If we want our little girls to grow up to become independent, world changing citizens we need to feed them with strong, realistic role models. Personally, I don’t think that perfectly styled, tiara wearing women respond to that need, but before you start judging me or thinking that I am an angry bitter feminist let me tell you something.
Some people think that princesses are great role models for girls because they are an example of good morals. Are they really? My girls live in a country where we don’t have to go to an amusement park or put on a dvd to watch princesses. We have real princesses in Spain but it turns out that being a princess is not half as cool or morally irreprehensible as our society wants us to think. One of our princesses was charged with fraud and tax evasion (remember, this is a country with 27 percent unemployment and a long-running recession). Another one got a divorce and had to wait until she was 50 to finally have a relationship with the man she always wanted. And the one who married our prince has since become an anorexic, sad looking woman, who is strongly criticized every time she dares to state her opinion publicly.
And anyway, what use are your good morals for if your biggest goal in life is to sit around doing your nails while waiting for a prince charming to come “rescue” you?
Those in favour of princesses also advocate that they are better role models than the ones MTV or trashy reality TV shows feed our girls with. Yep, that’s true. Cinderella wins hands down to Cyrus in my moral rank anyday. But the thing is that my girls are 5 and 7, so they still don’t have any exposure to those TV personalities (I would be terribly concerned if my 7 year old even knew who Snooki is ). In a few years I will worry about bum shaking celebrities but, for now, they are being bombarded with tones of pink, glitter and crystal heels so that’s what I’m dealing with.
Of course I’m realistic and I know that I can only influence my girls choices up to a certain point (and up to a certain age). They do have princess dresses at home, some of their best friends are huge princess fans and that’s totally fine. I want them to be informed, not indoctrinated. We can spend an entire happy afternoon dressing up like Tiana, but the next day I will make sure we take out the trains or the construction tools. It’s all about expanding their horizons and letting them know that they can become whatever they want and that part of the reason for that is because some women fought (and still fight) for that equality.
In these pictures you can see the panel of role models that my eldest has chosen for our new flat. Some, like Jane Goodall, have been in her room for years, others like Malala are new additions. (the others are Gerda Taro, Maria Pita, Julia Butterfly and Ruby Bridges ). We have also talked about Rachel Carson, Leymah Gbowee, Irena Sendler and more…I treasure every time we spend together searching for new women to add to our list because those hours have always led to great conversations and thought-provoking discussions.
Who are your daughter’s heroes? Do you have a place for them in your home ? I would love to hear your opinions!
If this is something that matters to you, please consider contributing to Jaime Moore’s wonderful project. Have a look at the photographs she has taken with her little girl. You are going to love them.