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and then came the princesses…

Ruby-princess-costume

Ruby-princess-costume

Ok, so I'll start this post by saying that I was never into princesses as a kid. I barely had any dolls. My dad got me a fake Barbie from Chinatown one time, and I played with it once. I never fed a baby doll a bottle, I never brushed a doll's hair with a plastic comb, and I never dressed up like a princess for Halloween. The closest I came to that was the year I was Strawberry Shortcake when I was 5. And then a bird pooped on my mask while I was at school in my costume. I took that as a sign to never be a character for Halloween again ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fast forward to 30-some years later, and I have an almost 4 year old whom I rarely expose to princesses (Ok, I did let her watch Frozen because I liked how it was about sisterly love) or dress up. And it's not that I have anything against princesses, it's just not a world I know about. And now she's infatuated with being a princess and having a magic wand and dressing up in these princess dresses that her friends have (like said outfit above). Ruby has even asked for plastic princess heels for her birthday. I guess I understand. I know little girls like this stuff. But since I never liked this stuff, it's a little harder for me to process. It doesn't help that "princess stuff" is both pink AND purple and all kinds of shiny, frilly, and glittery all at once. (Could I just redesign what a modern day princess would wear?!)

So, what do you do…say "yes" and let your kids be into this thing that every other kid is into? Or do you steer them away from it?

80 comments

  1. I think it is important to let each child have individual interests! If Ruby seems to like princesses, let her be into them, even if it seems like many other girls like them too. You weren’t into them and that was okay for you, but it is also okay for her to like them. I think pushing a child either direction is when there is a problem.

  2. My daughter is the same way (and my initial reaction was the same as yours!). But it brings her a lot of enjoyment, so I just let her do it; however, I emphasize the qualities I like about all of the princesses instead of just saying how beautiful they are (i.e. I love how Belle loves to read books and has such a good imagination, just like you like to read books; Anna is so funny and loyal, and she really loves her sister just like you love your sister; Cinderella is so kind and loves animals, just like you love your dog; Tianna is hard-working and really goes after what she wants, etc…)

  3. I have two little girls who love all things princess and sparkly. I think they’ll outgrow it, but i also think it’s totally okay to encourage even their “silly” interests at this age and not try to talk them out of it. Princesses can have lots of good qualities to admire, too (i totally agree about Frozen!). As long as she continues to like other things as well, let her enjoy it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I know my sister in law has been dealing with this, and with her brown-skinned, curly-brown-haired daughter wishing she looked like stupid stupid stupid Elsa and her long blonde hair and white skin, so it’s like a double whammy of frustration. I’m just the crazy auntie, but I just try to convince her that all the knights in any story are ALSO girls, and that the girls can rescue other girls, etc. As soon as she’s old enough I’m making her watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and Steven Universe because those are hilariously diverse and have strong female characters who kick actual ass. Til then, I’m praying Moana supplants that stupid albino agoraphobe in my niece’s heart, when it comes out.

  5. oh joy! please redesign children’s princess costumes! i would buy all of em. when are you coming out with a clothing line!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. That’s a tough one ! I was not into girly stuff myself as a kid, more the tomboy kind, so I don’t know how I would react if girl went all girly bling… But I guess if you forbid something to a kid he just gonna want it very bad so I would go with a different approach. I think you’re idea of rethinking the whole princess stuff is good ! Keep us posted ! Xo

  7. Hahaha! I laughed through your post because I was the exact same as a kid. My parents always say I got 1 doll as a present once and didn’t even change her clothes or interact with her! I had an older brother and I guess I was more into whatever he was doing!
    What a great idea it would be if you could design a MODERN PRINCESS day wear!!
    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

  8. Consider this your training for Motherhood. When she is twelve and wants to shave her legs because all her friends parents let them shave their legs and you are torn because you don’t want her to grow up so fast, but you don’t want her to be mocked for having the hairy spider legs! It’s a constant tug between society/peers and what you want to instill. It just starts with princess dresses. There is a balance, you just have to find it and you have already started. She is adorable as a princess btw.

  9. I love Noelle’s comment, as well — and it’s what I try to emphasize to my almost four-year old who is currently princess-obsessed. But, can I second the request for a modern day princess redesign? ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi Christine,
    Such a good point! When I was 12, I wanted to shave my legs and my mom wouldnโ€™t let me. But then i just went and did it anyway when she wasnโ€™t looking ;/
    Joy

  11. I agree with Laura. You don’t want to try to discourage the princess play because then she will likely want it that much more, but you can expose her to other princesses. The Mighty Girl’s list is great! And I LOVE the idea of designing your own dress-up princess outfits for her.

  12. That was unnecessarily nasty! why can’t she be interested in someone who is a different race? Why not use it as an opportunity to teach her about differences and internal sameness?

  13. Yes let her play! I also see this as an opportunity for you to explore another world through your daughter’s eyes, since you didn’t experience this as a child. A second childhood! If only we were all so lucky. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. There are some great books on this topic, such as “Cinderella Ate My Daughter”. The author provides some helpful tips here:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/navigating-princess-culture/
    As a mother of 2 daughters (aged 2.5 and 0.5), I can see how it would be hard for a little girl to dodge the princess phase. I also wonder if it’s strictly a North American phenomenon, given how pretty-pink-glamour centric our girl culture is?
    Good luck, Joy.

  15. Olivia and the Fairy Princess is a great picture book liking princesses but also not wanting to blend in with the crowd. Also the ending is hilarious.

  16. Alternative princess: check out Kate Beaton’s “The Princess and the Pony” – very cute, silly, and with a little Viking princess instead of the pink and sparking kind.

  17. Check out The Guardian Princesses! http://guardianprincesses.com
    First conceptualized by Professor Setsu Shigamatsu of UC Riverside, Professor Shigamatsu was concerned with princess culture and its impact on children.
    The Guardian Princess Mission Statement:
    1. We aim to transform the cultural meaning of princesses and princes into positive role models who take action to protect living beings and the planet for future generations.
    2. We seek to promote greater racial, cultural, and gender inclusivity. We expand the cultural representation of beauty by including different size princesses and princes, as well as those with disabilities.
    3. To produce high quality educational tools that are entertaining. Our goal is to utlilize multimedia platforms to educate readers and users about current global issues and how we can all be part of the solution.
    4. Our stories promote greater awareness of the environment and aim to advance childrenโ€™s knowledge in STEM subjects (sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics).
    5. Our stories combine teaching ethical principals with the practical imperatives of helping parents, teachers, and children meet Common Core State Standards.

  18. When I was little, I loved princesses (Little Mermaid was my princess of choice. Belle was also popular), my little ponies, baby dolls, etc. Pretty much everything girly and sparkly. I can’t remember my parents ever trying to redirect my interests or discouraging my love for all things disney-related. I now have a PhD and I’m a scientist. I would say my princess-loving days most likely served me well, and they definitely helped me foster a level of creativity and imagination that are incredibly useful in a biomedical field.

  19. Against my taste for good design, I let my daughter go full-throttle into Princess-ville. Because of course, like most other things, any resistance on my part will just fan the flames. Sure enough, the phase lasted about a year and now, at 6, she’s all about science, robots, and monsters.

  20. As long as she enjoys dressing up and she’s not hurting herself or others, I see no harm in it. Dressing up and playing pretend encourages kids to use their imagination.
    My 6-year-old daughter is OBSESSED with Star Wars. I was never a huge fan of it growing up, but now I enjoy it for the costumes and puppetry.
    Allowing them to have lots of different interests, even if they aren’t the same as yours, is likely helping them become a well rounded person.

  21. If it makes you feel any better… I grew up loving Barbies, baby dolls and dress up, but I balanced it with a love for legos, camping and riding my bike. I’m 29 now and haven’t ever been super “girly”- I think it’s all about giving them a good mix!

  22. I think it’s great for them to fantasise ๐Ÿ™‚ At the same time it is also important to keep them grounded and just be in tuned with real life ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Yes! We love that book.
    Maira is kind of into princesses but reeeeeaaaalllly into purple/pink. It grates on me sometimes, but really, I just remember how my mom let me layer multiple colors of socks and hairspray my bangs really tall, and how grateful I am that she let me express myself and find my way to myself now.
    I think this is all part of childhoodโ€”exploring, pretending, and imagining. Maybe it’s our job to open her world to even more than she can imagine.
    One thing I know for sure: After she goes through all of her phases, indulges in all of her obsessions and interests, expresses those quirks and habits, a pretty amazing young lady will emerge.

  24. I totally get it. I hate all the character stuff from a design standpoint. My son is into all the thomas stuff. I gave him a train themed birthday but it was not overtly thomas. That said, I say let them be into what they are into. From what I can tell, Joy has a love for pink and purple and at least bit of sparkle and glitter too ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe just in a slightly different more designed form. Girls will be girls. My 14 month old is already dragging her baby doll around and kissing it and my 3 year old son is, as I mentioned crazy into trains. It’s so odd how kids just gravitate toward those gender specific things as much as we try to give them the opportunity to explore every option

  25. Feeling you Joy! My 3 year old son is very into trucks, and I cannot wait for a new phase. I’m always trying to get him to do a craft, or go on a nature hunt, or to garden with me, but he rarely complies and when he does there is ALWAYS a car or truck in his hand that quickly takes over his attention. He hasn’t played with his doctor’s kit once! ๐Ÿ™‚
    At first I was concerned that he wasn’t exploring enough, or that his interests wouldn’t be diverse as he matures but I’m mostly over it now. I’ve actually used his fascination / obsession as a way to get him to focus on books, puzzles, art and math worksheets. If there is a truck included in the activity, he will participate. I even fashion the veggies on his plate into the shape of a truck to get him to eat more! I realize the idea of a princess and what that means culturally/socially is a heavier issue, but from what I’ve experienced so far, EVERYTHING at this age is a phase and so long as she is exposed to a variety of women, ideas (and colors!!) her current fascination will not lead to a skewed perception of what it means to be a “girl.”

  26. Here are a couple of good book lists for positive princesses and strong girls. I second A Mighty Girl. What an awesome resource for raising independent, strong, compassionate humans–not just girls. I think you should also be encouraged that Ruby seems to have some pretty varied interests. You clearly do a wonderful job showing her that the world is her oyster and she belongs anywhere she chooses to be! What a lucky girl to have such an awesome mama!
    http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/05/positive-princess-books-for-kids.html
    http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/09/picture-books-about-strong-girls.html

  27. I totally get it and am dreading this phase with my little girl too! I cringe at the thought but like you think it’s inevitable especially when they’ll see their friends dressed up like that and attend a zillion frozen parties. In the end, fantasising and imaginary play is probably what’s most important so embrace it I say. But I would definitely be on board with your modern version of a princess! xx

  28. I have two girls like you who love princesses and play princess all the time! But they also love trucks, tools, dirt, and so many other things! I read a quote recently that said something about how Science and Tutus are not mutually exclusive. I want my girls to love and feel empowered by the “girly” things they like along with the “boy” things they like. We are doing feminism a disservice to dissuade our girls from
    Liking feminine things like princesses. My
    Oldest currently wants to be a mermaid and an animal doctor when she grows up. I say, do it!

  29. Can I put a different spin on it? If you never played soccer as a child but she suddenly was really into it, would you discourage her just because it wasn’t your interest? Probably not.
    I would let her explore and play and be creative without passing judgement. I’m not into princess stuff either (and used to get rid of all those crazy onesises that people get them as babes that say, Daddy’s Princess, etc.) but I don’t think it’s fair or healthy to try and control what they play with or gravitate to. Playing princess doesn’t make her any less kind, smart or unique. It just makes her a kid. It will pass. Until then, play with her! There’s such magic in getting on their level and sharing in their excitement.

  30. My daughter wore her frozen dress EVERYDAY for two months straight… Until we hid it. Finally we jsut accepted the princess phase (still ongoing) and let her be a kid. I’m sure it will eventually pass. Now if she’s 30 and still wanting to wear a tiara and pink frilly princess dresses, then you have a problem on your hands. ๐Ÿ˜›

  31. Kids are going to be kids & as others have mentioned, they’ll be into it even more if you say no. I just try and steer my daughter towards other things but yeah, as dress ups go she refuses to be anything else except frozen.

  32. I say let her be into it if she’s into it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a fairly non-girly engineer but my 3-year-old loves princesses. I don’t really see any harm in it. She’s a kid, it’s a phase, and I figure my husband and I provide plenty of non-fantasy input and examples just by talking to her and being her parents. You don’t have to go crazy with it, but letting her have some process dresses or shoes is pretty benign to me. And hey — sometimes we just have to accept that not everything our kids like will fit our design aesthetic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. We are currently in the throes of princess-ness (my daughter is having a Cinderella birthday in two days) and I’ve found that despite my best efforts, nothing really deters her from it. We limit things like the toys and outfits because omg the merchandizing is ridiculous, but we do a lot of the Golden Books, colouring books, activities, etc. and upsell the better parts of the stories like how kind Cinderella is, even to those who don’t show her kindness. It’s totally a phase and they’ll outgrow it. Good luck, mama!

  34. i sent this to my sister: http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/category/princesses
    my niece is also obsessed with princesses…and it wasn’t something either of us (my sis and me) were into as kids. BUT it’s hard to say “no” when there’s so much joy that comes out of her when she sees or plays princess. as such, i found that link to historical princesses in all their rebelious and badassness pretty inspiring! it’s also globablly inclusive ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. being exposed to other girls (and the known marketed world in general), its near impossible to avoid. i never voluntarily did so for my older daughter, but the craze found her, and we let her enjoy it in a moderate way (probably owned about 4 “manufactured princess dresses,” and a accessories like shoes, tiaras and wands). You know, i just started to get rid of stuff as her interests grew. finally as we were down to the couple of higher quality pieces, i found out her truest desire was to wear a “real” gown that had a train, and i traded all her old princess dresses for a custom dress that dragged (around age 6-7). her sister, who is 4 years younger also loves a good princess moment, but both girls also love life in general with its wide variety of offerings. i think its a matter of exposure to lots of different things and finding out the heart of why they love what they do. and why not indulge in some handmade costumes while discovering those beauties together?

  36. a friend with older kids, tells me that once little girls goto kindergarten, the older kids sort of ridicule them out of it! Its not cool to be into princesses when you are in school, so i’ll let my preschooler enjoy pretending to be a princess, and let the elementary school ease her out of that phase.

  37. Hahahah, Elsa as “stupid albino agoraphobe” was perfect for this (i’m cranky) friday morning. I’m totally with you (and Noelle, above) in talking about what princesses and/or any other girls can actually DO other than don pretty dresses and meet-cute with a prince. Pleased to say I got to watch two little girls (mine and a friend) both in dresses, playing Cinderella. In the woods. While carrying sticks and mud and logs around a stream, and exploring for other “treasures.” Pity (and care for) the boys here: in 2015 it is still far harder for them to be whoever they want to be than the girls!

  38. What a great post. I’m feeling the same thing with my 3 1/2 year old daughter!
    The background of my take: it is our job to grow our sons and daughters into strong, wonderful adults in society. That’s our job; we’re people-trainers.
    As for the princess question, what an interesting one! I read once that a woman’s most core desire, in her inmost being, is to be swept up in a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure, and to be the Beauty of the story. I think that most modern princess stories touch on these three desires.
    While there is nothing wrong with seeing princesses as romantic, adventurous, and beautiful and wanting to be like them, unfortunately, the creators of these princesses have couched the characters we so commonly know in mostly sad versions of true beauty: they’re all so, so small that they set a standard for beauty as tiny, mostly white, and sexual; the princess construct is all too often one born of consumerism; and the values each princess movie subtly supports, even the modern one, do not meet the standard many parents espouse in their own families.
    With that in mind, I think it is completely doable to enable our daughters to feel beautiful and adventurous by helping them figure out a way to play princess safely, wisely, and with the right values. I do not think that just because our kids are interested in something, we should let them do it, lest we step on their self-expression. Our job is to see their interests and use those that are healthy to help grow our children into the people they were meant to be.
    Be inspired by our children’s creativity and pair it together with your job: to grow and train. You can do it. And it doesn’t have to be all pink and purple and sparkles. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. same here. i was never into barbies and was adamant my daughters would not play with them when they were born. when the oldest was about 3 my cousin sent her home with a barbie and so it began. it was the only thing they wanted. eventually they had an entire room in the basement full of barbies dreamhouses, campers, malibu beach houses etc etc. i remember the day (when they were teens and we were renovating the basement) i put it all on the curb while they were at school and all the cars that pulled over to take all that barbie stuff home to their own kids. nobody took anything else out of my trash, just the barbie crap. now they are grown ups and neither are girly girls. one is a goth that owns medical practices and one is a hippie farmer. so no lasting negative effects from the barbies. dont sweat it.

  40. Hi Joy, I am feeling your pain. I don’t want to go into the whole debate about princesses but this post is at the forefront of my mind too. Thanks!

  41. oh my goodness, my daughter is also 4 and has been obsessed with princesses since she was 2! Let’s not even get started about Frozen. Only lately has she been interested in dressing up in characters like a kitty cat for Halloween-or a dolphin (?) even. I never pushed princesses her way, it’s just what she fell in love with–those Disney Little People Princesses are her fave.
    xo Anna of The Analog House

  42. The Princess Phase only exists for children with media exposure. All children like to play make-believe and often don’t even require props to do so. My grandchildren have had zero exposure to media and they are whales in the sea, firefighters, butchers, vets, and anything and everything else from the real world they experience. They don’t know any princesses and have probably never even heard the word. My main problem with the Princess Phase is that it is 99.9% Disney. That is not your children’s imagination working, that is recreating the Disney machine’s imagination. I love to see children imagining and creating from their own unique experiences and bright minds.

  43. The princess trend bothers me less because it seems old-fashioned and girly, and more because it feeds and is derived from the commercial disney empire. I definitely flirted with princess fantasies as a little girl, but these were princesses from non-disney fairy tales I read (not necessarily better), not associated with giant amounts of purchasable merchandise. My princess costumes were lacy slips from goodwill and we made our own glittery wands and wings in the kitchen.
    I would encourage her to make her own princess costume, be her own princess–not one of the rather shallow predefined Disney choices. Reader her stories about princesses that are from all cultures, not just Western ones.
    I don’t have kids yet, but I’ve got a daughter on the way, so I’m definitely thinking about ways to revitalize the princess movement from a creative, indie, feminist perspective!

  44. I totally agree with this. I’ve got a daughter on the way in December, and have been worried about the Disney princess consumer empire since before I conceived! I’m also quite a bit bothered by the monarchical aspect of the princess fantasy. Except maybe for Cinderella, most of these princesses are born into wealthy aristocracy, or aspire to it. Once they live happily ever after, princesses don’t dream about having a profession, being someone who changes the world.
    But kids like to play, and kids have active imaginations. I’m going to do my best to encourage her to use her own imagination as much as possible, too.

  45. So I definitely had a princess phase as a kid–went as a “fairy princess” for Halloween at age 7, in a lovely tulle costume my mother sewed for me by hand. All that imaginative play did not stop me from following my life goals. I got into theatre in high school and did some Shakespeare.
    I’ve lived in 3 countries and have been very lucky to attend a top college and a top 5 graduate school on full fellowship. I’m now a tenured English professor and a published author. Pretending to be a princess did not hurt me at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. I don’t have kids, but I’ve seen my friend’s kids go through this, and I can remember being little and playing princess. Though I wasn’t super girly in dress-up, I unfortunately fell to the less-feministic pitfalls of princesses, like pretending to be the ‘fairest in the land’ and being rescued by princes. Ugh. But I think there’s something about princesses that stick out to little girls, and it has to do with being recognized, special and powerful. Watching what comes up in imaginative play can be a good way to understand how kids see themselves and want to be seen. That said, I also loved fairy tales, folk stories and creative play, so I’m all for kids being exposed to all kinds of characters!
    Perhaps you can encourage the merits of princesses with Ruby…you could design princess attire together (Please!), do kind princess-like deeds for others and so on! ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re an amazing mom and person, so Ruby is going to be just fine!

  47. Also, I’d be curious to hear how big princesses were pre-Disney…probably not nearly to this level, as kids are just so exposed to media and brands of all kinds now.
    I realize a lot of people dislike the American Girl stories and dolls because there’s so much expensive STUFF. However, I like that the stories let girls learn about and relate to girls of other eras, plus there’s always empowerment in the stories. (I was a Molly kid!)
    (Sorry to comment twice. It’s an interesting topic!)

  48. When I was 5 I wanted a Barbie (this was in the 80s) My mother, a therapist and second wave feminist, was not so into it. But what she did was ask me my opinion “Are you sure you want a Barbie for your birthday? Why do you want a Barbie?” Which made me actually think about why I wanted one. Was it because everyone else was getting one? Or did I truly *want* a Barbie? I guess she was OK with my answer because the next week I was unwrapping a Barbie birthday present. Pretty soon after receiving the gift I realized I didn’t actually like laying with the Barbie, I only thought I did. I wouldn’t have know this, without having trid. What it taught me, though, was how to be my own person and make my own decisions. She didn’t encourage or discourage one outcome over the other, instead she encouraged me to actually think for myself.

  49. Some of my favorite princess books (still!) are written by Robin McKinley. They’re written for pre-teens/teens I think (nothing offensive at all), but one of the best best best ones is called Beauty, and it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is such a wholesome, generous girl and there’s so much love in it. I recommend you read it and share it with Ruby when she’s older!

  50. When I had my daughter I was really excited to have a plethora of hand-me-downs from her cousins at my disposal, except that they were just awash in pink (I’m not a pink person). She just turned three, and she absolutely loves pink, and her sparkly, red shoes, and being a princess (though she rarely wears the princess dress she got for Christmas last year). She also loves to be a superhero (with her brother’s red cape, or a blanket tied around her neck), and lately she has demanded to be BatMAN (not Batgirl or Batwoman, or Catwoman, despite the fact that her brother’s friends say she’s a girl and cannot be Batman). I let her have options (yes, we can make you Hello Kitty bows. Yes, we can make you a Batman mask.) She makes it perfectly clear that she is her own person and wants to do her own thing, so when it’s something where she CAN choose, I let her choose.

  51. Great post and conversation Joy!
    My baby girl turned 3 in May and I struggle with the same thing! I was never into princesses and dolls, etc. I really was a tomboy to the core, playing football, kickball, etc. I didn’t own dolls or barbies or even a dress.
    Now my daughter is the exact opposite! She’s obsessed with being a princess, and being “pretty”. I’m really not that bothered by it in the sense that I didn’t do it when I was a kid, but I’m more bothered by her attitude about it. If she isn’t wearing her sparkly shoes/princess tiara/random sparkly or pretty accessory or dress, then she gets really upset that she doesn’t look “pretty”. Or she pouts that she “can’t be pretty” if her hair doesn’t look like Princess Ariel’s today. I don’t know what to do, or how to moderate it. I tell her always, “You’re pretty no matter what.” I’ve even steered away from complimenting or talking about appearances all together and say things like, “You’re such a smart/strong/funny/brave princess” instead.
    I’m still not a person that wears any pink, rarely makeup, don’t spend a lot of time in the morning getting ready (let’s be realistic, I’m a mom of two, not a lot of time anyway). I’m really just very artsy, and casual, wearing clogs or flip flops and jeans most of the time. I’m not sure where she gets this.
    I’m fine with letting her be who she is and like what she likes, and if that’s pink and frilly and sparkly than so be it. Now it’s just becoming extreme where it’s digging into her self esteem. Or maybe I’m overthinking it? She’s only three!
    Going to read through all the rest of the comments and see others thoughts…

  52. It’s bad when only one race is seen, and other girls get no acknowledgement. Only the white girls.
    So it is sad to see black girls wishing they were white, and wishing there hair was different. Because the princesses are beautiful, but they don’t look like the princesses.
    This was never an issue with me, my parents only bought me black & latino dolls growing up now that I think about it.I’ve asked my friends, and their parents did that to. I was never into princesses, I don’t even remember watching the movies until I was way older.

  53. Joy, don’t fret.
    I’m not into princesses either and if I had a girl I’d go out of my way to expose her both to girly things and to boy things, which is what I try to do with my two boys, too, because frankly swords and fighter planes and whatnot are not what I hope my kids will be into either.
    When I was Ruby’s age I had a major princess phase, I played with dolls and toy makeup and all that, but by elementary school and all the way until high school I was a total tomboy. Now I like it all – I don’t normally wear makeup or dress super feminine, but when I do I enjoy it and I embrace being a woman.
    Kids go through phases, and those phases are temporary, but they are also very important for the development of their social and emotional intelligence, gender identity and understanding of gender roles, understanding of good and evil, and all sorts of other important stuff. The best thing you can do as a parent is just let her explore whatever she needs to explore and let her find her own way through it.

  54. Bring on the princess dresses!! Imaginative play is so healthy for a child’s development. My son (despite never seeing a super hero movie) pretends he’s superman or batman all day long!
    And please, design a line of amazing kids dress ups!! That would be so exciting.

  55. Okay let me start by saying that I don’t have any children yet and therefore am probably not the best person to speak on this subject. However, I don’t think you should force her out of it, I think it’s good for her to discover what she likes and doesn’t like for herself. What may be interesting, is exposing her to new stuff she maybe will enjoy even more than pink glittery dresses ๐Ÿ˜‰ Making some costumes yourself seems like an amazing idea too. My mum did a few for me on the occasion of the carnival or christmas and birthdays and I was so proud to have costumes that no one else could have!
    Anyway, I have to mention how adorable Ruby looks on that picture !
    xx, Charlie.

  56. Haha
    Someday ruby may want to dress in purple and pink(I guess that day is now), Love and adore all things Nickelodeon and disney, want to be an accountant or social worker and not live her life on your social media platforms.
    There’s nothing wrong with kids developing their own (non parent guided) interests as they learn about things outside the ohjoy realm.
    If you had a boy/son would you discourage his interests in football, superheroes, trucks, and not let him wear blue? It’s interesting the different ways parents treat and guide girls and boys. i think that it’s healthy to let kids have a little disney and remind them that both boths and girls can like and play with all things. (why can’t a girl play with princesses and wear pink?) i remind my kids that pink is for boys and girls, like target, colors and toys don’t have gender. girls can play with trucks and dig in the dirt and boys can have toy kitchens and watch frozen(if they want to)
    Ps I find studio ghibli movies like totoro and ponyo are good alternatives to the disney “princess” movies. Toy story and Pixar also are less princess based in general.

  57. When I was growing up I was obsessed with ballerinas. My mom enrolled me in ballet classes and I became fascinated with not just dancing but pointe shoes, tutus, and all things pink. Worried that I was glamorizing the life of a professional dancer, my mom put a big emphasis on dancers having to sacrifice normal lives. She said they couldn’t eat fun foods because they were always dieting and that their feet were constantly in pain/deformed. While I can see that she was just caring for me in her own way, and that there was some truth to it, I mostly grew up resenting that she stopped me from doing something that I felt passionately about. Without her interference, I may have danced for a few years and lost interest eventually. But, of course, I don’t think it will surprise anyone that as I write this from my office desk, I still wish I had become a dancer! It’s so much harder to discover your passions as an adult. Better to encourage every spark of creativity and passion you see in your child, it could lead to something great!

  58. Let little girls be little girls!
    Embrace the magic while it’s here!
    As soon as we return home from daycare, my oldest daughter (Maggie, age 3) races into the house, and within feet of the front door she strips off her school clothes and throws her princess dress ON! Between both girls (Annette, age 2), we own eight princess gowns that have miles of wear and tear (they’re actually pajama gowns and are comfy AND “fancy”, much better than scratchy costumes – I’ve found them at Costco and Amazon).
    I do make an effort to compliment both girls on traits other than their appearance (but I don’t ignore their appearance either – after all, they are ADORBS!!!), with an emphasis on being strong and independent.
    I just wonder what it will be like when they realize the world is looking at them, since right now, they’re just looking out.

  59. I didn’t read the myriad of posts up above because I am lazy. I do not have children. I was, however, a child for a little bit. And a child who loved cooking sets and tea sets and Barbie dolls. My grandmother was a seamstress so I have the most beautiful haute couture dresses for my Barbies that were custom made by my “Ah Ma”. I am sort of “all grown up” now and I have no inclination of being a stay at home wife or waiting for someone to rescue me or what have you. I do love to cook and I love fashion. But I am a strong feminist who loves those things. I think the raising of your children in other ways: Ruby sees you as a working parent, she sees her father being a doctor, she listens when you lament that women need equal pay etc are far more important than any of her interests currently. But that is my two cents ๐Ÿ˜‰

  60. I do wonder the same thing for when I have children, but as a girl who was SO into everything pink/princess/barbie etc (and my mom was a major tomboy) I can say that being into everything “girly” didn’t really influence anything of substance in my life now other than a short stint in fashion (which I hated). I am still super girly and also a feminist. I think I was attracted to feminine things because I was so sensitive growing-up. I DO think being into everything girly has made me more of a girl’s-girl, super supportive of other women and tapped into women’s issues rather than competitive with women. From my personal experience, I am glad I wore the princess costume.

  61. ha ha ha ha… so funny your post! I’ll tell you, I played with dolls all my life but princess wasn’t really my thing. I have a 2 years and 10 months daughter ans since the moment she could express what she likes/wants the princess factor is there. She LOVED frozen SO MUCH! She used to tell her dad “I’m Elsa you’re Anna”, and she wears all the time the dresses, (she started with a red cape she used to wear ALL THE TIME!), so from my experience they just see (I don’t know where) this stuff and is their nature to love it and adopted it as something theirs… Don’t worry, she’s a beautiful princess just like mine… Just teach them the value of being themselves…. XOXO

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