From Our Readers
October 26, 2012 2:00 am

As a twenty-something, I still love and believe in, a good fairytale; the marketing team over at Disney knows how to get me every time. Call me a softy, but children bursting into tears upon realizing they will soon be meeting Mickey Mouse is enough to have me reaching for the tissues. And the photographs and videos of miniature princesses, all dolled up in their very own gowns and glittery finest, hugging the “real” versions of themselves? My heart swells and I just about die for each and every one of them. It is difficult to uncover any shortcomings in this world where dreams and fairytale still seemingly exists in a very real way. Just when we think the wonderful world of Disney can’t get any more magical, they surprise us all over again with their new I Am A Princess campaign, which just may be the most magical thing of all.

Despite the fact that I whole-heartedly support any child’s right to play dress up, dream of being a beautiful princess and finding her prince charming, I also realize that for every little girl who fawns over glittery dresses there is a little girl who dreams of a basketball jersey or a dirt bike. Most importantly, as adults, we know that what makes a princess, of the Disney or real-life variety, isn’t what she is wearing or how she looks; whether prince charming sweeps her off her feet or she carves her own independent path. What makes a princess is who she is and what she stands for. The I Am A Princess campaign is finally taking a stand to show that being a princess means being beautiful on the inside; making it known that little girls everywhere are princesses each and every day.

If you are anything like me, I advise you not to watch the video at work or in public as it will have you tearing up at your desk, but a few of my favorite lines go as follows…

“I am brave sometimes. I am scared sometimes. Sometimes I am brave even when I am scared… I believe in loyalty… I try to be kind, I try to be generous. I am kind even when others are not so generous… I think standing up for myself is important. I think standing up for others is more important, but standing with others is most important… I believe compassion makes me strong; kindness is power… I have heard I am beautiful. I know I am strong… I am a princess, long may I reign.”

Kindness and strength; bravery and compassion. In order to raise beautiful young woman, these are qualities that need to be idolized, instilled and celebrated. It is more than okay for a little girl to play dress up and dream of growing up to be Cinderella; our only job is to teach her that even without the fancy dress, she is still a princess. It is 100% acceptable for a little girl to wear no princess dress at all; it is our job to teach her that she can be a princess in any attire at all because actions and beliefs that define young women, just as all the princesses who came before us. Cinderella was a princess long before the fairy godmother came along; she was kind to her family, to all living creatures, even when they were not so kind or generous in return. Snow White shown compassion for the evil queen, her kindness and loyalty ultimately setting the stage for her happily ever after. And without bravery Ariel would have never become a princess at all; being brave when she was scared allowed her to follow her dreams. It wasn’t the fancy gown or the princes by their side that made them princesses at all, it was who they were and what they stood for that made them royalty in the end.

There is a great deal of criticism and cynical thought when it comes the Disney princesses, much debate over whether young girls should be idolizing the “perfection” that they represent. I challenge those critics to take a second look at what these characters truly stand for and let this new campaign help them understand what it actually means to be a modern day princess. The world does not make it easy for young girls to grow up with confidence in who they are or conviction in their beliefs. Too often, society strips them of their compassion and sense of loyalty at too early an age. I for one think it is campaigns like this that help young girls realize their extreme worth; giving them the confidence to grow up to be exactly who they are in a world that is so often trying to change them. I believe, this day in age, a good fairytale can foster a powerful young lady.

So, thank you Disney, for shedding light on what it truly means to be a princess. During a day-in-age where it is difficult to find role models for young women, you have given everyone a reason to take a second look at the Disney princess. I hope little girls every strive to say, “I Am A Princess” because I would be ecstatic to live in a world where girls are as confident and strong as the princesses in this campaign. Long may each and every one of them reign.

You can read more from Katie Patton on her blog.

(Image via ShutterStock.)

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