Thursday, May 02, 2013

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 stinks up the joint is uncommonly witty and par excellence!

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.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Food for thought as always! I held my May Day drumming circle last night and two May Maidens came fully decked out in tie-dye. Tie-dye LIVES!!!!

Vest said...

My fairy Godmother and I have nine grand princeses as in nine cats and one great grand princess who is spoilt and occasionally feral.
We also have five princes, er four and one fairy happy and gay prince.
This all started when fairy godmother danced around my maypole.
Maypole now lies discarded and unused, sad ennit.

Maebius said...

Excellent concept there, Anne, and I'll second the notion that you are truly a Queen, if you've raised such lovely and wonderful Princesses.
And of course, I mean both of them, because I completely feel that the term Princess means far less about "glittery gowns", and much more about being strong, confident, and empowered.

Be it from royal bloodlines, or otherwise.

You can call it "bossy", or "good leadership skills", or simply "Following your dream"... A Princess has a strength of character to follow her own path, above the mass of peasants, after all. The difference in paths after that fact, is just details. :P

A real Princess Does Stuff, to command the attention of folks. That's the sort of Royalty we can all follow and adore. :P



one of these day's I'll make the trip for all these lovely events you go to.

Anonymous said...

Fairy costumes can be pretty expensive too. I once made a Titania,Queen of the Fairies, costume for a party -- and then the Ren Faire and several other parties, and I spent at least $250 in materials. Was it gorgeous! glow in the dark and glitter and silk and lace and a long train held up by (helium) butterflies! Pink satin shoes with crystal stars. Wings that glowed in the dark. I wish I knew how to post pictures. I won the Grand Prize at a party of about 400 people. All many years ago when I was slender....

Anne Johnson said...

Anon, you've got way more talent than I do. I purchased Spare's gown from Etsy, and it cost more than $250 and sounds very much less lovely than yours. I'm always so impressed by people who can imagine an idea and then make it happen. I wish you knew how to post pictures too. If you learn (and it sadly won't be from me, I have grossly deficient computer skills), I would love to see it!