Just Because You Dance at the Ball…
I just spent the afternoon with my sister taking her two little granddaughters to “Princess for a Day”. It was a fundraiser for foster children. Every little “princess” received a special invitation, a gift bag of goodies, had their hair and nails done, got to choose a ball gown and shoes, had their photo taken and were escorted to the ball by a handsome prince. All along the way were beautiful grown up princes and princesses. Inside the ballroom the girls had a dance floor where all the princess tunes were playing, a tea party was laid out for them with fancy stemware, centerpieces and all the touches that make the experience special.
From the standpoint of an older woman who was around in the in the sixties there were many things wrong with this event, least of which was the basic idea of waiting for your prince. I realized it’s already too late to dissuade them of that. It was obvious by our own little princesses’ (only two and a half and five) knowledge of the songs and desire to dance with the grown up princes and princesses that Disney has already co-opted another generation of little girls.
Among the grown up princesses there were none of color, none that wore glasses, none wore larger than a size four dress. I kept thinking that next year I should arrange a fundraiser of my own: The Alternative Royalty Event. My event would have boys and girls alike, of all colors and sizes, and they could choose among the ball gowns and tuxedos regardless of their sex.
However, let’s put my issues aside and assume I buy into the role models of our society. One thing kept nagging at me. Where were the little boys? Even if you believe it is okay to foster the idea of being a princess and waiting for your prince, how is this meant to work out if while the girls are at their fantasy ball the boys are nowhere to be found? We’re teaching the girls to have expectations that we aren’t teaching the boys to meet. Where do the little boys go to learn what it means to be a Prince? Where do they go to play Prince for a day and learn to protect and take care of their princess?
Regardless of all my questions and concerns I was able to get through the afternoon without standing on the table and screaming for justice like an older and crazier version of Norma Rae in the cotton factory. The girls were oblivious that there were few other people of color in the room and the worst thing I did was keep whispering in my great nieces’ ears:
“Remember…Just because you dance at the ball, it doesn’t mean your Prince will call.”
“You can be perfectly happy alone even if you never meet a handsome Prince.”
“Who knows, maybe another Princess will be your best dance partner.”
Like most folks who know me they simply ignored me and carried on having a good time.