Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Strong princesses open up ‘a whole new world’ for little girls

We have a few “girl” superhero costumes in the house. A puffy-sleaved lavender Batgirl costume and a Supergirl costume trimmed in red tulle and sparkles. But when my 4-year-old wants to dress up as a superhero and fight crime, she no longer reaches for these vestments of token girl power.

She dresses as a princess.

I had forever sworn that, should I be blessed with a daughter, nary a single tiara would enter my home. Having grown up watching Snow White get saved by a prince, and Sleeping Beauty get saved by a prince, and Cinderella get saved by a prince, and (well, you get the idea), weak damsels in pretty ball gowns make my skin crawl.

Then came Tiana. Disney released “The Princess and the Frog” when Zev was four, and it threw me. Zev was swept up in the music (and who could blame him?) but I was more focused on how an aspiring business owner who spent most of the film as a frog could leap into the princess pantheon. Yes, the fairy tale includes a handsome prince and a beautiful gown, but it actually concludes with the opening of a restaurant. That’s their “happily ever after.” A service industry tycoon marries a cute guy and puts him to work.

I figured that was a one-off. But the princess power didn’t stop in New Orleans. Pixar’s “Brave,” featured a fearless princess whose only flaw was that she didn’t listen to her mother. Then came Elsa and Anna of “Frozen,” sisters whose love for each other save the world.