What is it with princesses and little girls? I can understand cars and boys. Cars are all around us. Everyone uses them; they are functional, fast, exciting, and modern. I can see how anyone would be into them. But princesses? Princesses are obsolete as far as I can tell -- especially in this country where they are only perpetuated by Disney and fairy tales. It drives me crazy that so many little girls are obsessed with them because all princesses ever do are look beautiful and get saved by the prince. Talk about indoctrinating our girls early in some of our worst societal conventions! Be beautiful, skinny, nice, popular, well-dressed, with high heels (glass slippers!), and wait around for a prince to sweep you off your feet. Come on now! Is sleeping beauty really the role model we want for our daughters?
We've been avoiding the princess thing as much as possible in our house, but it's all around us and we don't live in a vacuum by any means. I also don't want to make a big deal out of it. Maia has princess-y dress up clothes and plays princess with her friends. We also have this (great!) fairy tale game and read books that feature princesses. As I struggle with my own princess aversions and prejudices (and yes, I know they're mostly just my own), I am helping her plan her 5th birthday party with a princess theme! Argh. Although I have to admit I just love that she wants a princesses and monsters party.
Maia had a great first day of kindergarten, by the way. She wore the t-shirt she decorated and was very excited to head off to school. That kid has spunk! As I think of her and the character traits I would like to help her develop, here's what comes to mind -- I want to help her be smart, loving, strong, adventurous, resourceful, creative, confident, and responsible. I can do this through the way I parent, of course, but I'd also like to make sure she has strong role models, both in real life and in the books we read.
I've had several requests for a post of our favorite books that feature powerful or unconventional princesses (we've read quite a few lately!), and will try to do that soon. I would also love recommendations for books with strong non-princess female characters. So please tell me if you know of any good ones!
How about you? What character traits do you want to foster in your children?