Saturday, November 5, 2011

Future Princess

My daughter, Sarah was asked at pre-school what she wanted to be when she grew up. She answered "A princess!" They traced their silhouettes out on butcher paper and hung them up in the classroom. Some people may groan at this but not me. If you have daughters you have undoubtedly been inundated with the Disney Princess culture. Every store carries every imaginable princess item from socks to pencils to toothbrushes. Fact is, it is great marketing. Unfortunately in the media there isn't many Supergirls to look up to and no cartoons that I can think of other than Wordgirl that demonstrate that a girl can be smart AND tough.

Many of you have probably read Peggy Orenstein's "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" and while these portrayals in the long run may hurt our daughters I say embrace your little princess while you can. It's cute and your daughter will love playing princess with her Daddy King. Being a teacher who has taught K-8 kids and later high school kids that transformation from your little princess to hardened Daria-type teenager may eventually happen. What is important now is that you establish a bond that will transgress time and maintain that bond with your daughter through the years.

My favorite princess is Belle because she loves books, believes in the good in all people, and she is an independent thinker. You can take what you see are good attributes in these princesses and highlight what is important. Listen, every girl loves to be a princess. It starts with prom, cotillions, weddings etc. Millions of grown women who tuned into the Royal Wedding at 3-4 in the morning can't be wrong. There is just something about that fairytale mystique that draws us in. It's true that media portrays a false sense of identity for women today. Lots of girls will look at themselves and compare what they see with what they think society is deemed beautiful. It's our job to stress to our daughters that it is important to be ourselves and not change because other people want us to look a certain way.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my little princess while I can and even though she won't want me to call her that in 10 years at least I can think of this time we have together in our royal court.

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