She is passionate and friendly, loves her father. Like, she runs away and tries to take control of her own life! (Not that we want our kids to run away, but you get the drift.)

Ariel- has hobbies, doesn’t want to conform to society, makes friends easily, enjoys figuring things out for herself, a rebel. (Yes, yes…a girl giving up her voice for a man LAME…But come on she is only like 16! Who doesn’t do stupid stuff at SOME point?)

Cinderella- hard worker, she does what needs to be done…I mean she might not like her living arrangement but she makes the most out of a bad situation, makes friends, is kind even when others are horrible to her. Has a good skill set; cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for farm animals. (Even I can’t do that.)

Rapunzel- reads, sews, plays chess, climbs, paints, pottery, candle making, cooks, cleans…She does IT ALL. She is educated, interesting and adventurous while still being sweet, selfless, friendly and fierce. (Plus she has gotta be a weight lifter with all that HAIR!)

Tiana - sarcastic, has common sense, has business sense, she is friendly, though a little more abrupt than some of the other princesses and has her feet planted in the ground…No nonsense attitude. (Doesn’t believe in magic at first, even while a FROG is talking to her.)

Merida- active, strong, passionate, a little too rebellious, she can take care of herself, though she really needed to take at least SOME time to brush her hair. She has hobbies, she is athletic, and she is fearless. (Needed to respect her mom a bit more though…)

Pocahontas- strong, she knows her own mind, she loves animals and equality, she can take care of herself and enjoys nature. She is peaceful and loving but knows there is a time to take control; she is a bit wild and rebellious, knows how to row a canoe and swim. (Doesn’t wind up with a Prince or any love interest at the end of the first movie.)

Belle- a reader, quiet, introverted, friendly, kind, good natured, a bit rough around the edges, likes to explore, wants adventure, doesn’t flip her lid at the talking furniture, keeps her word. (Rescues her prince instead of the other way around.)

Sure they all have some issues…but this is just like REAL PEOPLE. They also are not the only fictional Princesses out there, some are even more awesome….Princesses do NOT have to be like Bella from Twilight.

Princess Leia (Star Wars)
Princess Mia (Princess Diaries)
Princess Fiona (Shrek)
Princess Ozma (Oz)
Princess Buttercup (Princess Bride0
Princess Cimorene (Enchanted Forest Chronicles)
Princess Anya (Anastasia)
Princess Odette (The Swan Princess)
Princess Adora ( She-ra)
Xena Warrior Princess

And again if you need some perspective think about this.
If your daughter loved my little ponies would you have the same issues? There are Princesses in that too. It’s all pink and sparkly and very much geared towards little girls. Honestly I would rather watch Little Mermaid than another episode of My Little Ponies…Twilight Sparkle, yuck.

If your son played with GI Joes would you worry that all he thought men were capable of was fighting, battle and other macho habits?

In the end children need to grow up knowing that everyone is equal and we can all do whatever we want with our lives…Whether we idolize Snow White or Jem (did I just date myself?). Whether we are into Monster High or Barbie (My eldest likes both!). Teaching children the difference between play time and real life is a parent’s job…just let them be kids…

Here are some links. Most are doing what I mentioned at the front of my blog. Taking a Stand that this thing called Princess Culture is Horrible.

Raising a boy in Princess Culture

Standing up for the Princess (Kind of)

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I think you're right on with so many things. Those hateful articles that have popped up recently bother me as well. This is a great TED talk that I was reminded of when I read this:
    I actually wrote a little post about it that I'm putting up tomorrow. Anyway, thanks for the thoughts!


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