Way back when, before I had kids, I judged parents who let their daughter be consumed by princesses and princess culture. I thought, “Why would parents let their daughters look up to these helpless women as role models?” In my mind, they were demoting a woman’s ability and showing their daughters that they needed a man to save them or take care of them. This would NEVER happen in my house! Ha ha ha! Well, we all know how THAT fairy tale ended. Karma played a huge joke on me, and now I have one daughter who insists on wearing a princess crown wherever she goes and another that is sure to follow in her footsteps. I mean, the baby already shows a preference to Cinderella.
From the time she was born, we told our family not to give our oldest princess gifts or anything like that. We wanted to encourage gender-neutral play and let her know that she could play with cars or trucks or whatever other toy she wanted. This worked out really well for a while. Her favorite movie was Cars. She begged for Lightning McQueen gear, which we happily provided. When my mom tried to give her a Sleeping Beauty pillow case, I told her thanks but no thanks. She had a nice selection of colorful wooden toys, puzzles and shape-sorters. Life stayed this way until she started going to an all-girls preschool. Now, I’m not blaming the all-girls environment on her change in taste. It’s just that up to this point, her best friend was a boy and she had no knowledge of anything princess related. Peer pressure is real, y’all!
It started slowly. First it was asking to watch a princess movie. Next it was strolling down the princess aisle at Target. Soon it was asking for a princess crown. Then it was a dress. And the dolls that go with it. And the random accessories that they sell so your daughter can be Snow White. I don’t remember when it happened but at some point, we decided that some fights are just not worth it. Yeah I was slightly sad that my daughter wanted all things princess, but it also made me see something else. Through all this worry that princesses were corrupting her, I failed to see that these same princesses were also making her use her imagination.
She loves to dress up and engage in dramatic play. She comes up with story lines and everything. Usually she is the Princess and I get to be the Evil Stepmother or Witch (gee, thanks kid). We have a set of Little People princesses and she will sit with them for a long while, lining them up and placing them just so and then acting out story lines with them. Sometimes the princesses are at school. Other times they are getting ready for bed. Sometimes Ariel is the Mama and Cinderella is the Sweetie. She uses her huge set of wooden blocks to build complicated towers for the princesses to live in. So yeah, my daughter has been “swallowed” by a princess but at the same time, those princesses have sparked an imaginative streak in her that I love watching grow. Not to mention the outfits she chooses to go out in are pretty cute. There are not many days where we leave the house without princess crowns on. And that is not a bad thing.