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…