Princess Shoes

I may have cringed a little bit when I saw Logan walk in the house with these shoes on the other day.

And I double cringed when I saw how happy she was in them.

She received them as a hand-me-down from her sweet cousins and wore them like Prince Charming had just placed a glass slipper on her foot.  Chris and I exchanged a similar "omg" glance as she twirled and pranced and gushed, "Look at me mom!" as they lit up with each step.

So, why the cringe?  Good question.  One that I have been pondering for the past several days since said shoes made their way through our front door.  I hope that I have found an answer to help explain.

Let me preface by saying that my thoughts are in no way an indicator of how I feel towards other moms, little girls or the entire Disney cast for that matter, who love them some princess paraphernalia.  In fact more power to you and thank you, as my daughter will always want to be invited to your houses :)

Although I am a girly kind of girl, I am not a princess kind of girl.  And in turn, am not a princess kind of mom.  Maybe to a fault.  Logan is 2 1/2 and we have not yet watched one "Princess" movie.  She has no gowns or wands or crowns and could not tell you the difference between Belle, Ariel or Jasmine.  I have escaped the aisles of barbies, dress-up and princesses alike.  And if I were being honest, I would suppose I'd say I'm (selfishly) proud of that.  Here's why:

Princesses scare the crap out of me.

They scare me into thinking that my little girl will wonder if she's not good enough as she is.  Not pretty enough in her own clothes.  Not strong enough without her prince.  They scare me, a grown woman, enough to know that there is a certain way to look.  A preferred way to behave.  A proper way to act around boys.  And while I am sure that someone can prove me wrong, all the "princesses" I have encountered in real life are quite intimidating.  Their seemingly perfect, pretty and popular nature is one that comes on strong, is alluring to boot and is hard to shake when your life seems nothing of the sort.

Like injuries, bullies and sugary soda, I find myself wanting to shield my little girl from the inevitable comparison of herself to that of princesses for as long as possible.  It terrifies me to think that she may look at anyone else as more beautiful, more perfect, than her true self.  I want her to know that failing is okay.  That bad hair days happen.  That she won't always get the boy.  I want her to know that she may not be the most popular girl in school.  I want her to know that although she needs to be polite, she doesn't always need to be happy.  I want her to see that there are other rewards in life besides being pretty and some of the best of them are found when you feel...just plain ugly.  I want to make sure that she has played in enough dirt, has fallen on her knees and gotten back up and has discovered that the color turquoise may even be prettier than the color pink.

I realize that it all sounds very dramatic, even silly, but it has taken being a mother to feel this way.  I never thought that this kind of stuff would bother me.  Never thought that I would be the mother "censoring" something as innocent as princesses.  I never thought that I would think twice before buying too much pink or wondering what age is appropriate to own a barbie.  I never imagined that I would think carefully before enrolling her in ballet as opposed to music or choose a book on animals over fairy princesses.  Heck, I even think twice about the message I am sending when I apply my make up in front of her on a daily basis.  And it's all for no other reason than wanting to make it less scary for myself.

You see, Logan already knows that there is something special about those shoes.  She knows that she would rather wear the pink glittery pair as opposed to her comfortable purple sneakers that she can run and play in.  She knows that she is getting special attention when she walks carefully on their heels that light* up with every step.  She knows that they are making her feel different than how she normally does.  And she likes it.

My only hope is that when she wears these shoes that she also knows that she is the beautiful one, not the shoes.  That she possesses the confidence.  That she is lighting up the room.  I want Logan to know that she is the most precious princess there ever was.

*  On a totally separate side note, why must these light up?  I have only seen one other "profession" in which high heels light up.  And it's on a stage.  With very little clothing.  And a pole.  Are you with me?


Jeff and Emily said...

Oh girl you don't want to see the inside of Johanna's room haha!! She is loving the princesses. But very true like you said, we make sure she gets plenty of other activities and interests in with church and charity always on top. But I've gotta say I am the bad influence I had so much fun as a little girl with my imaginary disney world I wanted to share that joy. If it's any consulation I was never the most popular girl in school, am not into vain things and don't even really like shopping now as an adult lol! I personally think waiting for your pince is a good thing. I would rather her want someone who loves her enough to always take care of her and love her like a prince (not spoiling or entitled just treating her above all else). My nightmare (or probably more my Husbands) is she comes home with some creepy slob jerk. I think of it as sex ed- as long as I am the first one introducing her to the stuff and teaching it to her appropriately the much better I feel. You are awesome good job with your diligence! Maybe I could pull off the same thing with my son and football... now that's an obsession I would love to avoid HA!

Tiffany said...

Awesome points Emily, thank you!

Kate said...

I could have written this post, although probably no where nearly as eloquently. I do not like the princess crap for the exact reasons you stated. I just don't like the early focus on beauty and clothes and makeup...there is plenty of time for that in the future.

It also bugs me that Disney has capitalized on the princess characters in their movies... We all watched Disney as kids, and, yes, the princesses were all there but so were the talking animals and the big musical numbers. Now I feel like little girls want to watch The Little Mermaid just because PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS ARIEL is in it...not because its also fun to have an Under the Sea dance party in the living room. There are enough teaching points already without the separate Princess Franchise beating down our doors.

Hildur said...

It's like you are reading my mind, ha! I have the same worries when it comes to princesses, barbies, etc. Growing up, my mom wouldn't buy barbies, and she tried her best to stear me away from disney movies for the same reason. I'm not sure it helped me though. I still felt not pretty enough, insecure, shy, etc. I always wondered if she had just let me enjoy all the girly things that my friends played with maybe I would have been more confident in my tween/teen years. Now that I have Ruby I find myself doing the same as my mom did. She still hasn't seen a princess movie, and I cringed when she pointed out a Cinderella display the other day and said "beautiful!". Obviously I'm very torn...if you ever find a balance between the 2 please share! Also, I just have to say I think your blog is great! It's one of the only ones I check out on a regular basis and actually find interesting :)

Brandee said...

While I am a big fan of Disney movies, I definitely understand where you are coming from. (And that it has little to do with the movies and more to do with the Princess effect.) Have you ever read the Paper Bag Princess? You must pick it up for Logan. :) http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Bag-Princess-Annikins/dp/0920236251 I remember going over to my daily nanny gig that I held for years for two little girls*. Their dad had just gotten the book and urged me to read it. "You'll like how it ends. It's right up your alley." The princess in this book is one you can get behind.

*They ended up mostly avoiding the Disney princess thing and now are way into vampire love stories at age 8 and 10....which lets face it, is kind of the same thing.