July 16, 2013

A Princess's new clothes!

"Tell your daughter she's a warrior, detective, leader, athletic, determined, curious, free-spirited..." read a quote on Facebook. The title of the image? 10+ alternatives to calling your daughter a princess.

This hit home immediately for two reasons. One, her daughter hated the word princess and any association to it and two, she herself, having been a tad tomboyish, had always been anti-princessy. The quote made her wonder what exactly it was that she didn't like about the concept of princesses. Was it the frilly dresses, the many hues of pink, the sparkles, the tiaras, the concept of having to always look well put-together? Or was it all of it?

She, like all other kids her age, had read fairy tales galore growing up. Princesses stuck in a tall tower, princes on steeds coming to the rescue and then living happily ever after...those types of stories. And even ones such as The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White and so on but one thing that struck her was that these characters weren't classified into the Princesses 'bucket' then as they are nowadays.

The marketing geniuses putting their spin on simple characters who were cool, spunky, creative and what not. Maybe it was Disney who began this grouping...she wasn't sure. She had always wondered why there weren't new-age princesses who wore jeans, tees, caps, played sports and slapped boys on the back. Maybe there were movies made about girls who were like that, except they weren't called princesses.

She wondered if her daughter wondered the same.

Genetics is an interesting subject. Like there is for appearance and for characteristics, is there a genetic code for attitudes or does a child learn by simple observations and interactions with their peers, family and society? Hmm...interesting. Wouldn't that mean that a part of what our 'princesses' learn about being a princess comes from us and the surrounding that we expose them to?It isn't just words we say from quotes on Facebook, is it?

She wished that life were simpler. She wished that the world wasn't so filled with the norm. She wished that it wasn't so hard to explain that it was OK to be different.

Maybe she would write about a jeans-clad, spunky, cool, sporty, creative, kind, affectionate, helpful, free-spirited leader...called Princess...just to shake things up a bit, you know?


Suni said...

Loved this Reks! Exactly my sentiments growing up! :)

S. Krishna Kumar said...

A thoughtful piece that made me wonder why anyone should call their child daughter/son)anything at all to begin with and then agonize about alternatives. Parents, family and society do not realize that children have personalities and as they grow up, those personalities must find expression. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that the true personalities of children are not suppressed by wrong labeling but rather shaped by appropriate encouragement.

LGV said...

Lovely post Reks :) I guess we can show our kids that it is okay to have a true personality by living the same way - not doing things the way that conforms to societal norms etc.

LGV said...

And if they want to be poles apart from how we are or if they do want to conform to societal norms, that should be ok too, cos maybe that is their personality :)

Arch said...

Loved the last paragraph! :)

Creativei said...

Incredible that this theme has come back repeatedly over the past couple of days! First, Dustin Hoffman sharing his experience of being a 'woman' ahead of Tootsie, then, a friend who shared an article with a similar sentiment and now this! Wonderful Reks! May be its a silent wave covering the world...stop stereotyping girls as mere desirable objects of beauty...there's way more substance in them than that!