My daughter has been raised with stories about strong girls. Since she was a baby, it has been one long and steady stream of girl empowerment. If a female character was passive or needed rescuing, or used her beauty as a weapon or currency, she didn’t make the cut. She has been given a narrative of girls who are clever and brave, adventurous and kind. Hence, we’ve been rather light on the Disney Princesses here. (Yes we love Merida, and Mulan is pretty rad, too.)
Amelia has been given a different narrative for what it means to be a girl. More “Violet the Pilot”, Ramona Quimby, and Amelia Earhart (her namesake) stories than Sleeping Beauty. Amelia doesn’t own a pair of play high heels, but she does have purses and a tiara stuffed into her dress up drawer, along with her swords and capes and binoculars. She has fancy dresses and mermaid tails, and superhero masks and pirate outfits. She gets to decide what her story is. We don’t buy packaged or character dress up outfits.
Amelia has been raised with a different narrative. She sees things differently. She defines things differently. Not better, just differently.
Amelia loves mermaids, and there was no chance of keeping Princess Ariel out of the house. My husband let her watch the movie this summer, and she regularly checks out Ariel books from her school library. I take it all in stride, even though that is the Disney Princess I loathe the most. But Amelia doesn’t like Ariel’s story, and spends hours at our kitchen table writing and illustrating different versions. Amelia has a different narrative for what it means to be a princess, to be a girl.
I look at one image, and see a girl ready to take on the world. I look at the other image, and see much less of that.
Amelia will be given the space to define herself and her place in this world.
So far, I really like what I see. I like how my little girl plays princess.