I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the “princess” image lately. There are several reasons for this, the main one being my three year old daughter, who is firmly entrenched in the “I a pretty princess” stage of her childhood. Even as the little rough and tumble tomboy that she is, like most little girls, she knows she’s a princess.
Why does she want to be a princess? I’d say it’s cultural, and to some extent it is, but she’s never seen Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White. She’s seen several Disney “princess” movies, but most of them are not the Anglo-stereotypical princesses. Her favorite is “The Princess and the Frog,” and today I introduced her to Kida in “Atlantas.” Those are her kind of princesses. The ones that run through the bayou or the ones who fight for the preservation of their people. The ones who have a unique beauty and a specialness all their own.
But while her definition of a “princess” is skewed a bit by her mother’s anti-cultural biases and desire to create a well-rounded world-view in her children (rather than an Anglo-centrist one), she still knows that princesses are special, beautiful, and cherished. They also get to wear awesome clothes and everyone looks up to them. At the heart of it all, whether you call it a “princess” or not, these are the things every girl wants.
My father always told me I was his princess. And frankly, every person after that who dared refer to me as such gained automatic “romance” points. Silly little thing, perhaps, but I knew it meant I was special, and irreplaceable to them. And yes, like every person on this planet, I struggle from time to time with my self-esteem. And being called a princess highlights (and fills) a small piece of that need in me and I respond to that.
But what I’ve learned from my daughter? No one else needs to call me a princess to make it true. She is a princess in her very own right, and I’d love to watch anyone try to convince her otherwise. Maybe once in a while I need to wear a pretty dress and dance around in front of the mirror to remember. That’s what she does… Often.