Feminist Motherhood & Disney Princesses

After having two sons and ultimately deciding we were done having children, I never imagined I would be the mother of a little girl.

Fast forward a couple of years and here I am. We have a daughter who will be two-years-old at the end of April, and I have started the internal battle over Disney princesses.

A couple of years ago I came across a series of hysterical YouTube videos giving sarcastic and hysterical advice from each Disney princess. From Belle and her abusive Beast, to mute Ariel and Prince Eric who doesn’t care about her lack of voice, to Snow White and the men she lives with. The videos truly showcase how the princesses can completely be viewed as horrible role models for young girls. Which I agree with.

I don’t think any of our daughters should be looking at cartoons as role models, I think they should be looking at cartoons for play and entertainment. We should save the job of role model for actual real women, like the mothers and grandmothers in their lives, or modern-day innovators or politicians.

Our daughters should know from the start that these cartoons are nothing more than fictional stories, just like fairy tale books and fantasy play. We aren’t teaching our boys that they can really grow up to be a dragon slayer or knight in shining armor, so why are we going to teach our girls they can grow up to be a princess?

Which is where, as a strong feminist, I have embraced Disney princesses in my house. We watch the movies, collect the new Little People line, and, of course, have invested in goodies like Addison’s pull out princess couch. I loved the princess classics while I was growing up; I still do. I could sit and watch the movies with my daughter for hours on end, and not even notice all the horrible messages the movies may set because I am looking at the fantasy of the story, I’m not critiquing undertones I am sure the makers never considered decades ago.

Am I expecting all feminist mothers out there to jump on the Disney princess bandwagon? Of course not, and I am almost positive I will get flack for my parenting choices when it comes to my love for Disney. But whatever! You only live once and I loved these classics as a child, and I want to be able to share that love with my daughter. She is completely obsessed with everything blue, fire trucks, and Cinderella. My daughter is a little girl. So I’m going to let her play with what she enjoys and she can reach her own opinion on stuff like the Disney princesses!

  • Yep. Yep. Yep. We’re a full princess house and I consider myself a pretty serious feminist.

  • Jessica

    Fuck #Feminists, how about #Humanists…. that seriously drives me nuts… Just because someone has a vagina doesn’t make them “all entitled”. Having a heartbeat does.

    • @Jessica – I appreciate your comment. I think the vast majority of writers who contribute here on The Broad Side are “humanists” we truly don’t wish to see anyone suffering, no matter their gender. But, sadly we are still seeing a gender gap when it comes to equality. Especially here in America. You can be a feminist, as well as a humanist. A vagina doesn’t make anyone entitled, I think you missed the point of the post.

      • Yes. This is what’s getting me lately. There’s a lot of push from women to stop making it about women, but making it about people.

        Uh, well, the thing is, we aren’t equal and the disparity is pretty subtle and pervasive, so we still need feminism, even if it’s not as obvious as it was twenty years ago.

  • I think if she wants a princess, give her a princess. But I would also say if your son wanted a princess, give him a princess. I didn’t want my child to have toy guns, so he made them out of cardboard. I’m not saying I would buy him a gun, but I think children have to experiment with things. Great piece, Danielle.

  • Emilie M

    A friend once said that she hates that she has to feel ashamed of liking things that are stereotypically feminine if she wants to be considered a feminist. I love this piece. I love pink and tiaras and fairy tales. This doesn’t mean that I am a vapid girl who can be controlled. My little girl loves pink and wearing skirts. She also loves dinosaurs and rocket ships.

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