Someone asked me the other day why I hate princesses. I don’t hate princesses at all. I hate the way their stories are being told. I want a different narrative for my daughter. I want princesses who don’t give away their voices or freedom, whose end game is marrying a prince. I want princesses who define their own stories, not sleep peacefully waiting for a magic kiss.
When I first picked up the Merida doll at the Disney Store (first ever purchase from there, 6.75 years into parenthood) I was annoyed Merida was in the dress she was stuffed into by her mother to await her fate and see who would win her hand. Darn it! I thought, that goes against the whole point of the movie. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the dress had been torn in the places Merida had needed to break free, loose her arrows, and determine her own fate. Purchased immediately!
Media aimed at my daughter will tell her to beautify herself, quiet herself down, and be well behaved. It will tell her to look a certain way and she’ll accomplish a huge feat in life – attracting a man. Whether she is four or fourteen or twenty four, this is the message media will try to send to her.
That’s just not how we roll. So it is not that I hate princesses. I’m just really choosy about the ones I introduce to her. Here are three princesses she received as gifts for her birthday last night – Cinder Edna, Princess Smartypants, and Merida.