I am a princess...

(51 Posts)

My 2.5 yo came out with this in the bath. Where did she get it from? She doesn't have older sisters (or brothers), the only TV is monitored by DH or me, all the people around her in the family identify as feminists. Is it leaking through the walls? She does have one 2.5 yo girl friend who does like this kind of thing but we don't spend that much time there and I didn't see any indoctrination while we were there the other day. Her other little friends are boys and not noticeably princess fans.

I'm being light but it actually threw me. Is a princess stage inevitable with all the pink, sparkly crap around? Will she stop pretending to be a T-Rex and want to be a princess? Is it actually right to encourage her because it is something she chooses? Should I stop worrying because it actually doesn't mean anything?

BTW we don't live in the UK so there is no new royal baby shite around here.

prissyenglisharriviste Thu 15-Aug-13 05:57:33

You need 'Cinderella ate my daughter'. Give me a shout and I'll send you my copy.

My moment of clarity came with dd1 (in the bath with ds1 at the time).

He said 'I'm never getting married, it's too much work'.

I said 'why's that darling?'

He said 'too much cooking and cleaning'.

Dd1 said 'don't be silly ds1, your wife will do that'.


Some things seem to creep in by osmosis. I think they put some genderising chemical in the tap water.

To this day I have no idea how dd1 had ignored every iota of her lived experience in order to brainwash her dbro as to the correct status quo.

I retired to my bed in the manner of a Victorian heroine, replete with the vapours.

AlpacaLunchYoubringyourbooster Thu 15-Aug-13 08:15:34

I wanted to be a princess who worked as a mortician during the day in my yoof.

I wouldn't worry about it, a good few years on now and im reasonably sensible

grumpyinthemorning Thu 15-Aug-13 10:21:18

I think every girl wants to be a princess at some point, I know I did. Didn't grow out of it until I was 21 and realised that knights in shining armour bore me silly, and handsome princes tend to dislike intelligence. Plus I never needed rescuing, I can take care of myself!

HoneyDragon Thu 15-Aug-13 10:29:38

My Ds (age 10) took on the might of DisneyLand this holiday and demanded to know why they only did Princess Packages. He pointed out that boys would enjoyed getting spruced up and having their photo taken too.

I also have a lovely photo off him and Prince Charming bonding over a spot of MineCraft conversation.

Meanwhile my 3yo daughter has started spouting "only girls can be beautiful", that she will be a princess and so forth. hmm, thankfully, she also wants to be Buzz Lightyear too so there's still hope...

PearlyWhites Thu 15-Aug-13 11:18:47

And a little girl pretending to be a princess is a problem why exactly?

FreyaSnow Thu 15-Aug-13 11:30:30

Why is it so bad to be a princess? Why is it better to want to be Buzz Lightyear or a T. rex. It couldn't perhaps be because princesses are girls, could it? And who would want to do a thing that girls do when you could be a boy or even an animal instead?

BramshawHill Thu 15-Aug-13 12:25:28

If she just wants to be a princess because she likes them, thinks it would be fun etc then no problem, go with it.

If she wants to be one because she thinks its the best girls can aim for, it means she'll have a prince to do all the heavy lifting for her, she won't need an education etc then maybe steer her onto some of the cooler princesses!

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 15-Aug-13 12:48:29

Nothing wrong with wanting to be a princess.

Everything wrong with wanting to be a sap who sits around waiting to be rescued and whose only purpose in life is to look pretty.

One word for you - Merida (the original version) !

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 15-Aug-13 13:02:58

She has said it once which does not mean she has been indoctrinated.

However I think it does creep in, the gendered ideas thing. It's impossible to prevent it completely. I think it's important to keep instilling the message that she can be whoever she wants to be, like whatever she wants to like, and you will still love her and she will still be her. Whether that's pretty pink princesses, destroying alpha gun robots or anything at all in between. IME both extremes are damaging, but an interest in them doesn't have to be, as long as you don't push that as the one and only best possible thing for them.

tethersend Thu 15-Aug-13 13:07:18

Freya has nailed it.

I wanted to be a king when I was younger. I aimed high you see grin

I have no issue with girls saying they want to be a princess. Some girls actually like the idea which I dont see a problem with.

Some times girls like stereotypical things and boys like stereotypical boys thing. My son likes to have his nails painted then will go dress up as Buzz Lightyear though.

scallopsrgreat Thu 15-Aug-13 13:18:11

I agree with Amanda. Unfortunately the portrayal of princesses is very passive. They aren't portrayed for what they do but how they look and that, coupled with how much they are pushed towards girls is a damaging message.

I can safely say I never wanted to be a princess when I grew up. The pink and sparkly princesses for girls has definitely been ramped up in more recent years. Part of the Backlash I'd say.

OP I'd just keep push more variety of role models and stories where girls are part of the action (like Merida) or pointing out things like female athletes, doctors etc.

GibberTheMonkey Thu 15-Aug-13 13:24:10

My daughter (7) seems to absorb some shit. I now blame it on school but she's been like it since she was a toddler. I have no idea where it comes from. I sometimes wonder if its just a rebellion against having three brothers

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 15-Aug-13 13:25:24

DS has just asked me for a spiderman handbag. I feel compelled to make him one!

HoneyDragon Thu 15-Aug-13 13:29:03

I have no objection to her playing princess. I do object to her equating

Princess = beautiful = Only girls can be princesses = boys are ugly

At three. sad

Because I don't where it comes from. confused

And yes, original Merida, fabulous. Recently crowned and officially princessed Meridia, is awful.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 15-Aug-13 13:35:50

Disney Princess Merida = awful. I signed the petition. Where is her bow? Why is she sexy? Why isn't she a teenager any longer? She was specifically meant to be a certain character, and the thinking that underlies homogenising her to fit a very passive and appearance based mould is, I think, one of the reasons a lot of people have a gut reaction against princesses.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 15-Aug-13 13:41:21

Honestly I don't see it as a problem - you're just noticing it because you're looking out for it. I read something recently about how parents try so hard to be gender neutral by buying their daughters trucks instead of dolls, and then become disheartened because the girls tuck the cars into little beds and pretend to feed them baby mush. But the author noted that her son did the same thing, as well as crashing them and lining them up and making them fly and giving them voices and any other myriad ways that toddlers play with trucks and cars (or, indeed, any toy)

When we are trying so hard to avoid stereotypes we are really drawn to notice the things we are trying to avoid. I imagine that most DC - boys and girls - will announce at some point that they are a princess or want to be a princess.

If there was no gendered stuff then some girls would still be drawn to princess stuff (as would some boys) because that is their personality and that is what they like.

ReindeerBollocks Thu 15-Aug-13 13:41:27

My daughter was to be Merida, she has a bow and arrows to fire at DS. Its most amusing. She has only seen Brave not the new Merida doll though.

She also pretends to be a beautiful sleeping beauty (her words). Im embracing this phase as surely thats the fun of being four. If she were 25 I'd probably react differently.

Pachacuti Thu 15-Aug-13 13:43:57

DD1 came out with something similar at about that age. A bit of gentle questioning established that she wanted to be a princess so that she could twirl grin so I pointed out that she could get a more interesting job and still twirl.

DD2 is now the same age, has a language delay so no talk of princesses, but she definitely likes twirling too when she gets the chance.

There shouldn't be anything wrong with wanting to be a princess. Except that the common package now seems to include; pink (I know, just a colour); glitter (like nuclear waste it never dies); passivity; wanting for a man; lack of role of your own; clothes that don't let you move; no power. She is also the archetype, which doesn't help. Long blonde hair, tall and slim, very English rose so we get lots of, "she looks like a doll/angel/princess" when we're out.

At least a T-Rex can run. Jessie from Toy Story was her go to heroine. And Buzz, but I agree that there is nothing great about her wanting to be a man either. If they are the ones who get to have fun, it's not surprising.

I've had a think and the only princess in the films she watches is Fiona. I think that might be where she got it from. So, thank goodness, kick-arse Fiona, who is rescued but also does a bit of her own rescuing.

I will look out 'Cinderella ate my daughter'. Someone else suggested it recently and I think I will like it grin

prissyenglisharriviste Thu 15-Aug-13 14:35:21

Honestly, I can send you my copy. It's gathering dust. I'm still unpacking books after our move, so I even kinda know where I stacked it!

Unless you're in Canada, the postage would be a lot! Otherwise I would definitely take you up on it. You didn't move to Canada did you?

My friend's daughter recent,y came out to be something similar. After a bit of questioning (my friend was just interested in how she came to get the idea) it turned out she'd watched the news a bit ago about the baby prince/Kate and William and wanted to be a 'princess like her'.

My eldest loved pink and glitter and twirling and fancy clothes. She's now a teen and hates that sort of stuff, I think it's the fun of being three and four when liking stuff like this doesn't matter too much.

Boosterseat Thu 15-Aug-13 19:56:39

My DS had a handbag Yonibotts he had a cream cosmetics handbag with gold crowns on it, it matched his storm trooper and he kept his plastic shite figures together in it

I think a Spider-Man handbag is a cracking idea.

I'm afraid I let the side down horribly today, while shopping for clothes with DS. He is 8 and he is going to a wedding with his dad on Saturday, so we were hunting for a 'smart shirt' as he has outgrown his last good shirt. All of a sudden he started saying he wanted a dress, a wig and lipstick and to go 'disguised as a girl.'
And I talked him out of it on the grounds that it was someone else's special day and part of 'being good' was dressing in suitable clothes, and that he could have a dress and a wig another time.... and then felt guilty about not letting him 'be himself.'

WhentheRed Thu 15-Aug-13 22:04:36

My daughter went through a similar thing as a toddler. She liked being a girl because of pink and dolls, and she wanted to be a princess. She grew out of it, although she still loves her special doll.

We had a couple of books that helped: The Paperbag Princess and Princesses Are Not Quitters.

prissyenglisharriviste Fri 16-Aug-13 14:46:00

I am in Canada. We're in the same fb quiche ;-)
I'm just still locked out of my original username as a I de-reg too much. <sigh> Tis madwoman.
My mil just fractured her pelvis doing an Andy Murray impression... ;-)

QueenStromba Mon 19-Aug-13 22:13:35

The only princess I remember wanting to be as a kid was She Ra because she had an awesome sword and a flying horse.

WeAreSeven Mon 19-Aug-13 22:24:59

When I was nine, I was always imagining in class that I was a princess. It was mainly because I was a terrible bookworm and had already read all the books we were learning from so I think I was really bored.

In my princess life, for formal occasions, I would have a long golden dress, a red cloak and a golden crown with rubies in it. I would also have a long sceptre thing in one hand.

On less formal occasions, I would have a long pink satin dress, wear my long golden hair in two swiss-style plaits with a pink satin ribbon on the end of each plait.

At ten, my new teacher terrified me out of daydreaming!

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 20-Aug-13 01:48:00

I think Freya has a very good point.

If you haven't seen them already, Sarah Maple's reimaginings of the Disney Princesses are great and Disney should take note:

Hello madwoman <waves>. In which case I would love your copy of the book. Shall I pm you are should I do it though the quiche?

Ouch to poor MIL.

FourGates Tue 20-Aug-13 22:12:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FourGates Tue 20-Aug-13 22:29:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

My nearly 3 yo DD likes the idea of princesses glitter and all things pink. However I don't think anyone could ever persuade her to be passive. I think her indoctrination is from nursery and TV. My main objection to the idea of being a princess is that they basically seem to arse about doing sweet FA, which must be a pretty boring and vacuous existance.

QueenStromba Tue 20-Aug-13 23:02:36

Good on your FourGates. There are too many parents these days who would have responded with "OK, lets get your hair cut and start calling you Simon" and then signed her up for puberty blockers.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 20-Aug-13 23:11:30

DS (nearly 8) never wanted to be a princess or wear pink.

DD (3) wants to be a princess when she grows up and loves pink and glitter. I find it really hard to deal with, TBH, never having been a girly girl myself. The worst bit is that she knows the only way she can become a princess is through marrying a prince, rather than working to become eg a doctor

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 23:17:49

I have wondered the same thing, MrsPratchett. DD started coming out with this crap about pink being for girls etc, before she'd ever had any exposure to the TV programmes, going to nursery, or even spending much time with other little kids. DH and I could not for the life of us figure out where it was coming from. (And yes, I think the princessification of little girls is a problem.)

Since then she's had more obvious exposure to it, and we talk about things being for both boys and girls. She has a male cousin who dresses as a girl, so I am pleased when she gets to see that that is treated as natural by the whole family.

Another good book is Olivia and the Fairy Princesses!

FourGates Wed 21-Aug-13 07:32:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 21-Aug-13 09:44:10

* unashamedly marks place smile

We have a breakthrough. "Superhero" is the new buzzword. I'm sewing capes today. <worries about sewing with feminist credentials> They can run, fly and have interesting back stories. I am a bit hmm about this kind of thing but she is currently not watching the Avengers so I have a few years yet.

FreyaSnow Wed 21-Aug-13 13:18:03

Fourgates, indeed. This one perhaps:


yellowballoons Wed 21-Aug-13 13:30:47

Tell her princesses have to work until they die.
See if she still wants ot be one.

Freya that is DD's 3rd birthday cake now grin

yellow I once told (to my eternal shame) a friend's DD that she didn't want to be a real princess because real princesses came to bad ends (after Diana's death) blush Bad, Bad MrsTerry.

It is tough sometimes I think, and I feel I sometimes have to overcompensate the other way as the rest of the world pulls DD towards princessy pink shit. At the moment, DD who is 3 and a half, seems to still like a good mix of things. The other week she went out as princess superman (superman outfit matched with tiara) and a fairy pirate (pirate costume matched with wand). Her two favourite outfits are Spider-Man followed by fairy dress. I fear it is still all to come though with some of the things that she says sometimes. Luckily DH is great, often wears pink shirts to work and points out that he wears pink and I wear blue very often!

crumpledinside Wed 21-Aug-13 20:51:33

My 2yo dd said yesterday that she wanted to be a princess. And I replied "no, don't be a stinky princess, be a doctor like the girl in Zog".

At which 7yo ds said "don't you mean a nurse?"

Somehow, somewhere, he had got the notion that doctors are male and nurses female. Despite having a female GP.

Where do they get this stuff from?

When I was a little girl in the late 70s, all of us girls wanted to be Wonder Woman or Princess Leia. Princesses were boring. Those were the days.

whatdoesittake48 Thu 22-Aug-13 15:50:00

crumpled - my son came out with similar as a child. he had the notion that women were nurses, but that they did the same job as a doctor. just with a different name.

he thought our doctor was a "nurse" and that it was just the female name for that profession.

Soon put him right on that one. if he wants to wind me up these days (as a big 14 YO) he tells me that "ladies" can't be doctors...

BlazinStoke Thu 29-Aug-13 08:29:04

The problem with princesses for me is that in traditional nursery tales and in the Disney model they are always the property of a man and derive all their supposed power from that man - their power is actually the gift from the male and can be withdrawn at any time if they don't behave in a way that has male approval.
They start off being daddy's girl (the king) and the only opportunity for development is to get married off to a prince - the prettier and more compliant they are the greater the chance of achieving this goal. The biological mother is always absent - at best there will be a wicked step-mother who as another female is a rival to the princess, not a support.
Why would anyone want to be a princess, or want it for their daughter?

OctopusPete8 Thu 29-Aug-13 08:40:40

She's 2 FGS lighten up, in the nicest way possible she will pick up on your disapproval even at her young age and make her feel bad for just partaking in childish silliness.

If she still wants to be a princess in her teen years then I would be concerned.

CockyFox Thu 29-Aug-13 08:54:18

I'm not bothered about DD wanting to be a Princess or a fairy or a tigger because she she also wants to be world kickboxing champion ( which is a much scarier thought).

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