We worked really, really, really, really hard not to “genderize” our kids.
We had a simple philosophy: let them play and explore and be kids without forcing them into stereotypical gender roles.
Our son hosts intricate tea parties and likes bulldozers and firetrucks.
Our daughter is a rough-and-tumble kid who loves both Queen music and unicorns and rainbows.
So the next step after unicorns and rainbows is princesses. The classic princesses, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and the like, exist to be married to a prince. And that’s about it.
Disney has done such an incredible job over the past 20 years in reshaping the image of “princesses” to reflect so many cultures and ethnicities…but don’t neglect how they have also evolved into independent, skilled role models, like Merida and Mulan. When discussing the “princesses,” we focus on their talents and abilities, not just their partners.
With the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we showed our kids the original trilogy.
Watching my daughter watch the first Star Wars was an amazing experience. Her world was literally expanding in front of her eyes. Light sabers, Jedis, SPACE! Her jaw was pretty much on the floor for the entire film.
But nothing topped “her.”
A princess like she had never seen before.
Princess Leia fought side-by-side not just WITH the heroes, but AS a hero.
You can use a dozen words to describe Princess Leia in the original Star Wars before you even begin to consider stereotypical femininity. Not that she isn’t feminine, but that is such a small part of her character in the first movie.
She was smart, strategic, aggressive, courageous, brash, witty, resourceful, perceptive, adventurous, commanding. To be honest, it’s easy to forget that she’s a princess.
For my daughter, this was the most amazing depiction of a “girl” on-screen she had ever seen. A princess that was the antithesis of dainty and proper opened new doors in her imagination.
In the two months since seeing the original Star Wars, she:
1) talks about Princess Leia just about every day
2) wants to dress up as her, hair and all
3) is now OBSESSED with space and astronomy. She has spent weeks learning about all the planets in the solar system.
The role models our kids choose for themselves shape how they view the world. Thank goodness my daughter chose Princess Leia and the light side of the Force.