Cure for Princess Obsession Needed—Right Now!

October 10th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Edumucation  |  15 Comments

Fucking hate them all.

Fuck, the morning began so well. Sasha emerged from her bedroom in her new footie pj’s placid and happy. “I had a really long sleep!” she told me, sitting down on the toilet to pee and describing in unintelligible detail the great dream she’d had (about princesses).

From there it got worse: a timeout before I’d even had a shower, and a battle to get her to wear tights on this cold morning. “But I’m not beautiful!” she whined. “I’m not a princess anymore!”

As I somehow convinced to cooperate with getting the tights on, I was getting worried. This princess shit has been going on a long, long time—too long. At first, it was cute. Sasha identified with the princesses she saw in cartoon movies: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Castle in the Sky, Dora, Princess Bubblegum, and so on. She wanted only to wear “princess dresses” whose hems flounced out—pinkly or sparkly—when she twirled. She demanded slippers she could wear outdoors. And we, her parents, gave in. It didn’t seem so bad, and we were never pressuring her on these things. In fact, we always tried to make sure she had a variety of outfits and activities, not just those that would conform to the most frustrating gender stereotypes.

But lately it’s just gotten too damn annoying. We can’t make her wear pants. We can only get her into sneakers because her teachers require them. Even when we show her beautiful, multicolored skirts and tights and sweaters and such, she turns them down because they don’t match up to her vision of princesshood. Everything is a damn battle. Tears flow. Tempers flare.

Yeah, I know: She’s almost 4. This happens. But honestly, I don’t want to wait this one out, not when every morning we fight about the exact same things.

What we need—and what I’m hoping to learn from you, dear readers—are books, stories, movies, TV shows about non-standard princesses. Princesses who wear jeans and T-shirts, who run and climb mountains, who get dirty and hate the color pink. Brave had a little bit of this—an archer princess who rides horses!—but it’s not on DVD yet, so we’re stuck there.

What is out there that’s so awesome that Sasha will start demanding Japanese selvedge denim or pre-K Patagonia shells? Please, help us—and hurry!


  1. Jason says:

    October 10th, 2012at 2:58 pm(#)

    Princess Leia. You’re welcome.

  2. daddy in a strange land says:

    October 10th, 2012at 2:59 pm(#)

    Here’s a place to start:

  3. Jason Sperber via Facebook says:

    October 10th, 2012at 3:00 pm(#)

    Check out A Mighty Girl–here’s a search of their site for “princesses”:

  4. Cat says:

    October 10th, 2012at 3:23 pm(#)

    Paperbag Princess is a big hit.
    The oridinary princess by MM Kaye
    A Little Princess by Frances Hodgess Burnett (might be too old…)
    The Secret Garden

    what about even just looking at pictures from magazines of the “real” princess — princess Kate has pictures of her wearing jeans, etc.

  5. Sean says:

    October 10th, 2012at 3:35 pm(#)

    Read her The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley about an orphan girl who becomes a warrior and then queen. I certainly plan to read it to my daughter when I have one.

  6. A Mighty Girl via Facebook says:

    October 10th, 2012at 5:55 pm(#)

    Thanks for the comment, Jason! Also, check out our “Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess” — there are a ton of stories about daring, smart princesses:

  7. Nicole says:

    October 11th, 2012at 12:33 am(#)

    Sorry, Matt, you are screwed.

  8. Summer Kumar says:

    October 11th, 2012at 3:09 am(#)

    I like this book:

  9. JFM says:

    October 11th, 2012at 9:19 am(#)

    The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke is a good one for us.

    The Paper Bag Princess, as already mentioned.

    Not All Princesses Wear Pink by Jane Yolen et al. has princesses with power tools and sparkly crowns.

  10. Izabella says:

    October 14th, 2012at 6:04 am(#)

    You should show her some Hayao Miyazaki films. E.g My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery, The Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty etc. They are great and all of them have a lovely girl character that your lil princess may like!

  11. Dawn says:

    October 24th, 2012at 9:12 am(#)

    Mulan- unfortunately this is a very normal almost 4 year old girl behavior. Good luck! It gets easier.

  12. Kate says:

    October 25th, 2012at 6:32 am(#)

    I agree with Izabella: Miyazaki’s films may be the answer: show her Princess Mononoke (and don’t go complaining if she only wants to wear fake fur after that…).

    Princess Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons (by Patricia Wrede) is really awesome, but you’ll probably have to wait another 5 years to read the book with your daughter…

  13. karen says:

    October 27th, 2012at 5:13 pm(#)

    Long time no see.

    The one book we liked at that age was Princesses are not Quitters, which was quite useful for deconstructing the princess crap.

    The good news is that, similar to the whole WFT when will it happen toilet training crap and a cold that you have for what seems like forever, it goes away. Unless you feed the monster that is princess culture. We like to give doses of media awareness, discussions about the marketing machine and less “princess” not more.

    We couldn’t avoid princess, it was at the schools, the relatives brought over trunkloads of it, it was everywhere. But we could educate around it, and that works exceptionally well.

  14. Kat says:

    January 13th, 2013at 5:41 pm(#)

    I would say if she is on a disney kick:
    Princess Jasmine wears Pants and she is still very girly.
    Tinker bell (not a princess but she’s girly and tomboyish)

    Some non-Disney non-princess:
    Shugo Chara – not a princess but cute trendy girl characters.
    Rainbow Bright
    Strawberry Shortcake

  15. Luckyla says:

    April 9th, 2013at 5:30 pm(#)

    try this game:

    GoldieBlox is a construction toy + book series starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build.

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