My daughter is into princesses. Like, really into princesses. She wants to grow up to be a princess. I had to gently inform her that that wasn’t a viable career option. But, alas, she still wants to be one.
We clash every day over this. She has to wear pink and purple every day. She has to have her hair down even though it gets tangled and messy. Half the time she wants to wear a sundress to school even though it’s -30 degrees. And every day she informs me of what she wants to be for Halloween next, and it’s always some version of a princess.

The feminist in me cringes every time. She insists on watching the traditional princess movies where the young protagonist’s only goal is to find her prince and get married. My daughter plays a different version of the “getting married” game every day.

For a long time I just tried to discourage her from it. But then I stumbled upon the story of Princess Boy and his family’s struggle to accept it, and I thought wow I have it way easier! Claire is who she is – she loves pink, she loves dresses, she loves to be “fancy”, and visualizes all sorts of people and animals getting married and having families. I suppose I should take it as a good sign, that she loves our family, and wants all of her toys and stuffies to be married and have happy families.

It’s not that I have a problem with her liking dresses, or wanting to look pretty. Maybe she’ll be super girly her whole life, who knows? My problem with the princess narrative is that it is so one-dimensional. I know that women in general, and my girls, are capable of so much more than being a wife. I want them to grow up with their own preferences, and opinions, and not to be afraid to voice them. I want them to pursue whatever it is that makes them happy, whether that is being a ballerina, or being a mechanic. But I realised somewhere along the way that my need for her to look “proper” was already stifling her personality. I was already trying to change her instincts.

So, I stopped trying to convince her to wear different clothes every day, and my mornings are a lot less stressful. Sure, sometimes she goes to school looking like she got dressed blindfolded, but who cares? If you can’t get away with it when you’re 5, when can you? I let her talk about princesses, and marriage, and ask me questions about it. I also encourage her to be interested in other things, and try and emphasize self-sufficiency.

Plus, she is also obsessed with dinosaurs, and spiderman, so maybe there’s hope that she’ll grow out of the princess thing…

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4 Responses to Princesses…Really?!

  1. fojap says:

    “so maybe there’s hope that she’ll grow out of the princess thing…”

    She will. I remember when I was growing up feminists were personified by Billie Jean King and much of their efforts directed at kids had to do with girls sports. I just wasn’t athletic. I thought feminism had nothing to do with me. In fact, they were making me miserable. Eventually, I grew up, my thoughts become more subtle and I’ve been a feminist since about thirteen or fourteen. Furthermore, one of the most “girly” women I know is a physicist, so girly tastes can go hand in hand with other interests that are not traditionally feminine. Most of us like a mix of stuff. Who knows what her mix will be.


  2. Melody says:

    Honest, genuine words from a parent! Thanks for sharing!


  3. aschlady says:

    While I don’t have girls, I know that I would have a similar struggle with princess culture if I did have girls. I have a hard time going to girl baby showers because I think there is too much pink.

    Kids at this age are simply obsessive. At some point as a 3 year-old my oldest became obsessed with animals. For a while there he refused to wear any piece of clothing that didn’t have an animal on it. At 4-1/2 he is still pretty obsessed with animals. My youngest is not interested in animals at all… he’s obsessed with ninjas, knights and super-heroes.

    Thanks for being a window into the world of princesses 🙂


  4. SayNoToFeminism says:

    Your whole post reeks of hatefulness as being a parent. I don’t even know why you are one.

    “My daughter is into princesses. Like, really into princesses.”

    So? Feminists really confuse me to no end. I really don’t get you. You just said, “I want them to pursue whatever it is that makes them happy, whether that is being a ballerina, or being a mechanic.” — and yet you are calling her “obsessive” for wanting to play Princess and have dreams of being one. Didn’t you ever think that maybe this is what your daughter really likes to pursue? And no, I don’t mean royal blood Princess like the Duchess of Cambridge, but I mean, the NORMAL way that girls have in them: BEING GIRLS. Why are you so hateful about your daughter’s behaviour? Do you mean to say that what she is doing is wrong, and she is supposed to wear pants instead of skirts, and play with guns instead of dolls? Or better yet, dress up your daughter Rambo style if you want. I am confused. You say you are a feminist—FEMINIST WITHOUT THE FEMININITY IN IT. It’s like a group of females who fight for women’s rights but like, morphing themselves into men, so it turns out that what they are really aiming for is not to become women, but to become boys.

    “I know that women in general, and my girls, are capable of so much more than being a wife. I want them to grow up with their own preferences, and opinions, and not to be afraid to voice them.”

    Good Lord, SHE’S STILL A GIRL! Let her be an innocent child right now and CEASE trying to put your sick, twisted, disgusting “adult” notions into her and just let her be! She’s still a girl, and you’re already talking about how you think that your girls are so much more than being a wife. Wow. Talk about paranoia. You want them to grow up with their own preferences and opinions? She certainly DID talk to you about her own preferences and opinions. She just said she likes princessess and wants to be one. But did YOU listen to her? No. You just shushed her up and called her “obsessive” because you have this sick, twisted notion that girls who like dolls are ABNORMAL, and so girls must be playing with guns and toy cars and beat and bully kids in the neighbourhood (things that are supposed to be normal for boys). You don’t want her to voice her opinion or to have her own preferences because you want that YOUR opinions and YOUR preferences be what she will emulate.

    No matter what you say, I CAN shoot down and psycho-analyze everything you say and you will always come up contradicting everything.

    I bet if you had sons instead of daughters, if they are playing with guns and toy cars, you would also call them “obsessive” and wished they played with Princess dolls and wear dresses and choose the colour pink. What do you want to do? Morph your girls into boys and boys into girls? Crazy.


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