Can’t escape the princess-ness

May 26, 2011

Yesterday when I picked up my two daughters from daycare there was a charming little invitation to a ‘Prince and Princess’ party at daycare. For the day, they will be turning the centre into a ‘magic castle’. So the children should come dressed as their favourite princesses and princes…

Ok, where do I start.

This annoys me so much I have to make a list:

1. The lack of balance. I will be suggesting they balance the insipid prince/princess-ness with ‘pirate day’, ‘astronaut’ or ‘ocean adventurer’ day.*

2. Princess Passivity. My problem with most princesses is that they are typically passive. They need to be rescued, protected or saved. Things are done to them.

3. Valued for Emotions. They are often valued for their their capacity to love, care for and show kindness to small woodland creatures and the male character (How many times have you seen a princess crying over a hurt prince only to have her tear drop on him and save him? Belle and Rapunzel come to mind).

3. Boxing imagination. Most princesses of the Disney variety are very predictable and even though some people defend certain Disney Princesses such as Belle (she reads!) the story, in which they are confined, is still predictably standard and patriarchal. In the end the hero get’s the girl, they usually get married or it’s heavily implied they will. A notable exception is Mulan who does a bit of a gender-bender although she forgoes glory to look after her elderly parents like a good dutiful daughter. I never thought I would say this but even Barbie has a better script than most Disney princesses. She is even a rapier-wielding musketeer in one of her movies.

So I’m trying to convince my kids that they can be princesses… with swords, who rescue each other from the castle. I’m not trying to paint men out of the picture but I would like them to realise they can save people too. or use their brains to escape themselves.

Yes its cute when the get dressed up and they love looking ‘pretty’. I want them to feel pretty, but I also want them to feel courageous and creative. Plus my craft skills are not up to creating character specific princess outfits. I think I might need to create a new story about a princess who wears pyjamas while solving complex problems and displaying amazing McGyver-esque skills…

*(To be fair I know they’ve had a pirate day but I won’t let the truth get in the way of my indignation.)

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One Response to “Can’t escape the princess-ness”

  1. Wendy said

    It’s barfalicious, isn’t it.
    Solenne asked me outright if I like princesses, and I told her I didn’t like those ones. She was quiet for a few minutes – it must have confused her. Hopefully we’ll expand the discussion a bit more and I can tell her why I don’t like them…

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