Every now and then, I realize how parenthood has changed the chemistry of my brain. For example, when presented with a week’s vacation from elementary school, my brain thought, “Hey! Let’s take two kids to Disneyland! That will be a great way to spend spring break.”
Later, I’m using that as evidence in my insanity trial.
But this post isn’t about my questionable decision-making skills. It’s about the ubiquitous part of the Disney experience when you have little kids: The Disney Princesses.
My Disney Princess Philosophy
I have friends who have banned the Disney Princesses from their homes and will tell you all the reasons why (sometimes on Facebook). This is not the case in my house.
While I consider myself to be as feminist as the next 1970s, post-Title X female, I confess that the idea of banning Disney Princesses made perfect sense to me — before I actually had children. Particularly a very headstrong daughter who likes what she likes. I’ve learned to pick my battles. Vegetables, yes. Seat belts, yes. Make-believe characters, no.
So reality trumped philosophy (again), and I decided the Disney Princesses are just stories. My daughter has a lot of strong real women in her life, and she’s smart enough to know the difference.
The Disney Princess Marketing Extravagana
So, by request, the Disney Princess experience was on the agenda for our Disneyland trip. Of course, Disney excels at marketing this particular brand. Besides the standard “stand in 60-minute line to meet the Princesses” part of the park and the “overpriced dining experience with the Princesses,” there’s a place where your little princess or prince can be made up just like the princess or prince she/he is — complete with enough glitter and hair gel for a high school’s worth of prom hair. It’s the dress-up corner on steriods.
This experience was new for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. It turns out your little princess can choose one of three hairstyles: the classic princess look (top knot with tiara), the diva princess look (same concept, with some colorful hair accessories) or the pop princess look.
The dozen little girls in the shop had all chosen the classic princess look, with one older girl sporting the diva princess style.
My little princess? Her choice was the pop princess look with rainbow hair piece all ratted out so it stood six inches around her head.
Yeah, she does not follow the crowd.
I spent most of the next three days smiling to myself as I watched random strangers react to my daughter’s princess look. Because even though it was on the standard Disney menu of options, she was the only one we saw who picked this particular combo.
At one point during this vacation, I realized I never had to worry about the Disney Princess marketing team making my daughter feel like she had to be anything other than exactly who she is.
She told me, “Mommy, I don’t know why all the little girls don’t want their hair just like this.”
In one of my quicker mom moments, I thought up a good response. “Well, sweetie, they probably didn’t realize how beautiful it was until they saw your hair.”
It turns out princesses come in many different flavors after all.