Like every great debate, there are two sides. I’ve heard the statement “please don’t call my daughter a princess” from a few friends/family members. Before having a daughter I never gave the issue much thought. When my daughter was very young I found myself conflicted while introducing her to Disney movies. At the same time, EVERY word to EVERY Disney song is etched into my soul.
Raising a child, you have the responsibility to mold them into functional adults. I’m nowhere close to a princess type. Makeup is something I wear once or twice a year, I don’t own designer shoes or bags and my daily jewelry consists of my wedding band and engagement ring. Princess has taken on a negative connotation in the world today. It’s associated with spoiled or diva behavior. That said, I’m pro-princess.
We discuss the strengths that each princess displays and encourage my daughter to:
Be adventurous like Rapunzel. – Rapunzel ventures out into the scary world on an adventure and saves the day a couple of times in the process.
Follow your dreams like Tiana. – Tiana works multiple jobs and saves every penny to put towards her dream of opening a restaurant. She struggles but never quits!
Be strong like Pocahontas. – Pocahontas stands up to the man invading her land. She manages to teach him about the land, her tribe and what is truly important in life. When her love, John Smith, must leave she picks her family and tribe over her love.
Be brave like Ariel. – Ariel swims in sunken ships exploring. She chooses to make a sacrifice to meet the man she loves but in the end, she fighting Ursula to save her father.
Be independent like Merida. – Merida refuses to accept being betrothed to anyone. I will say turning her Mom into a bear wasn’t my favorite part but in the end, she learns that a mothers love knows no bounds.
Be true to yourself like Jasmine. – Jasmine declines every suitor presented and convinces her father that she should be allowed to marry whomever she chose.
Be a great friend like Cinderella. – Cinderella appreciates all of her friends and looks after them always. When she marries the prince she moves the mice in with her.
Be smart like Belle. – Yes, this one trait might seem a little obvious for Belle but we look beyond the books. Belle manages to see through public perception of both Gaston and the Beast and sees who each truly are.
Have honor like Mulan. – Mulan runs away to protect her father. She studies how to be a man, goes through difficult training and in the end saves the Emperor (as a woman, I might add). Through it all, she worries about her family and how to make them proud.
Love like Snow White. – Snow White lovingly takes care of the seven dwarfs. Cleaning, cooking and having fun dancing with them.
Be graceful like Sleeping Beauty. – Sleeping Beauty had fairies that could change her dress color with the wave of a wand…the saying is “dream big princess.”
Every princess displays a characteristic that I would be proud to have my daughter emulate. When you strip away the stigma connected to the crown, true role models can emerge. Disney princess stories have evolved from the days of being saved by a Prince to strong women who we should be proud to have our daughters look up to. In the 1940s and 1950s, they had Aurora and Snow White who waited for princes to rescue them. Today we have Mulan and Rapunzel who do most of the saving in their movies. While love is still a theme in many Disney movies they also highlight strong and independent women. Moana, the newest woman to enter the Disney family, is a voyager that takes on the ocean, Maui and then bravely approaches Te Ka. She gets help from Maui, but SHE is highlighted as the heroine.
My daughter is already adventurous, brave, smart, loving and always following her dreams. She might not have perfected all traits yet, but she has years to study the princess ways!