On Parenting Princesses
Well, my lieblings, I am off tomorrow to the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm! Won't you join me? I'll be easy enough to find. Everyone else dresses up like a faerie, or a steampunk, or a Ren Faire. Me, I'm the gal in the neon tie-dye, neck to ankle. I'll be hard to miss, even in such colorful, glittering surroundings. Look for me! Come say howdy! I'll even have a little gift for you, if you tell me you read "The Gods Are Bored" and think it
The other day an article was circulating on Facebook about women who are making a goodly pile of ducats by dressing like princesses and going to little girls' birthday parties. Of course, not everyone likes the idea of little girls dressing up like princesses. Princesses, in seems, are needy and greedy and helpless hand-wringers in the face of danger.
Tell it to Elizabeth I of England.
I suppose these same princess-haters would feel that little girls dressed up like faeries isn't a good idea, either. To which I say, "pish tosh." In exactly that order.
Have you ever seen a team of soccer players take to the field? Are they routinely dressed in drab gray? Are they never needy (even when injured), or greedy (when pursuing a victory), or helpless hand-wringers (when losing)? Have you ever seen a kid's eyes light up when they are handed a varsity jacket all decked out with embroidered school lettering and mascot?
People like to dress up. You choose a tribe, or a team, or a social set, and you dress to the nines for that group of people. If there are numerous little girls who want to dress like princesses, or faeries, what does that determine about their futures? Maybe that they'll have some imagination? Maybe that they'll shop at Nordstrom's? I think the former and not the latter.
It might just be me, but I am up-to-the-brim irritated with the more rugged type of parent who bemoans the "bad influence" of princess parties on their rugged little offspring. I have outfitted female offspring for hiking and biking, and let me tell you, it's expensive. One of the most costly clothing items I ever acquired for either of my daughters was a pair of hiking boots. I got them for Heir, and thank goodness they fit me, because she grew out of them!
Speaking of Heir, she dressed like a princess when she was a tot. It didn't last. Two summers ago she found herself ascending the craggy peaks of Norway, like some ancient and fearsome Viking. She lugs her bike onto the El train so she can ride through downtown Philly to get to her job. She considers herself dressed up if she puts on a clean pair of jeans.
Spare dressed up like a princess too. It stuck. She's a thrift store fashion plate, the sartorial envy of her peers. And she will be at the Fairie Festival in a radiant, gooey faerie gown with iridescent wings. She is 19. But a word to the wise. This gal is no helpless hand-wringer. She takes charge. Like a boss. Like a princess.
The moral of this sermon is, don't be so quick to disrespect a princess party. You go right ahead and buy state-of-the-art scuba gear for your tot instead of sequins and toille. She may yet grow up to be a princess, having cut her teeth on the brave and exhilarating notion that she is a living Ariel.