Doing beautiful things

Michelle Trachtenberg and Hinton Battle in the Buffy musical, "Once More With Feeling"

This evening, my daughter, who is almost four, said that next Halloween, she’s going to be a “real” princess.   As my blog followers may be aware, she’s thus far been kept away from full-on Disney princess mania.  But she loves dressing up as a princess.  This usually involves wearing one of several tutus–more ballerina, really, than princess.  She knows, from books, and from princess parties, that princesses usually wear fancy things (though I’ve also assured her that princesses can wear whatever they want, and introduced Princess Grace Kelly as an example of a princess who didn’t exclusively wear long and meretricious satin gowns).  When she told me a doll of hers must be a princess because it has long hair, I assured her that princesses can also have short hair.  She didn’t argue.  She recently informed me, however, one thing she knows with certainty about princesses: “Princesses do beautiful things.”  I’m not sure what she means by this, but it sounds really good.

This evening, when she told me about her plan for next Halloween, I reminded her that there is a big movie coming out next summer, and the princess in it is named “Merida,” which is my daughter’s name.

“Does she do beautiful things?” she asked.

I don’t know more than the trailer depicts about Princess Merida in “Brave,” but I told my Merida that the princess in the movie does indeed do beautiful things: she rides horses, and she is an archer.  I explained what archers do.  I reminded her about the strong and triumphant Violetta in Princess Knight.

If I’m indoctrinating my daughter in any way, it’s to be more like a vampire slayer than princess.  But let’s say she doesn’t totally rebel, and loves Buffy: who am I to tell her what to be?  Or to define what “doing beautiful things” might mean?  There are so many beautiful things to do, many more than I can imagine.  Wearing something fabulous might count.   Or doing something completely silly, and making one person smile!  Or staking a vampire, if done in that earthy, balletic style of Buffy.

Luckily I have a good teacher who is almost four years old.  I hope she will enlighten me.

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3 responses to “Doing beautiful things

  1. Lovely post Rebecca. Only being the mother of a son, I cannot imagine how hard it must be to mediate the onslaught of cultural images and messages for little girls. But it seems she clearly has a great start! :)

  2. Thanks, Holly. I imagine there are ridiculous pressures on boys, too. I think no matter what, being a parent is so much harder than I would have imagined.

  3. Pingback: Sexism in a bird map? | Being the Blog of Rebecca Kuder

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