I call my daughters a lot of nicknames, but princess isn’t one of them.
Princess is a cute term of endearment for any little girl, right? No one means any harm when they refer to a pint-size woman as “princess”. It’s just a nickname after all. It doesn’t hold any real significance and it’s what every girl aspires to be, right?
The term “princess” dates back to the 1600s. It implies British royalty. My life is anything but royal (cue Lorde’s song), so why would I suggest my daughter be labeled as one? It’s not that I don’t wish the world for my daughter. I long for her to be treated with respect and as someone’s equal someday. We all know the saying “treat her like a princess”, but if you’ve watched Disney, you know we don’t treat our princesses all that well.
Most Disney princesses are waited on, always glamorously dressed, forced to marry a certain class, and each has a flawless body. That doesn’t sound like the kind of woman I want my daughter to be. We watch all kinds of Disney movies, but my older daughter is more interested in non-conformist “princesses” like Moana, Ariel, and Ana from Frozen.
And then, the men in Disney movies are either heroes or bad guys. There isn’t an equivalent term or label for boys, so why do we give our girls one?
Why do we encourage them to live in controlled, defined, and stereotypical girl culture?
Girl moms can agree that it’s fun dressing up their little ladies in frills, bows, and all things pink. I’m guilty of it, too. But, do you know how hard it is to find printed tees with “Determined to Shine”, “You Can Achieve Anything” and “All-Star” for girls is? It’s next to impossible. Most shirts are decked in glittery sayings such as “Mommy’s Angel”, “Diva” and “Future Princess”. This has got to change.
I want my daughters to know they’re more than damsels in distress, that they’re more than their looks. They are destined for more than being someone’s trophy wife or someone to be served. I want them to go to college, chase their dreams, think the unthinkable, and be who they’re destined to be without any hesitation. They may or may not marry or have children, and I will never force anything upon them. My daughters are not royalty, and I will not raise them to think the world owes them something. I want them to be empowered, not entitled.
So, if not “princess”, what do I call them?
Lovely. Beautiful. Strong. Amazing. Smart. Happy. Special. Important.
I call them by their names because that’s who they are, not a princess.
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