I'm about to get wordy on ya'll because I've got something to say.
The Art of Being a Princess, The Science of Being a Girl
From the day we are born we, as women, are bombarded with
how we should/should not conduct ourselves; how we should/should not be
perceived. It’s everywhere and in every aspect. People show you how you should
dress, how you should talk, who you should be. Through this, there is one
common goal. You are a woman and your goal is to get a man to love you.
The best example I’ve had of this is my best friend. She is
actually my inspiration for this post. Her mom got married very young (like
almost everyone in my church) and had 4 kids back to back. That was her norm…and
she is not alone. She had a boyfriend for over a year recently (she’s around 20…I
will try to keep her identity under wraps as much as I can) and he was a jerk.
I’m not going to even beat around the bush about it. When he finally did what
we all knew he would, and broke her heart she was devastated and clung to the
idea of them getting back together.
Well, that’s normal…and fine. But she said something during
this time that took me aback.
She said “there is something wrong with me…I was supposed to
marry him, I was supposed to start my life”
Why in the world did starting her life mean getting married
to someone who didn’t even treat her well?
She didn’t even have plans to go to college, her whole future hinged on
marrying this guy…and she was lost.
The only thing wrong with her is that she lives in a society/family that taught
her this was true.
Growing up in the church (which I will tell you now I LOVE
and would never leave for any reason, my church family is the greatest I have),
I have realized there is a lot of flawed thinking throughout it that also
spills over into our culture.
In my church, there is an unspoken rule that if you are not
married (or at least engaged) by 22, you are damaged or dysfunctional…there is
something wrong with you.
I started to notice this in society too. Everywhere I turn I
see awesome single women constantly talking about landing a man or complaining
about being single. I’m sorry, but where
in the Bible did it say that you could not make it to Heaven without a man?
Didn’t see that one, did you?
Now before you get all snippy, hear me out. If you choose to
be married, I agree wholeheartedly that the man is the head of the house and
the woman has a certain place. I agree that you should be subservient to you
husband. I am only half a feminist because I believe that man is above woman in
many aspects…but not every. What I don’t agree with the idea that we, as women,
are thrown into life with the sole purpose to find someone to marry and pop out
babies. I cannot believe that.
You can be a Christian woman without a man. I have seen it
happen, I promise. You can be a good person without a man.
I once read this really great article (if anyone knows of
it, please tell me so I can credit it and save it!) about why a girl stopped
wearing her purity ring. It was thought provoking. It talked about how at her
church girls got promise rings very young and were taught that it would be the
best day of their life to finally be married and to take it off. Then girls
began to get older and weren’t getting married and they began to see the ring
as a burden and were ashamed of it instead of loving what it stood for. Ultimately,
the ring became a countdown and if that countdown wasn’t met…you were failing.
So, I took mine off too.
So, let’s talk about princesses.
Did you see it coming?
I had a hard time loving the idea of princesses, or accepting them in our
culture. I was the girl who said my daughter will never have princess things or
dress up as one, or have any movies, etc. Then one day it hit me, that in my
own way I was doing the very thing that society does that I hate.
My junior year of high school I beat out several talented seniors
to play Cinderella in our high school musical. It was the single greatest
moment of my high school life, I remember. I worked hard for that and I truly
loved that role. After that, people began to call me Cinderella and I collected
Cinderella things. When I began to learn more about women in society and get interested
in researching feminism and culture, I felt guilty about all those Cinderella
things. I felt like I should get rid of it all and start collecting something a
little less princessy.
Today, I have learned that just like many things in life,
the idea of feminism, or basically the idea of being a woman in society is nothing
more than a balance.
We are different from men.
We are delicate and emotional.
It’s a fact and it’s not a bad one.
Now, do I advocate the messages that these princess movies
give out? Yes, I do and I will tell you why.
Society has taken beautiful stories and focused solely on
one aspect…which is, like usual, the man. We see these princesses as damsels in
distress and thus have created a society in which if you don’t have a man
rescuing you, you are in distress. That’s just it.
I don’t see it that way.
To me, these princesses saw relationships like I do, as a
privilege, not a necessity.
Cinderella did not need a man; in fact, she was extremely
good at finding the positive in her pretty crappy life. She sang and she worked
and she hardly complained.
Cinderella teaches us how to be a giving and hardworking
servant…even to those we don’t like.
But I say unto you,
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44
She teaches us to believe in our dreams, no matter how big
or small they may be.
You know the most surprising things I realized when thinking
about this? Cinderella wasn’t saved by her prince but rather, by her fairy
godmother. Your fairy godmother could be anyone really, your mother or
grandmother or friend of sister, anyone who has been a role model to you. Her
godmother helped her believe that she could do something and she helped her.
Cinderella didn’t even go to the ball for a man, no man told
her to go to the ball or to leave a shoe so he could find her. No man ever
defined her. Ever. Did she happen to fall in love? Yeah. AWESOME! Are we really
going to say that everyone who falls in love or gets married is awful? Isn’t
like pretty much the same as saying anyone who doesn’t get married is awful?
I truly believe she would’ve gone back to her normal life
thankful for that night not even because of Prince…but because she got an
escape from her life into her dreams.
Why don't we stop focusing so much on what these movies teach our daughters and more on what we do...when's the last time you said you didn't look good in front of your daughter? When is the last time you said someone else didn't look good (why are they wearing that? Crazy cat lady, etc.) in front of them? Mmmhmm.
I would go on to talk about the other princesses and maybe I
will get around to that soon, but for now, I’ll leave you to think on this.
I hope that someday I have a daughter. I hope that I teach
her to be strong. I hope to teach her that her goal is not to get a man and be
a wife but rather to be a child of God and follow his commandments, to be baptized
for her sins, and to receive eternal life.
I hope that she knows she is different because she’s a girl.
I hope that she celebrates that instead of hating it because (as Jenna Marbles
says in a much more explicit way) girls are magestical freaking creatures.
We were made different, by God. We are daughters of a King.
I hope she knows that she is more than a princess, but she
is a princess too.
P.S. Plus, Princess movies are just fun and a part of being
a girl! Everybody needs to take everything a little less seriously. I wear pretty freaking dresses and 5 inch
heels because I like it…but I also know how to change a tire and mow my lawn. I
see a future where I may get married and have kids but I am also comfortable
with being single and adopting kids (married or not, I am so confident that I
will be a great mother). So
I am more than a Princess but I am a Princess too.