I get it.
You have a baby girl, and suddenly–BAM. The world turns pink. You go nuts with the sparkles and the tiara-print blankets and the foofy foof on top of more foof.
I get that the majority of the world is not like me who steers clear of pink unicorns and glittery tutus like someone would avoid that one guy at the office that has the chronic cough. I prefer yellows and purples and turtles and bohemian rompers.
I get that I’m a little strange in that regard and that most people see their newborn daughter and instantly want the world to put gifts at her feet and shower her in all things made of frosting and cupcakes and cotton candy. That’s ok–to each their own, honestly. I’ll do me and you do you.
There’s something that bugs me beyond all reason and I wish people would just stop. Something that actually makes me want to gag when I hear it.
First off–my step-daughter, and all other future daughters, nieces, and any other female that crosses my path for that matter–is NOT a princess.
Now, let me explain before you cry out that I’m anti-woman or that I don’t adore my child. Because I don’t want it to come across that way.
I’m not devaluing women or saying my step-daughter isn’t special or incredibly loved or unique. She certainly is. And that’s why I have never, and will never, call her a princess. It won’t ever leave my mouth. Because she’s TOO special. She’s TOO tough. She’s TOO valuable of a human being to throw into that superficial, demeaning, weak category.
Throughout the ages women have FOUGHT to obtain equal rights. They have bled and cried and protested and some have even died in the efforts to vote, to have equal pay, to hold positions of authority, to pray and worship in public, to work outside of our homes and to serve in office, to speak our minds without fear of rebuke, to lead–need I go on? As the female race, we’ve battled it all to get to where we’re at and we still have a ways to go.
Yet I think the largest enemy to our progress is ourselves.
So many women cry for equal rights and then demand to be taken care of. So many women scoff at being objectified, yet clearly objectify themselves with the ways they dress and act and behave all for the sake of male attention. So many of us preach strength and resiliency and respect and we expect our daughters to grow up with spirits of steel–yet we still call them princess and put into their sweet minds that they deserve to be doted on. We corner them with Disney idealizations. And teach them from a young age that they deserve a throne.
We are stunting the next generation by implying these things.
I know for some (maybe most) the term “princess” is thrown out there as quickly as “honey”, and not many people have dissected what it’s really implying. But I have. And it’s not the message I want to send her. Is she amazing? Yes. Is she smart and capable? Of course. Is she funny and kind and inventive? Absolutely. And she is quick and tough and braves many scraped knees and hurt feelings and tends to master every puzzle she sets her mind to. She gets dirty fingernails and laughs when the roasted marshmallow gets into her hair.
She’s made of fire.
She isn’t weak or mild-mannered (heck no, actually. Meek is not her thing.) And like she says in the mirror every night as we do our nightly bedtime routine–“I am no better than anyone else. And no one is better than me.”
She ain’t nobody’s princess.
The definition of princess has two parts according to Miriam Webster. It’s either the “daughter of a monarch” or a “spoiled and arrogant young woman”. Both definitions mean the young woman is acted upon or given a title because of who she is associated to or the entitlements she’s given. It’s passive.
Even if “Princess” is referring to a Disney princess, that negatively states that she’s a product of circumstance, doomed to a fate completely unfulfilling without her prince.
And I just can’t stomach hearing it. Not now when we’ve come so far. Not now when we’re in office, and we’re in high rises and we’re scaling mountains and raising strong and capable children with personalities that can outshine the sun.
My step-daughter is only three and I have lots of years to learn and make mistakes and watch her turn into her own little person with the influence of all of her parents and grandparents and loved ones. With future children I will do the same. I don’t know everything–not even close. I’m just making it up as I go along most of the time. But what I do know is I want to always pay attention to the messages I send to the little souls I care about the most. I want them to always be empowered. To be kind. To be courageous. To put others before themselves and to never expect more than the next person.
I want my daughters to face life and tackle it head on without fear of messing up her pretty dress or without entitlement.
Princess is an insult to the strong woman she will be.
I think the things we say and the messages we convey is all the difference in how she sees herself–and others.
Pink or no pink, I plan on helping to empower her enough so that I have to step aside–
And she’ll slay the dragons all by herself.