It happened again last night during her 5 year old check up. While prepping her vaccines, the nurse attempted to engage Lila in a conversation about princesses. It seems that whenever adults (men or women) make small talk with Lila, the princess topic comes up. Either she is called "Princess" or is asked "Who's your favorite princess?" or the one I like the least "What do you want to be when you grow up... a princess?" If offered a sticker (or another type of prize), the well-meaning adult will often assume that Lila would want the one with the princess.
When the princess topic comes up, there is usually a lot of awkward silence. Lila will glance at me or her father. We have an unspoken understanding that "they just don't get it." So, not wanting to be rude, Lila will just smile and say nothing. "Do you like princesses?" Lila will nod mechanically because she is supposed to. But, in all honesty, Lila prefers pirates to princesses; climbing trees to playing tea; basketball and baseball to Barbies.
Don't get me wrong, Lila isn't totally against princesses. She likes them. She'll watch a Disney princess movie and enjoy it. But she doesn't define herself as a princess. She is interested in so much more. In fact, she recently decided that she "no longer wants to read fairytales" and that she would rather read books about "things that are real... like facts." She has recently become fascinated with the inside of the human body. So, while the nurse was concerned that she would break down and cry when getting her shots last night (therefore trying to distract her with idle chit chat about princesses), Lila was more interested in observing the process with pure scientific curiousity. Not a tear was shed, but lots of inquistive questions were asked.
I came across photographer, Jamie C. Moore's blog post "not just a girl" and could immediately relate. Moore, who photographed her 5 year old, Emma, dressed as five famous real-life heroines, suggests to "set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be."
Yes! I am so looking forward to witnessing what Lila, her friends, and her generation of strong little girls will become. Princesses or not, no doubt they will rule.