Thursday, March 31, 2011

Losing the Princess Battle

Like many little girls, I wanted to be a princess. I wanted to wear a pointy crown and pretty ball gown dresses.  I wanted to wear white gloves to tea and banquets.  I wanted to find prince charming and live happily ever after in a castle.

As I got older and the Princess Epidemic began to take root, I grew to hate princesses, specifically those of the Disney variety.   When I had my daughter, I vowed not to let her fall victim to the same princesses I grew up watching on tv. After spending a week in Disneyworld, I realize It was not so much the princess movies that I objected to, as much as the mind frame that many of today’s little girls have regarding being a princess.  It is the selfish, self centered, lazy,diva attitude that many little girls are developing, the very UN-princess-like behavior  that drove me away from the princesses that I once loved.

Honeybee is almost 2 and for the first year and a half, I was able to avoid Disney Princesses altogether.  I was determined that I would not have a princess for a daughter.  Part of this was not wanting to raise a girl who felt pushed into gender roles, but mostly I feared having “a princess”.

No matter how I tried Disney crept in.. My mother bringing over a box of my old toys.  My in laws who live in Florida sending Disney Store gift cards for Honeybee’s birthday and Christmas presents. A friend giving us their outgrown toddler bed that happened to have Cinderella on it. My brother-in-law, who works for Disney, sending big plush Mickey and Minnie and inviting us down to Orlando.  It was finally the week spent in Disney World that did me in.

Actually I have no problem with Disney, we are regular watchers of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Winnie the Pooh and Pixar films. It was just those darned princesses.  I had nightmares of my sweet daughter turning into one of the many screaming, tantrum throwing, spoiled little monsters dressed in a crown and ballgown that I have seen so often in stores, in restaurants even in the waiting room of the doctor’s office.  It was the un-lady-like and unrefined behavior that I feared would overtake my sweet little girl.

So this is where the downward spiral started for me: with Mickey.  The plush Mickey and Minnie led to watching the Disney Channel (the little kid one not the one that seems to always have Hannah Montana on. But THAT is another blog post for another day!) Watching Disney led to Tinkerbell: which I rationalized because Tink isn’t a princess - so that was ok.  Then Honeybee started playing with Jasmine who was in a box of my old dolls that came over from my parents house. Jasmine, led to Ariel and Cinderella (who were supposed to be Christmas presents for my nieces a few years back that were never sent and end up still wrapped in the basement.) Then we went to see Tangled with Mommy L, Munchkin and Pumpkin.  Honeybee was enamored not with Rapunzel, but with the horse.  So when I saw a playset with the horse and Rapunzel  at Christmas time, I had to get it for her.  Of course, now it is “Punn-sel” that is the favored of the set and not Maximus the Horse.

But alas, I am a hypocrite, as much as I avoided and disparaged princesses, I would often steal glances down the princess aisle or “cut through” the aisle just to get to the other side.  I would  browse the Disney store, justifying  that I was there to look at the Mickey or Pixar toys andthen  look at the dress up clothes commenting to myself how pretty or cute they were, then quickly adding that my Honeybee would never be like that and scoffing at it all.  I went through the same process as we browsed through the (many) giftshops in DisneyWorld.  But the Magic of Disney was working it’s way into my system.

By day 2 we were beelining to the princess section to look at Cinderella dolls.  We stood in a 45 minute line just to see Princess Jasmine in Epcot.   Daddy J and I were grappling with the difficult decision, not of whether we SHOULD get her a princess doll, but rather which one!  

By day 3, I was examining details on the princess costumes and trying to commit them to memory so that I could make Honeybee her own princess wardrobe.  Yes, I know I could go to Target or Toys R Us and buy them, but the ones they sold at the park were so much more detailed (and much more pricey!) and shouldn’t my baby have the best? (Just kidding!) Anyway, If I can make one like the fancy expensive park one for less than the cheap one, I might as well, right? So, by day 4 I had found patterns and materials for making the entire set of princess dresses,( and I’m not even home yet!). 

We won’t even get into days 5, 6 and 7!

And now I am sitting on the plane home, with Honeybee asleep hugging Snow White and Ariel  in one arm and a Tinkerbell (or as she calls her Tikkie-Bow)doll almost as big as she is in the other arm. Cinderella, Mulan and Rapunzel are in her carry-on.  And I wonder:  how can I say no when it makes her so happy?   She is still the sweet girl who is developing goo d manners and behaves well in public.

So I realize now that my work really is not to keep her from becoming a princess, but rather to keep her from becoming a spoiled brat.  Really, what I have is the task of raising a proper princess!

Disclosure: I have not been compensated in anyway by Disney, Pixar, Target or Toys R Us.  All Princesses were purchased by me (or other family members).

10 comments:

Stephanie J. said...

You're exactly right :) It's not the dolls that they play with or the costumes they wear, it's how they act while doing everything. Plus, the Disney Princesses (now, it's been a while since I watched) don't act like "Princesses" (read: Divas) so I think you're ok. Plus, she's got parents who love camping and the outdoors, so she's getting a bit of everything which is great :)

Sara said...

Following back from last Friday's hop... sorry it took me so long!

I loved this post - you're right... it's just a toy, not an attitude problem! :)

dosweatthesmallstuff said...

Found and followed your blog from the Bloggy Moms.

Great post here! I was also a mommy who had fought and lost the Princess battle.

I was once a Princess lover as a child. Since then, I've had my share of "reality vs. fairy tales" moments and I've found myself growing to hate the Princess. I felt as if the Princess has betrayed and misled me. Unconsciously, I blamed her for every disappointment and wishes that didn't come true.

When I became a mom to a little girl, I was determined to keep the Princess away from her. I didn't want risking the Princess ever betraying and misleading my daughter the way she did me. I wanted to spare my little girl tears and heartbreak.

What I eventually realized was that my battle to keep the Princess far away from my daughter was a way for me to not have to be responsible for all the mistakes and disappointments I've committed growing up. By battling the Princess, I'm actually assuming that my daughter will make the same mistakes and wrong decisions that I made, when in fact what I should be doing is to make sure that Princess lover or not, she will grow up being able to handle whatever life has in store for her.

Thanks for posting this... I think it's a topic that's too often dismissed as being unimportant, and yet there are so much more to it than meets the eyes!

Mrs. Bee said...

I'm following you from the Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop!

http://thebumbleinthebee.blogspot.com/

Angela McNaul said...

Found you during the blog hop!

If you want to visit and follow me: my blogs are www.thisfrugalfamily.blogspot.com or www.princessandmypeaboutique.blogspot.com (this leads to my etsy store: www.princessandmypea.etsy.com

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

Love this post! So true & I agree that it's not the dolls that's the problem. It is up to us to ensure they are strong, independent, self-reliant & not spoiled! :) I find that aside from the fact that the Princesses always get their Prince, they are actually strong and intelligent women. I like to point out those qualities to my girls. Honestly, we all love a lil fantasy and that is ok as long as we don't lose touch with the reality of our lives.

The simple fact that you are so aware of all this - has me thinking yur lil girl will turn out great!

Bernadette
http://momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com

medtopicwriter.com said...

Awesome post that speaks to almost every woman -- even if they were tomboys. My dad always called me his little princess. It was a shock to find that those outside my family didn't feel the same. :-) Great post!

dosweatthesmallstuff said...

Hi Mommy J,

I looked for ways to contact you, but couldn't find it in either one of your blogs.

Just wanted to let you know that this post has really inspired me, and I have written a post on similar topic in my blog and mentioned you and your post in it. I will be posting it shortly.

Again, thanks so much for writing this post!

Mommy J said...

@dosweatthesmallstuff,

Thanks! I'm honored that someone would actually reference my writing! I read your post too- I loved it! Here it is if anyone else wants to read it. http://dosweatthesmallstuffblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/barbie-is-just-doll-mommy.html

Mommy J

Pepper said...

I agree... we shouldn't put the blame on Cinderella. We should just try to raise our girls to be selfless. My daughter is a huge fan of Disney princesses herself.

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