Friday, July 19, 2013

"I'm a pin-cess!"

Photo: Instead of calling her a princess, tell your daughter she's ...

A couple weeks ago, Zadie was twirling around on the Turkish carpet in the hallway, the one I literally carried myself all the way home from Turkey years and years ago, giggling happily--and then she stopped, looked directly at me, grinned and announced, "I'm a pin-cess!"

And as I smiled at her I thought, "Where in the name of all things holy did she get THAT from?!"

It's not that our house is exactly an official princess-free zone. We've got crowns and tiaras and dress-up dresses and about a million magic wands. But we also have doctor coats and fingerprint kits and science books and cars and a ton of old-fashioned non-gendered Legos. And "princess" isn't a thing we call our girls--as either endearment or compliment. I'm not sure exactly why or how it counts as either of those, really, so it's not like I stop myself. It just doesn't come to mind when I reach for an affectionate way to name my girls. When Z was littler I started calling her "Scamp." Brent didn't like that, so we switched to "Scout"--a nice literary nickname. But I find nowadays what I call her most of the time is "Zadie-bug," which fits nicely with "Clare-bear."

Anyway, just goes to show--there's no way to fence this stuff out entirely. Better have a plan how to deal with it when your 2-year-old announces her newly acquired royal status because someone, somewhere is going to leak it to her that she is supposed to be "a princess." This stuff is everywhere.

Including our churches.

My plan? I continue my campaign of quiet but unrelenting subversion. Clare's turning into a verifiable tiny feminist. :)

But it would help if parents weren't alone in navigating this princess-centric culture of toys and media and books and clothes and on and on and on. It would help if our churches, instead of colluding with the princess culture in the messages they send to our little girls about who they are, were conducting their own campaign of quiet but unrelenting subversion--instead of giving them pink Bibles and calling them "God's princesses." YUCK.

That's what the list in the picture above makes me think about--what would this list of princess alternatives look like if we asked ourselves, seriously, what sort of biblical models of girlhood and womanhood the Bible offers us?


What if instead of teaching our daughters to be "princesses," the church joined with us in teaching our daughters what it means to be the image of God?

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