Friday, April 11, 2008

Pretty as a princess



For as long as I can remember, I've always loved storybook princesses. Sleeping Beauty's Princess Aurora was my Halloween costume of choice for years when I was a child. Disney movies constantly rotated through my VCR player. I thought nothing of prancing through the grocery store, mall, school, or movie theater with a tiara on my head and twirling pink voluminous skirts about me.


However, over the years "princess" has either been mocked or scorned. It's related to screaming girls pitching fits and demanding over-the-top expensive gifts or girls that are so snobbish and high-maintenance that movie stars would shake their heads. Or it's mocked by people as being something women are taught to embrace because of our sexist culture and they should learn to rely on themselves and quit dreaming of Prince Charming because all men are evil pigs.


My friends Emma (www.emmasanders.blogspot.com) and Marie (www.ayearatoakcottage.blogspot.com) have both blogged about the movie Enchanted. Emma was worried at first that her niece would take the wrong message away from it (and relieved to find out the twist ending), while Marie was delighted by a traditional fairy tale full of whimsy and humor.


Yesterday, I went over to my neighbor's with their wedding present. We're attending their wedding Saturday night and I wanted to make sure they had it before chaos ensued. Their three year old daughter was prancing around the living room wearing a tiara and dress featuring the Disney Princesses Belle, Aurora and Cinderella. "Beauty and the Beast" was blaring from the television and she watched in awe as the brave Belle confronted the beast for the first time.

"She loves playing princess," the bride confessed, tearing open their wedding present with glee. "Her favorite is Cinderella, but she's been begging to watch Sleeping Beauty."

Well! She met a kindred spirit in me! As the little girl and I chatted about the movie, which involved her pointing at the television and repeating "The Beast! The Beast! The Beast!, I learned her favorite color was pink and she didn't actually own any princess movies. She rented them.

After we skipped back to my house to visit the puppies, I loaned them the Disney movies in my collection. When she saw the DVD box of "Sleeping Beauty," the little girl beamed and trotted up to me.

"The dragon!" she cried, delicately poking the DVD box. "Bad dragon! Girl scared!"

"That's right," I said. "Sleeping Beauty falls under a spell from Malificient and turns into a dragon to stop Phillip from rescuing him."

She cocked her head at me. "Princess scared," she repeated. "Scared of dragon."

"She's asleep," I corrected her. "He has to come save her."

The little girl beamed and shook her head. "Prince scared," she said. "The princess will stop dragon." With that, she launched herself into my arms for a hug and thanked me profusely. After patting the puppies, she skipped back to her house clutching my DVDs.

I beamed as I twirled around my living room, the puppies around my feet. Princesses, no matter how tiny they may be, know that being a princess isn't about sitting around waiting to be rescued or demanding to be served by others. They are gracious, kind, friendly to all creatures and full of joy and laughter.

It helps to be wearing a cute little skirt set and tiara with tissue paper hanging off of it with bright brown eyes and a baby toothed smile.

Or a just never give up wearing a tiara.

3 comments:

Marie said...

As a young girl I longed to be a Princess too and for Happily Ever After. I still long for those things except I have come to realize that a tiara isn't always made of gold and scattered with precious stones. It comes in many shapes and sizes and is scattered with love. I Love my kingdom and I don't long for anything else these days. I have found my happily ever after. The odd thing was that it was inside me the whole time!

Sarah Beth said...

a friend of a friend is writing a thesis on princess culture at UT. you two should talk.

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