Monday, 19 December 2011

Our Little Princess? by Theo

The other day somebody commented on our blog that we shouldn't think too hard about parenting and just let things happen naturally. We kind of agreed and disagreed at the same time: parenting is hugely important and we think it is worth thinking about how you go about being a parent. But, in case we come across as manic 'must-stick-to-a-prescriptive-parenting-style' dictators, here's a little example of how our darling daughter constantly derails us....

Neither Kate nor I are big fans of Princesses. There are lots of reasons for this. While neither of us have exactly the same views, collectively we're not fond of:
  • the association of girls (and boys) with certain colours and clothing styles which the whole Princess syndrome helps disseminate and reinforce;
  • the Princesses in traditional fairytales are all ridiculously meek and mild characters, constantly waiting to be rescued, whose stories always end when they get married (as if a woman ceased to be of interest on becoming a wife). We'd rather a daughter who was more self-reliant and independent thanks very much*;
  • the idea of owing your status in society to your parents and/or husband, rather than your own merits, isn't really the message we'd like our little girl to grow up with.
So we'd resolved not to get Rosie books and clothes that gave out the idea that little girls should be pretty, quiet, well dressed and delicate in order to be valued. Frankly I'd be happy if Rosie never saw a Disney film in her life, but that's practically impossible. But at least we thought we'd be able to put it off until Rosie had the language skills for us to discuss the ideas with her.

Then a very kind friend of ours donated some of her daughter's old books to us. The collection include three books from Tony Ross's 'The Little Princess' series. Despite our initial intention to take them along to the charity shop they swiftly became firm favourites with Rosie.

We relented. And despite us still not being fans of Princess books, there's a fourth 'The Little Princess' book wrapped up and waiting for Rosie under our Christmas Tree.

*Sure the Paper-bag Princess is a good example of a self-reliant Princess. But I think the story would be even better if she wasn't a Princess at all.

1 comment:

  1. ...wait 'till MLP, and the fun that's coming at nursery/infant school. Eeeek!