I'm not going to lie, I've had a stick up my butt about the Disney Princesses my entire life. I was a tomboy. I have no memory of ever wanting to be a princess. I grew up listening to Marlo Thomas singing "Free to Be, You and Me." I am a product of the women's liberation movement and I have absolutely NO problem saying that. Women burned bras, rallied and broke through the glass ceiling so that I would have the right to attend any college, any academy, and run in a marathon. Yep. That's right- not so long ago women WEREN'T ALLOWED TO RUN MARATHONS. Personally, I have not done this, but at least it's an option that I can choose to pass on. Because I would die. But that's beside the point....
I remember being in a women's history class in college and I made the comment that I didn't consider myself a feminist.
Life changing comment.
"Um... no..." I muttered.
"That's feminism! What do you think a feminist looks like?!?!"" she continued.
I am always amazed that I am truly part of the first generation that had no limits. There were always girls sports teams. My calculus class was at least a third girls-- ten years earlier, that was probably not the case. The junior high girls basketball team that I had played on was, in truth, only a few years old. Wow.
As a tomboy, I'm not surprised that I work in an industry that is male dominated. But even that is changing. I joke that I am happy more women are entering finance, but I never had to worry about buying a drink at a conference when I first started-- I was usually one of the few women in a room of a hundred men. Now, not so much. And I'm 20 years older....sigh.
When I was about 8 months pregnant, I called my friend Kim from Target. I had gone to buy a few things for my daughter. I was having a meltdown. EVERYTHING WAS PINK. Everything. And everything had kitties on it. No dogs, just kitties. I'm allergic to cats. And the shirts said things like "Daddy's Princess" "Diva in Training"-- I was horrified. I believe my conversation went something like this:
Kim talked me off the ledge and I left Target ranting on my cell phone.
I stand by my tirade.
My baby girl was born. Her room was yellow. Her crib set primary colors. Her clothes assorted colors- often pink, but not always.
But alas, time passed and I couldn't keep her from the vacuum of the Disney Princess phenomenon that hits every pre-school girl.
I vaguely remember "Cinderella" and "Snow White"- to be honest, they freaked me out. Very dark. I saw "The Little Mermaid" when I was part of the Big Sister program in college and was horrified when Ariel ditched her family, friends and peaceful life under the sea to follow Eric. Seriously, I made a bit of a stink about it. Aside from the music, I had a hard time understanding how people could like the movie. Eric seemed like a tool-- really? She was a mermaid for crying out loud and now she's some dude's arm candy?!?!
My daughter's first princess obsession was Snow White. Her teacher, who was awesome, dressed up as Snow White for Halloween, so it was reasonable. We watched it 100 times. During the second time, my daughter looked up at me and said "Can I have an apple?" Cracked me up because it was right after the poison apple scene.... she didn't seem too mesmerized by the prince. The story is more about bitchy moms. Okay, fine.
Next came "Beauty and the Beast." I have to say, at least Belle was a nerd. A knock-out nerd, but next to my favorite Tiana (oh yes, I know them all), she's pretty good. She has no interest in the burly, buff dude. She's smart. Yes, she also has a 12 inch waist and 72 inch chest, but she was more than that.
I watched it with my daughter on the couch and at the end, as I turned to tell her "You know this is all crap..." she had GIANT tears in her eyes and sobbed "Mommy, it's so beautiful-- they're in LOVE...they finally got married...."
So I said "You know it doesn't really work that way, right?"
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"There are no princes in castles," I replied. "The real story starts AFTER they get married..."
"But what about Daddy?"
"What do you mean?" I asked curiously.
"Isn't he your prince? Didn't you just look at him and know? I thought that's what you said?"
Rats.... that is what I said.
My husband and I spent an entire day together for our first official date. That night, as we were saying good night, we were standing on opposite sides of my car, we looked at each other and that was it.
Just like that.
Just like in the freaking movie.
So even though I am absolutely free to be whoever I want to be, it doesn't mean that I still can't live happily ever after. And shave my legs.