A Response to “Why I Reject Princess Culture”… Why I EMBRACE Princess Culture For My Black Daughters


A few weeks ago Baby and Blog writer Angele wrote a very popular and thought-provoking piece about why she rejects princess culture for her daughters. Here, Baby and Blog writer Darcel writes an equally thought-provoking response.

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I remember the way I felt watching princess films as a child and now I’m able to watch many of them with my children. I loved playing in the tub and swimming in the pool, pretending to be Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Sleeping Beauty was and still is my favorite Disney Princess. I’m really looking forward to seeing Maleficent!

I think we have to be very careful not to put out thoughts and feelings onto our children. I listen to and watch my girls pretend to be characters from their favorite films and it always takes me back to my childhood. We have collected almost all of the Disney Princess books over the years and they remain some of the favorites to be read over and over again.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

~Albert Einstein

These fairytales are about so much more than princesses marrying a prince. I see hope, friendships, and overcoming what can seem like impossible circumstances.
Maybe I don’t have a problem with the princess culture because I don’t give it any power. My girls enjoy the Disney Princesses as much as they enjoy Mario Bros. One isn’t better than the other in my eyes.
We have had conversations, read books, and watched documentaries on princesses all over the world. And you know what? I want them to grow up and be with someone who treats them like a princess!
I can see why people have a problem with the traditional princesses, and I do wish they had more ethnic diversity in their characters, besides Jasmine and Tiana. Even Disney has taken the hint a little bit and changed it’s view on the traditional princess.
It’s not all about beauty, money, and marrying your prince.

I’ve seen and heard so many discussions against the color pink, sparkles, heels, and makeup. How is trying to sway your child from that any better than forcing it on her?  My girls enjoy sitting with me while I put on makeup and they even have their own little makeup kits to play with at home. I mean if you really think about it, applying makeup is an art! I like the way I look without makeup but I also like the way I look after applying a little. I like dresses, high heels, my favorite color is pink, and have a small collection of sparkly lipgloss. My children know that I wear makeup and put on heels from time to time for me, no one else. I like the way it makes me feel and that’s what matters.

For me, the princess films are simply another part of their childhood, just like the museum, the library, and the beach. We can hang out together watching the movies the same as visiting the places I mentioned.
And since we’re being honest, I think they know that life doesn’t always turn out with the girl marrying the guy and living happily ever after..I’m evidence of that!
I do want them to grow up believing that they can create their own fairytale.

 

Darcel White is the author of The Mahogany Way.

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


  • http://www.togetherwalking.com Susan

    I love it Darcel! And the idea of trying to stop girls from liking pink and princesses seems similar to the idea that all women should work outside of the home now.

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  • http://squishablebaby.com Lisa Nelson

    Childhood is just that, childhood. It’s a time to dream, to play and to have fun. Princess are a part of life. They are everywhere. Why is it just because they see it on TV or in the movie – it has to be real life, or them? Cinderella is white, yes. But so are a lot of other people. There are also a lot of people who are not.

    What’s the big deal?

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  • Dee

    I neither embrace or reject princess culture as far as my kids are concerned. As mentioned above, princess play is just that, play. I love that you allow your daughters to learn about real princesses and the work that they do. It’s important for *all* kiddos to learn about how members of society who are highly visible can use those platforms for humanitarian/social good.

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  • BlueCornMoon

    My parents were teachers & read me all kinds of fairy tails & the house was full of books . I was a Baby Boomer that grew up in late 50s & 60s during segregation & civil rights years. I watched all the Disney movies : Cinderella ,Sleeping Beauty, Snow White,etc but never related to them because they were just make believe & didn’t relate to my life. In those days all us black kids were very sensitive to racism. Had to be ; we lived with segregated beaches,fountains,couldn’t go into some restaurants, separate schools ,etc We knew about stereotyped TV & movie characters,too Our parents taught us about it as part of our survival training. Here’s an example of racism in the Disney movie Fantasia. It’s since been cut out since the 60s when black folks complained, but I remember being offended by it as were other black families & kids . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdi3zX9DKm8 I was more into Marian Anderson, Rosa Parks, Dr King & other black heroines & heroes including family members who were educators & lawyers. Back then there wasn’t all this pink stuff & talk of princesses. Sure I played with dolls & my mom’s makeup but it wasn’t any big deal.We were encouraged to get educated & be a credit to the race.

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