Little girls are so precious!
Well, I think this is the ‘mother of all understatements’. They are indeed- PRICELESS! I know, my opinion here is (very) biased as I have a little girl myself. But, come on, you can’t disagree! They are, no doubt, little princesses of our little universe.
And then there are these other princesses: Disney princesses, to be precise. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle, Tiana, Ariel, Jasmine, etc etc etc. They are all young, charming, beautiful, slim, well-dressed, well-groomed, long-haired princesses. They are fragile. They are flawless. And they are all just plain nice!
When our little princesses look at these princesses and read about them, they start to adore them and look up to them. (They are hard to miss, believe me, they are everywhere!). Our little girls want to be like them, dress like them, look like them. They become their definition of perfection.
Now, here’s where the problem is, I think. Why do none of the princesses have any pimples? Ever? How come I have never seen any one of them eat vegetables or any healthy food for that matter? Whenever in trouble, why do they sit in a corner and cry? Why does every princess HAS TO HAVE a prince charming to save her. SAVE HER FROM WHAT? Why aren’t they portrayed as bold? Or courageous? Or strong? Why aren’t they independent? Why are they all so vulnerable?
This. And magic. These so called princesses can solve all their ‘problems’ with a smooth wave of a magic wand! I know, kids must have fantasies and must create their own imaginary wonderlands; and characters in books and stories help them do so (immensely). But sometimes, I think, there’s got to be a balance. We can’t teach our kids to fit perfection in boxes, can we?
When, the other day, my 3 ½ yr old started to talk about how she would wait for her prince charming, something just didn’t strike the right chords in me. I usually brush off her silly talks (NOT silly to her, btw), but I couldn’t resist telling her that she can be a princess WITH OR WITHOUT a prince charming.
When she wears a nice dress she says, mommy now I’m a princess. I tell her, no. Dresses DO NOT make you a princess, your deeds do, and you ARE my princess, no matter what you wear. She sometimes waves her toy wand (yes, I got her one, go figure!) and pretends to clean up her room … hoping that all her toys and books, strewn all over, would gladly go sit in their designated places by themselves. No, I tell her, no, that’s not how it works.
I know, I’m a little bit at fault here too. When she was very little, it was me who read to her princess books and put cute little dresses on her. I didn’t realize how quickly (and impression-ably) things leave an influence on a toddler’s mind! So, it was me who kinda integrated her imaginations with reality.
I hope as she grows up, I can again pull the two apart enough so she can tell fantasies from reality. (That said, I haven’t divulged yet that Santa Claus is not for real; don’t plan to- for a few more years!). I don’t want to raise a Disney princess. I want to raise a REAL one. She has to live in the real world, after all, and not in Disneyland. And hopefully, happily ever after 😀 (for whatever that means!).