I've been researching ideas for Rory's 3rd birthday party today. She'll be 3 in May and I love toying around with ideas for months leading up to parties. (I love to plan parties in general, honestly.) Rory's birthday is going to be "ALL THE PRINCESSES!" this year, as she tells everyone we come in contact with. First birthday was owls, second birthday was Princess Tiana and this year is all the princesses. Great! Easy! Lots of pink and purple, fluffy stuff, glitter, some tiaras. All easy to find and fun to make.
I've been looking up cute ideas today and I am shocked by the hate I see for the Disney princesses. I am seriously flabbergasted. I don't get it. One article stated something along the lines of embedding age older gender roles and traditions in girls by allowing them to desire to be a Disney princess. The general consensus of all the hate I've come across boils down to the idea that princesses, but specifically the Disney princesses, sell themselves short for love and forgo family, friends and a fulfilling life to be a happy, royal wife.
Let's talk about these princesses.
There are TEN recognized Disney Princesses. (Trust me, I'm an expert. ;))
Mulan. Chose to take her father's place in the army, trained herself in the ways of war, fought valiantly for her country and didn't want any recognition for her deeds. Wow. What a doormat.
Jasmine. Stood against the marriage law that was forcing her father to chose a husband FOR her and instead set out to find someone of her own choosing.
Cinderella. Dutifully worked in her own home, even though it was unfair and unjust.
Snow White. Yeah, okay. She is kinda lame.
Belle: Took her father's punishment for him, forsaking her own freedom, and learned to appreciate the man behind the beast.
Pocahontas: Bridge the racial barrier and befriended a "white man"
Tiana: Worked her way from having nothing to having enough to buy her own restaurant. Worked 3 jobs to achieve her dreams and didn't allow herself to be distracted.
Rapunzel: (Tangled) Sacrificed her "magic hair" for her true love without hesitation.
Sleeping Beauty: Also kind of lame. If the hate was based on just Snow White and Sleeping Beauty...yeah, they might be right on.
Ariel: Desired to see the world, explore and discover things that were new to her and out of the rest of her family's comfort zone.
8 out of 10 of these female characters are strong, intelligent, hard working women who set goals and achieve them. Sure, these are fairy tales and there's always a love story, but isn't that life? Don't we all want to fall in love with our one true love? Who doesn't want that? The journey along the way is what writes our story. I have no problem with Rory watching and loving the Princesses. I would hope she would have Mulan's courage, Jasmine's desire to stand up for what's right, Cinderella and Tiana's work ethic, Rapunzel's selflessness and Ariel's adventuresome spirit. Those are some pretty qualities and if a movie sparks one in her, hey she's better off for it.
Edit! (Thanks to Micha for inspiring this edit! :)) I need to make my point clear (and this is what I get for trying to write a blog with 2 toddlers awake! ;)) There are some qualities and situations in these movies and within these princesses story lines that of course I don't want Rory to fantasize. Naturally, I wouldn't want her hanging out with a violent man, like the Beast, or smacking someone in the face with a frying pan like Rapnuzel. I'm merely pointing out that the good qualities in the princesses out weight the bad. I use the stuff I don't like as talking points with Rory, just like I do with every song, story, book, movie or tv show she watches or is exposed to. Trust me, the talks we've had about how creepy Yo Gabba Gabba is or why the Bubble Guppies have tails not legs...sigh. I'm pretty good at the "Now Rory you know..." talks. ;)
I will however draw the line at Rory wanting to move in with 7 small men and fall asleep until a Prince kisses her. That, my friends, is really creepy when you think about it.