The diverse, self-sufficient, modern woman and mother in me detests the princess market that seems to be targeting an ever-younger audience of girls. Even before Amelia was born Husband and I decided to categorically ban princess labeled items from our house. There are no “Daddy’s Little Princess” piggy banks or “I’m The Princess” shirts in Amelia’s room.
So it’s not surprising that we are conflicted about inviting Disney’s Princesses into our home. With Amelia turning two this summer, I know we must soon decide how we will handle this common toddler obsession. Why not ban them outright without a second thought? A couple of reasons.
First, I love it when my children are passionate. Should the day arrive that Amelia becomes passionate about all things princess I want to nurture her energy and enthusiasm. Second, I grew up loving Ariel, Belle and Jasmin. I knew all the songs by heart and had a poster of Belle on my closet door. How hypocritical would I be to deny my daughter the very thing that I enjoyed as a child?
The main reason though is that I still love Disney movies. I own DVDs of all my favorites and watch them regularly (no children required). I may not walk around wearing Disney earrings or a Mickey Mouse watch, but I did see the IMAX version of Beauty and The Beast on my honeymoon in 2002. I think the stories are timeless and, when paired with good parenting, can help teach children to be thoughtful and caring people.
Over the past two days I’ve been reminded of just how timeless these movies are and (perhaps even more noteworthy) how entrenched they are in my thoughts. Yesterday, in the middle of an uncharacteristically intense fight with Husband, I found myself struggling to not lash out in anger and say something I’d regret. What was going through my mind you ask? Mrs. Pots from Beauty and the Beast telling Beast, “You must control your temper!” Over and over that phrase kept me from saying things I’d surely regret. Then today, as I thought about how past events had contributed to last night’s argument, I heard Rafiki from The Lion King saying “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” A small but comforting reminder to not run from my own past.
Will Amelia be watching Disney Princess movies someday? You bet. And I’ll be singing along right beside her. Will my daughter’s room be decorated with castles and pink tulle? Ah…no.