The Princess Problem


As the mom to a four-year-old girl and two-year-old, my house is usually littered with dress up clothes.  I find tutus in the bathroom and crowns in the kitchen.  Sometimes they go through about five outfits (a piece!) in a day.  Then there are fits and tears when I tell them to put on real clothes to go to the grocery store.  Dress up is kinda getting on my nerves.

I know kids should be kids.  They are only young once and all that.  Dress up is great fun and educational, too.  Pretending you are someone else and acting out that role is wonderful for developing creativity and social skills.  So why don’t I want to take a princess to Target?  Well…

The most practical reason is it’s cold outside.  And everyone knows princesses NEVER wear coats!  At least that’s what I hear in my house.  Since no one wants to cover their dress up outfit, let’s just take it off and wear something, you know….with sleeves.  Yeah, I am the meanest mom ever.

And then there is the “pretty” reason (pause to step up on my feminist soapbox).  Girls get a lot of attention for wearing a fancy dress in public.  I don’t think my daughters have ever left the house in a dress or skirt and didn’t hear “Oh, you are so pretty!” or “What a beautiful little princess!”  Do people say that to a girl dressed in jeans?  Not so much.  My girls now think to be pretty you have to wear a dress.  I know there will be many years of clothing-related self-esteem issues in their future….I just don’t want to start that at age two.

And probably the biggest reason I don’t like dress up….I hate princesses.  There.  I said it.  Are princesses really the ideal that we want our daughters to emulate?  My oldest daughter asked me what makes a girl a princess, and I had to explain about family lineage and the ruling class.  Well, not exactly in those words. 🙂  But you know what I mean…why are we glorifying princesses?  Why not celebrate women who actually do something?  Why not try to take the emphasis off of looks and focus on their contribution?  It makes me think of the 10 Real World Princesses drawings.

Sigh.  Stepping down.  Pretend play is important and there is nothing wrong with dressing-up in a fancy skirt every now and then.  I’m not going to ban all Disney princess paraphernalia from my house.  And I didn’t say anything when my youngest daughter wanted to a be, of course, a princess for Halloween.  Although, I was secretly happy that she didn’t know Cinderella’s name and just called her “the blue princess.”  I feel like I’m doing something right. 🙂


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