There is a defining moment in womanhood, the moment we look at our childhood princesses in horror. That moment when we realize, “What kind of role models were these princesses?” God bless you Ariel, but at 16 you will sell your voice to be with a man you barely know? Belle reads all of those books but didn’t learn about Stockholm syndrome? What about these sleeping ladies waiting for a prince to come save them with a kiss?
Yet, here we are, mothering the next generation of strong independent women and somehow the princesses are back. If you would have asked me when I was pregnant, I would proudly declare that my child will not have these cartoons as role models. No Way!
I am throwing a Beauty and Beast themed birthday in two weeks. We are in full princess obsession at my house. It was a train I couldn’t stop, so here are my survival tips on how I am navigating all things princess.
Tip #1: Try to push the newer princesses
To give credit where credit is due, Disney appears to have had the same “come to Jesus moment” about their classic princess stories that we all did. I openly admit that I think Moana is amazing. She checked all the boxes on being a strong heroine in my book. Try to push the newer heroines in your home. Albeit, Moana does not have the big ball gown, so she has been a tough sell lately. So I move on to tip #2.
Tip #2: Focus on their strengths
How brave is it that Belle went to help her father? I love how Cinderella cares for all the animals, even the little mice that everyone forgets about! Little girls see the dress and the prince, so be sure to point out the traits you want your daughter to notice. Point out their kindness and their bravery. They will see the dress, but refocus them on the person. Princesses are beautiful because of their kindness, not necessarily the ball gown. (I also have been known to create a backstory on the relationship with the prince. I know I can’t get away with it forever, but for now it works.)
Tip #3: What is the role of a Princess?
Here is a great conversation to have with your tiny princess! What does a princess do? The princess is an important job in a kingdom. She has to protect her people, and make changes that benefit everyone. This is a tool I saw floating around on the internet somewhere and I love it! I will unashamedly steal it and unashamedly share it with you. Now when we “play princess” at our house, we do more than go to the ball. Cinderella has to solve problems and help people in the kingdom. It is an important job.
You know that age old saying “if you can’t beat them, join them?” If you can’t keep the princess away, redefine the princess. It is absolutely possible to raise strong independent women, and let them get stars in their eyes about glass slippers and ball gowns.