And They Danced

I was talking to Mr. California about his daughter, who has decided that princess things are “babyish”. Not quite from the sounds of it, is she at the stage where she packs up her dolls and her barbies and her dress up clothes for make up and magazines about Justin Bieber, but moving toward adulthood all the same.

We both have a reaction. His, as a father, and mine as an older woman. I don’t like the princess theme that runs through the lives of young women. I like candlelight and romance as much as any other woman, but I don’t like the subtle ways we tell young girls that someone will rescue you (Someone will. It turns out it will be you. Get an education. It will help the process). I don’t like the notion of a fantasy life, I don’t like the notion that all a princess needs is to be pretty and she’ll be saved. (It screws women like me who may be quirky, but aren’t conventionally pretty)

I think back, when I hear about children leaving childish things to a night in San Francisco 4 years ago. I think back to Kuri and I watching two little girls sing and dance as we waited for the streetcar.

Even now, I can see it. I can close my eyes and see them on a warm day, with the streetlights as their foot lights, dancing and singing to music of their own making. I can see everyone watching them, and they were utterly unaware of it.

Don’t grow up, I thought in my mind. Stay here. Stay safe and comfortable and sheltered. Stay where you are loved. It cannot be so, it should not be so.

We should all grow. Not up, perhaps, but even as adults we should all grow towards something. Something bigger and better than what we are. We should grow more wise, or at least more able to not swear at the coffee maker. We should grow in patience and mercy and kindness.

Which I think must mean leaving childish things behind. We must leave behind baby dolls for babies, dancing under street lights for school work. Still though, I wish we could find a way to help those little girls hold on for just a bit longer.


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4 Responses to And They Danced

  1. a says:

    My girl was late to the princess party, and her interest seems mostly in the realm of group think. She likes it because other girls her age do. But I take heart that she preferred the shoes with the characters from Brave over the Princess shoes she could have chosen.

    I am happy to come from a family of late bloomers. I hope my daughter has inherited that quality.

    And the coffee makers (and other appliances) clearly put out a mind control ray of some sort that MAKES you swear at them.

  2. loribeth says:

    I think it was Joanne Thomas Yaccato, who wrote a book about Canadian women & money, who, in trying to discourage the princess mindset, said something along the lines of “These days, Prince Chaming is driving a pickup truck and wants help with the payments.”

    One of my favourite gifts to give little girls is a copy of “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch. It’s an unconventional princess story, where Princess Elizabeth rescues Prince Ronald from the dragon. Not only that, Ronald turns out to be a twit — and Elizabeth tells him off. They don’t get married & at the very end, you see her happily skipping off into the sunset by herself. I love it!

  3. Catherine W says:

    Wish somebody had thought to tell me, about twenty years or more ago . .

    I don’t like the subtle ways we tell young girls that someone will rescue you (Someone will. It turns out it will be you. Get an education. It will help the process).

    I like the sound of ‘The Paperbag Princess’ Lori. And I wish that I could persuade young girls that there is no rush. No rush at all.

  4. debby says:

    I have a 31 year old daughter who is still waiting to be rescued. Her doll baby is my grandson. It breaks my heart. Her prince charming is a twit. Perhaps I should give her the “Paperbag Princess”.

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