When Erin and I were considering themes for the girls first birthday, we both agreed that there was no way a Princess theme was going to happen. I can't really tell you why Erin was anti-princess, but I can certainly comment on my reasoning.
I'm not some faux-feminist that abhors the depiction of women in the mass media. There's just too much going on in the world to add one more worry to my life. Especially considering the strides that have been made to improve how female characters are presented. I do understand where people that think this way are coming from. But I also think there is a lot of misplaced or at the very least misinterpreted hatred towards Disney and princesses.
For example, I love Becomming Supermommy's blog. She has a very unique and interesting perspective that helps me see the world a little bit differently. I don't always agree with her, but that can be a good thing. She wrote two very interesting posts about Disney princesses over the last few weeks. It was actually part of what motivated me to write this post.
I'm not going to go point by point on what I agree and disagree with in her posts. I'm just going to say in general terms that I don't think Disney princesses are inherently evil like some people. The fact is the stories she's presented predate Disney by about 200 to 900 years, and there have always been great lessons to be learned through them. This is part of the reason why they've been around for so long and have been presented in so many different forms. It's also part of the reason I have no problem sharing these stories with my girls.
One counter-point that I do have: It is an absolute reach to call Belle in Beauty and the Beast an egoist. We should be praising her for being educated, kind, loving her father and not just settling for the handsome brute in her home town. She doesn't want to be held back by some man just because he's the athletic star of the time. She falls in love not with exterior looks but with the person underneath. This is like a lesson for every contemporary high school student. She knows that Gaston isn't right for her at all and is offended that he keeps pursuing her. What is wrong with that?
My hatred of the term princess instead stems from the type of girls/women it has created. It has created self-involved, spoiled and entitled people that expect the world to give them everything. And these people make it a point to tell everyone that they're princesses. They broadcast it on their license plate covers, clothing, accessories and most every item they own. This didn't come from Disney or the depiction of women in the media. It is all about parents that have spoiled the bejesus out of their daughters.
In 25 years, I don't want to look at my daughters and wonder why they have no discernable skills and are waiting for the world to give them something. And it starts early on. I want them to have everything they need and work for everything they want. I want the best for them, but I want them to want it more. I'm not going to raise them as princesses because a princess never has to work for anything.
They're going to be who they are because of how life and their parents help to shape them. They are going to be independent but not at the expense of finding someone that loves and respects them. I hope they know the joy of having children and a family. I don't want their lives to be difficult, but they shouldn't expect it to be easy.
And even if they find and marry a prince and actually gain the official title of Princess, they'll still be Grace and Ana to me.