I know perfectly enlightened, educated and intelligent moms who allow their daughters to align themselves with the Disney Princess Agenda. They say, "I don't like the idea, but I want her to be able to choose for herself."
The thing is... society pushes the "little princess" label on our girls. The world commends them for being pretty and for wearing such a pretty dress and having such a pretty smile. Everywhere we go, it's, "Hello, little princess!" and "I bet you would like a Tinkerbell sticker!" I feel like it's my job to make sure that my daughters actually get to make a choice, and in a frills and tiaras soaked girl society, the decision to be a princess isn't really a free one. It's decided by the marketing division of a company that wants my money.
Scouty has princess costumes. She has a princess themed play kitchen (which is like... the worst of the worst, right? Pink with princess stickers AND it's a kitchen? Don't make me barf up my own vagina.) She even has a fairy wand or two. I so totally think that's okay. If your girl prefers a pink plastic frying pan, whatever.
The point is that these items don't mean any more to her than the rest of her possessions. And the real point is that none of her possessions or the movies she likes or the clothes she wears, help her to define who she is and what she chooses to do with her life. She's her boss, not the people behind the magic. I don't actively discourage Princess activity, but I do certainly try to structure her environment so that it isn't saturated with any one message, besides maybe:
"You are awesome and amazing and powerful and you blow mommy's mind every day with how cool and fun and funny and smart and creative you are."
I like dressing up pretty and wearing make up and going to a fancy wedding or holiday party, or whatever. I like feeling that I'm attractive and pleasing. It's fun to look good and be well behaved, sometimes. But, dressing up in a pretty dress and behaving myself and being pleasing aren't even remotely close to being things that motivate me, in life. Being palatable and attractive and stylish aren't even close to being the important or defining things about me.
Now, both of my girls are drop dead gorgeous. I'm serious. They're like... woah, pretty. I tell them that and I'm glad it makes them feel good to know that I think so, especially when there's been a special effort made, with a pretty dress, for a special occasion. But being sweet and pretty aren't even close to being the best thing about my girls.
Louise is a baby, so everything is the best about her. Babies are just the best.
Scouty is an almost 4 year old big girl who wants to be a Steeler when she grows up, or a super hero, or a rockstar like The Beatlebugs. She is a doctor who cured Louisey's ear infection by singing a soft song about medicine into her ear. She's an adventurer who climbs the stair mountains and saves her stuffed animals from certain peril. She loves soccerball, (of course it's called soccerball, just like baseball and football!), riding her scooter, reading books and she also wants to be a teacher. And a farmer. And a baker. And a tv watcher. And a fairy princess.
That's all okay by me.
I just want her to be able to really be her.
When she's a teenager, she'll be biologically wired to aspire to being attractive and to fitting in and to have boys like her. I just want her to be an awesome little kid who is awesome at everything, while she still can. God knows we spend the entirety of our twenties trying to undo the manic and sudden self-deprecation that comes with puberty hormones and their accompanying urges to... mate. (Once again, allow me barf up some part of my body thinking about my daughters ever having sex. Oh god, especially with a gross teenager. Don't get me started on teenage boys.)
What was I saying? See what the teenagers do? They're nothing but trouble. That's why it's so important, at least in my view, to raise girls who have a firm and sound idea of what it means to be a person, and maybe even a woman, and for that idea to not involve being obsessed with appearance and expensive clothes and weight and being better than other girls and figuring out how to snag a prince. There's plenty of time for delusional parading of themselves later. Now, their job is just to be kids. Which means being a doctor, Steeler, rock star, mountaineer, baker, teacher, and sometimes even a princess. Just for a minute or two, before a vigorous game of soccerball.