A Different Narrative

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.

7yo Amelia dressed as a character she created called Princess Kitty.

These ladies have not made the cut for us. Disney (C)



  1. I sure hope that my Amelia (currently only 1 1/2) will be able to play in the same way. I shudder to think of her getting inundated with princess crap as she gets older. We don’t watch much TV, but I turned it on today and turned it off when I realized we were watching some kids’ show sequence about a little girl who goes into a costume shop for the “biggest, sparkliest tutu”… because that’s what all little girls should want, right?

    I admit I do like Ariel. I realize there are some definite shortcomings to her story, but it always sort of stands out for me that she was interested in being human and in human artifacts and the human lifestyle way before she met Eric. I saw him as a catalyst for her to make a change in her life that she was already interested in making, not as the center of her world. Anyway.

  2. I had a similar narrative. I had disney princesses, but I never had barbies. My mom thought they were an unrealistic expectation of what a young girl should look like, and I could spout that off to people if they asked why I didn’t have barbies. It worked pretty well, I’m very comfortable in my skin, don’t take crap from people, and am pretty darn happy. Of course those barbies were just one part of the puzzle, but it was good to learn to differentiate from reality and barbie at an early age.


  1. […] I had to snap a quick photo of this drawing the Original Pigtail Pal made for a friend at school because it sums up perfectly why we need to demand more empowered female characters in children’s media. […]

  2. […] went back to see Anna and Elsa turn the princess fairy tale upside down and reveal a more modern, more relatable story. We went back because who doesn’t want another 102 minutes with […]

Speak Your Mind