“Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me, and don’t talk about me until you have talked to me”. — Unknown.
My daughter wants to be a Disney Princess. When she is old enough she wants to audition, be accepted, and live at Disney. And you know what, you know what I tell her? Go for it! Go for it all the freakin’ way! I am completely fine with that. In fact, I am even encouraging it.
Some parents may cringe at the thought of their daughter doing that “line of work”, labelling it as non-feminist and condescending to a woman. Then, there are other parents who might be disgusted by the thought of Disney guests (and let’s face it mainly the Dads and boys) seeing their “baby” as nothing more than a beautifully crafted puppet. There also may be another group of parents who vocalize their disapproval directly to their daughters, telling them that they will not be doing that as they are “too smart”.
Let’s start off with the fact that no person has the right to judge another person. Let’s follow that fact up with a list of other facts that should be considered as to why it’s okay for a child to desire to live at Disney World as Cinderella or Elsa one day.
Did you know this?
— That most of Disney’s princess have just as much poise and kindness as they do beauty. There are numerous Disney guests’ stories about the graciousness and compassion shown to them by a Disney princess during their trip.
— That all Disney princesses are required to undergo strictly regimented training. To get through this, that Disney princess that you falsely judged as being weak, timid, and uneducated is really super intelligent, extremely talented, and hardworking.
— That although playing the role of a Disney Princess is often called being a “face character,” Disney princesses not only have to look the part, but they also need to know numerous quotes from their movies, know lots of well-known (and lesser known) facts about the character, stay in character at all times and under all circumstances, and know how to sing and dance. I am pretty sure that all of that requires motivation, dedication, and research — a little more than you would expect from “just a pretty face”.
— Disney Princesses are amazing at improvisation because, well, they have to be, as you never know what a guest, especially a child, might say to you. As a parent to three little ones who ask tons of embarrassing and inappropriate questions, I could sure use some tips from these princesses on how to better improve on my responses.
— Disney Princesses are “wish granters”. Often, children of all ages come to visit Disney thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation. For some of these children, meeting a Disney Princess is their main desire. How amazing is it for someone’s wish to be to meet you? And how incredibly awesome is it that you get to grant that person’s wish.
— Disney Princesses can be so impressionable on the guests that they often provoke tears of happiness amongst them.
— Disney Princess work 8.5 hour days, typically in the brutal heat of Florida, receiving only periodic 15-minute breaks. I would venture to guess that having to be “on” and in character for that length of time takes both impressive physical and mental stamina.
A post from a HelloGiggles Contributor, Megan Sweet, titled “Just a Few Smart Lessons I Learned From Disney Princesses”, contends that “while most of the storylines for Disney princess movies include damsels in distress who get saved by a prince”, there is the alternative choice to “interpret the characters in a much deeper way”.
The contributor goes on to share that Disney taught her “the importance of becoming a strong woman”, and “how to play a role I choose for myself“. Her article notes that Disney Princesses, as they are portrayed in their movies, and by the real-life people who “play” them at Walt Disney World, taught her that women are intelligent, women can (and often should) rebel against the norm and society-imposed gender roles, women can make their own choices, women can stand up for what they believe, women can take risks to reach their dreams, that a woman’s beauty comes from within, and much, much more.
So… the next time we go to Disney, I will happily introduce my daughter to the Princesses, knowing that they are great role models for her.
And, do you know what else she wants to be? A teacher, a doctor, a dancer, a business owner, and possibly a Mommy. Want to know what I tell her? That she can be a princess and still be a teacher. That she can be a princess and still be a doctor. That she can own her own business and still be a princess. And, oh yea, she can also be a princess and still be Mommy (like me!).
Not one of these “roles” is more or less suited for her. Not one of these roles makes her less than a “strong” woman. Not one of these jobs makes her less of a feminist.
I would be damn proud to have a princess or a medical professional for a daughter. I would be damn proud to have an educator or a CEO for a daughter. And, I would be more than proud to have a mere (ha!) “Mommy” as a daughter. And to my daughter, you should be damn proud of whoever it is that you want to be, because you being proud of yourself is really all that matters; not what I think, not what your father thinks, and sure as heck not what the general public thinks.
Guest post by Nicole Merritt
Nicole is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Follow Nicole and jthreeNMe on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.