I am currently reading The Little Princess to my kids. It’s a classic children’s story about a little girl, Sara Crewe, who was once very rich and spoiled but kind-hearted. When her parents die, she becomes orphaned and all her nice things are stripped away and she becomes a mis-treated slave. Through it all, she determines to be a princess. She determines to be kind, keep a cheerful spirit and believe in her own self-worth, even though the entire world is telling her she is a worthless nobody.
I began to wonder if this was an accurate description of a princess, and I think it is. Most of the princesses I can remember from childhood had difficult things happen to them: Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Tiana, Rapunzel and the rest all had some sort of tragedy in their life. Whether it was an evil step mother, oppressive father, death of a parent or kidnapping and imprisonment they all had difficult situations in their life and they ALL faced those difficulties with optimism, kindness and hard work.
They all faced their tragedy with a song and dance while they worked. daring to dream of a better life and were always kind to animals (the helpless). I think Sarah Crewe is on to something, kindness and optimism in the face of tragedy is a very Princess-like trait.
In recent Disney princess films, some have taken issue with the fact that the prince is no longer the savior or the hero and now the princess saves herself. In fairness, others have said for years that it is sexist to always have the prince (man) be the savior and the hero.
I would propose that even though it may seem that the man jumps in at the end and “saves the day” the princess is (and always has been) the true hero.
Women fight differently than men, but that doesn’t make our power any less, just different. The man may waltz in at the last moment and sweep her off her feet and slay the dragon, or plant the kiss, but the princess has been fighting evil from the moment the opening credits began.
Princesses (and women) are uniquely empowered to see the good and beauty in people, to have compassion and to give love. Princesses fight every single moment of the film to remain positive, kind and generous. They do not allow themselves to be poisoned by the evil in their lives. They do not allow bitterness to uglify their hearts. They do not become a victim who demands pity. No – they fight to remain positive, pursue their dreams no matter what and pass kindness on to others.
We as women have always had the power to be the hero! And no, we don’t have to become a man to do it, we are heroes just as we are – we can be heros while sweeping up a mess or baking a cake. I reject both the idea that women are completely helpless and need a man along with the idea that women have to become the man and slay the dragon themselves to have value. I believe that women are unique from men, but our love and resilience, creativity and warm smiles are our GREATEST power.
If you are a mom, wondering if you are doing much with your life *just* loving on your kids – you are.
If you are a teacher or a coach or a CEO or an assistant to someone and you are wondering if you are doing much with your life *just* loving on people, supporting them, seeing the good in them and being kind to others – you are.
You are a hero – always have been….it’s just time someone recognized it.