Maybe it is cultural or maybe people just haven’t given this a second thought. But your kid can love princesses and still be taught feminist ideals.
So many children (and yes, the majority are probably the girls), grow up and start to form an obsession for princesses. They want to be dressed in pink sparkles, play inside castles, and dream of one day growing up to be a princess.
Now, not all of the princesses I grew up with lived up to what I now consider to be my feminist ideals and values. So maybe you have to think outside the box when you think about how to raise your little feminist princesses.
Try bedtime stories with a twist (and a little research). It turns out there are books out in the world that teach can teach our mini princesses more than how to be passive and how to adopt unhealthy beauty standards. Books like The Paper Bag Princess, The Princess in Black, and Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu are entertaining, teach life lessons, and even contain some low-key progressive messaging for our aspiring, strong-willed sparkle queens.
Additionally, be tactful in how you approach beloved Disney characters. I don’t recommend taking away the movies that portray princesses in less than ideal ways. That seems like the perfect formula for some Class A temper tantrums and endless “why why whys”. But don’t shy away from commenting on the real problems these characters pose for feminism.
Praise Belle for her love of books and learning, but maybe not her need to stay in what you might view as a toxic relationship. Think out loud about weather or not Cinderella and Prince Charming are likely to share the chores around the castle. And when your child tells you all the wishes they would ask for from a fairy godmother- tell him or her that their hard work and big brains might be the very wands that help them achieve those dreams.
Above all, remember that you aren’t going to do it perfectly and your own actions and behaviors will teach the little princesses more than bedtime stories in the long run.