This morning, as we were getting Pineapple ready for school (which is what I call daycare because it makes me feel better about sending her there every day), DH called her his “little Princess.” Which prompted me to say “no honey, don’t call her a Princess. We don’t want some pampered and entitled 16 year old on our hands cursing at us for giving her a BMW the day BEFORE her party.” To which DH responded, “I’m her daddy – and she IS my Princess – and I’ll call her that all I want – and hell yeah I want her to feel entitled. I want her to feel entitled and empowered…just like a Princess.” And he whisked her away to daycare school.
I’ll admit to standing stunned for a few minutes with one big question racing around my brain:
WHAT THE HELL KINDA FAIRY TALES HAS HE BEEN READING?!
All the Princesses I could think about were set upon by their guardians – be they evil stepmothers or mean dragons – to while away the hours trapped in some terrible state – i.e. asleep or with 7 dudes or a couple of stepsisters forcing them to clean house all the time. Hell, even the friggin’ Little Mermaid had that naggy crab. And the mothers…where were the mothers?! Oh that’s right…Disney KILLED them!
And even looking at older, original versions of these stories – not so good. The little mermaid actually kills herself rather than killing the prince after he gets married. How is that empowered?!
Then I started thinking about DH. He’s a “root for the underdog” kinda guy. And if given the chance, I think he would definitely enjoy being a “knight in shining armor” – as long as said knight was allowed to have a beer every now and then and the dragons weren’t TOO scary. And I thought about the Princesses he might be familiar with – having not had the level of exposure to Disney Princesses that I had growing up.
He would be thinking about Shrek – she was pretty damned independant. She could whoop some ass too, if I’m remembering correctly. She was also an ogre – but that’s not a bad thing – necessarily. Then there’s Princess Di – who was actually a REAL Princess – and who did a lot of good for a lot of people before dying much, much too young. And Narnia…Princess Lucy wasn’t taking any guff off of anyone – and she was the only one to believe in Aslan the entire time and she fought bravely for Mr. Tumnus.
OK – so I’m now a bit more open to the idea. And I’m thinking how sad it is that women who are supposedly in power positions – aka Princesses – are portrayed as these sempering, whimpering, needing-to-be-rescued damsels in distress.
And I’m wondering. Can Pineapple be a “Princess” and see the opportunity to do good? Feel empowered to be kind and sweet and generous? Or would she only see the “Sweet 16” example of modern day Princesses? (Raise your hand if you think that show should just be cancelled because it is a wretched example of our culture – and it’s no damned wonder the aliens aren’t helping us out with this craptacular piece of evidence for just how well-behaved a species we are – *stepping off soapbox.*)
Maybe it’s our job to show her the good. Maybe it’s our job to empower her and help her understand that she should feel proud of herself – and not for just existing but for achieving things and being a good person and helping other people reach their goals, too. Maybe we can give her a better impression of what a Princess is. Hell, maybe she can reinvent the term. Her DH thinks so…and maybe I do, too.