Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why I Finally Gave In To Disney Princesses

Cinderella & Her Mouse
I was never opposed to Disney Princesses... but I did make a conscious effort not to push my daughter towards them. I wanted her to figure out on her own what she liked, with as little influence as possible from culture's preconceived notions on what a little girl should  like. I wanted to see what she was drawn to, whether it was cars, trucks and trains, dinosaurs, pirates, Curious George... or Princesses. And for the first 3 years of my daughter's life, she happened to steer clear of Princesses. She would see them from time to time, but she never clung to the idea like I saw so many girls doing. And that made me happy - not because I thought there was anything wrong with the other little girls dressing up in Princess dresses or wearing little tiaras, but because I liked the idea that Paige was making up her own mind. I patted myself on the back for officially bypassing the Disney marketing machine.

That is until one day this summer... I picked my daughter up from my gym's child care area and she was just beaming - "Mommy! I played princesses and it was so much fun! I love princesses now!" The next morning as we were getting dressed to head to the gym, Paige picked out the most ruffley and pink dress she owned "so my friend will want to play princess with me again - I want to look pretty like a princess!" My heart sank a little - 1. she already thought she had to dress a certain way for kids to play with her : ( and 2. she only thought she was pretty if she dressed like a princess. I held my tongue and smiled and told her what I always do - "You are pretty inside and out. Your kind heart is your prettiest part!" Well - things didn't go as expected at the gym for my little Princess. Ends up her new "friend" was in a bad mood and didn't want to play Princesses or anything or that matter with my daughter. Paige was heartbroken - she had dressed the part... was she not a good enough Princess? That was 4 months ago, and Paige has still never worn that dress again.

And even though that friendship didn't stick, her new fascination with Princesses did. I couldn't fight it anymore. BUT - I could influence her mindset towards Princesses. Yes, they were pretty with long flowing hair, big eyes, skinny waists and always lived "Happily Ever After". However, they had more to offer my little, impressionable 3 year old daughter. Because I'm not going to tell my daughter she can't play with princesses or watch princess movies - just like I wouldn't tell her she couldn't play with trucks or read dinosaur books. So I started talking to her about how Princesses are BRAVE, KIND, STRONG-MINDED & INDEPENDENT. How they love to SING & DANCE. How they MAKE MISTAKES & ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. How they often have HUGE HEARTS & LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. And - thankfully - it is starting to stick. Yes, she still wants to dress up in fancy Princess costumes (definitely not the shunned pink ruffely dress though!), but she climbs tot he top of the sofa and jumps off while dressed in them - "Just like a Princess does, Mommy!" And that makes my girl-power heart happy.