I should begin this post by saying that I have no beef with princesses and fairies. Some of my best childhood friends were princesses and fairies. I guess this post is more so inspired by my oldest toddler’s admission that she would like to grow up to be a princess, and then retire into a fairy. I know this is all “innocent,” but it concerns me that most toys and television shows marketed as being for girls, emphasize these kinds of characters as being ideal and great titles for girls. I wish that instead of emphasizing these ideals, more toys and more television shows would show girls doing more than flying around or wearing pretty dresses.
I wish that girls had more choices of other girls and characters to aspire to become “when they grow up.”
I say this while acknowledging that it’s unlikely that the over promotion of princesses and fairies in our society to little girls will ever change, if not for a long time. For this reason, I’ve been making it a point to be the one to change. I’m making it a point to be sure to show my daughters all of the “more” that women can be. I’ve been showing them images and videos of women playing instruments or sports or building things. I want them to see than women are more than what they look like or who they marry. I want them to look in the mirror and see that they are enough for whatever path in life they choose to do. They are smart enough, beautiful enough, strong enough, and brave enough.
I think my emphasis on raising girls who believe these things comes from my own childhood. Like many girls in our society and world, I convinced myself that if I were beautiful enough, I could do and be anything. I set princesses and fairies as my standard and determined that they all were beautiful and so must I be, too.
I convinced myself that beauty was something that great women had and that having it would entitle me to the riches and happy kinds of endings of characters that I read about in my books as a child. But I never felt beautiful, so mostly my dreams of becoming a princess were elusive. They are elusive for most girls. And that’s what’s most unfortunate.
I don’t know what effect my efforts will have long term, but I hope that through being exposed to more kinds of women, my daughters can grow up with an understanding that princesses and fairies are not the ideal titles for girls to aspire to become.
What do you think? Is the princess/fairy thing over-done?