I don’t have any kids, but I do have a 4-year-old niece and naturally, she’s all about the Disney Princesses.
Now I have nothing against this on the surface. Heck, I even fed the addiction last month when I gave her Disney Princess Candy Land for her fourth birthday. What can I say, I’m a sucker like that.
I also think these stories have a bounty of positive lessons to be learned from them, so I’m in no way going to encourage her to quit paying attention to them.
But as she’s grown older, the more I’ve begun to worry about the impact these tales have on her and her future. I mean, she’s already saying he wants to be a princess when she grows up and I’m just not 100 percent sure what the princess job market will look like around 2030.
I’m also not sure what subliminal thoughts some of the princesses’ stories will cultivate in her tiny head.
Let’s start with Cinderella.
You know the tale. Bad home life, evil step-mom and step-sisters, all until Mr. Charming rolls in and takes her away to a new life.
Do I really want my niece thinking she has to wait around in life for some dude to come fix her problems?
Wouldn’t it be better for her to know she’s strong enough to stand up for herself, make changes, and have herself be the positive impact on others?
What about Snow White?
She’s forced to leave her castle and ends up putting seven “dwarfs” in the friend zone until they help her score her “true love.”
Is that really cool? I mean, I know Bashful was a little shy, but what if he’d wanted to take her to the movies? No chance shorty, Snow White ruled you out from the moment she met you.
Do I really want my niece to be that girl, the one who befriends dudes to use until she lands a better guy?
OK, truth be told, I’m kind of fine if she turns into that girl. What I really don’t want is for her to develop into is the girl who feels she can’t live without a “true love.” I want her to be strong enough to be fine on her own.
So how about Belle?
Granted, this is by far my favorite princess. She’s basically the Disney Anne Hathaway, who by the way, I would very much like to take to the movies.
But even the best of the best has her issues.
I mean, do I really want my niece putting up with an over-aggressive guy with the hope he’ll one day change into Mr. Perfect? And do I really want her putting up with his creepy friends hanging around the house all the time?
Nah. I don’t want her taking on a unique fixer-upper of a man like that because honestly, how rare does that end well?
And now for her favorite, Ariel.
The Little Mermaid, who was willing to change almost anything about herself in order to score a dude. Of course this story also points out the high value most of us guys put on legs, but that’s another story, for another blog.
I don’t want my niece thinking she has to drastically change herself, as well as give up hanging with her friends, for some guy. (Side note: Why didn’t Ariel have better ocean friends than that crab and flounder? Where were the dolphins and surfer sea turtles? She chose poorly.)
I could go on through some more of these princesses, but I feel like those are really the Four Horsemen of the group, so I’ll quit while I’d ahead.
The biggest thing all these fictional ladies had in common, aside from an insane and unrealistic level of cartoon beauty, was their most coveted desire in life was to fall in love with a man. That was what each felt made her life complete.
Above all, I don’t want that for my niece.
I mean, I’ll be the first one in line to toast her wedding, if she’s decides to go that route, but I don’t want her to believe that’s her sole purpose in life. She’s too good for that.
Actually, I just slightly lied. I do want her life’s desire to be to fall in love with a man, but I hope that man’s name is Jesus. And I mean the one from the Bible, not some minor league baseball player.
I hope as she grows older, Jesus is what fills her life. Not in some creepy “I’m dating Jesus” church-camp way, but in a way that let’s her know that no matter what happens, her life is full, she is loved, and she’ll one day live in paradise.
That will be far better than any of those Disney castles anyway.