I think it makes sense that little girls want to be princesses.
It seems like a pretty sweet deal, if you think about it: you’re pretty, you get fun clothes, you have great snacks, and you have people to boss around.
Most adults, of course, recognize the limits and dangers of princess power. It’s a power defined by a very limited version of femininity, and the real strength lies elsewhere, with a king, a rescuing prince, or in some cases, an evil stepmother.
For that reason, the princess thing really scares me. I don’t want little girls to accept that being a princess is the only way to be in charge of their own lives but I don’t want to tell them that playing princess is totally wrong either. I want little girls to dare to do their own thing, whether that includes ‘princess-ing’ it up or not.
We all play a part in teaching girls what it is ‘okay‘ for the them to do. What about if we focused on empowering girls to define femininity for themselves? What about if, when we encounter a stereotype, we taught them to question it, to ask if it is true for them and their friends? What about if we made it ‘okay’ for girlhood to include all sorts of things? What about if we took what we know about girls from Girl Guides and applied it in the rest of our world?
Maybe their princess yearnings and their strict definitions of femininity (or lack thereof) is their way of asking us for guidance. Maybe they want to see what we say, to see if we back up their assumptions or if we give them room to grow outside of what the commercials tell them girls are like.
So this is our call to action: Let’s show each little princess how to grow up to be a powerful queen of her own domain.
By guest blogger Christine Hennebury.
Christine writes, thinks, mothers, and bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie in Newfoundland and Labrador. See more of her work on her Mombie blog.
Note from GGC: As we approach the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, (March 8 2011), it raises the question about women’s rights to be anything they want to be. Does this include being a princess?
*Have a comment about this post? Click the link “Leave a Comment” or “Comments” below. Comments are held in queue for moderation. We’d love to hear from you!
Excellent food for thought! It’s interesting how girls self-label, and how early they do it. They decide if they are “the smart girl”, or “the sporty girl”, or “the pretty girl”. I think the key is to keep them open-minded to all sorts of possibilities for themselves!