Ever since I read Peggy Ornstein's book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter
" (a book I REALLY did not like but that's a post for a different day) I have been meaning to write a series about all of the good things girls learn from princesses. With the typical firestorm of objections that have come out because Disney just coronated Merida and added her to their princess line I decided that now was a good time to start my series. I have decided to start all the way back at the beginning with Snow White.
At the beginning of the story Snow White is dressed as a "scullery maid" and is forced to do chores. She is certainly not treated like a princess. Her station by birthright is princess but her wicked, yet beautiful, step-mother makes sure that she is not treated as such. She wears rags, she is most likely dirty, and she is certainly never pampered or well put together. Yet, when the queen asks the mirror "who is the fairest of them all?" the mirror answers, "Snow White." She is beautiful and "fair" beyond her appearance. Her sweet and kind voice attract a passing prince as he drives by on his horse. Her kind and gentleness allows her to befriend the animals of the forest and then the dwarves. Her sweetness convinces the huntsman to spare her life, even though he will lost likely be killed for it. She sees the best in everyone - from the unfriendly demeanor of Grumpy to the unwelcoming look of the old hag. Yes, she makes a mistake and trusts the wrong person and then needs "rescuing" by love's first kiss but we all need a little help now and then.
So, what can my daughter learn from Snow White? She can learn that no matter what you look like,
what you wear, or what your job your inner beauty will always shine through. To always allow the room for inner beauty in others. That just because someone is doing the job of a "scullery maid" (read as an menial job someone might look down on) they might just be a "princess" (read as totally amazing person worth knowing) on the inside.
My daughter can learn the value of being kind and gentle and good to everyone she meets. That you never know who's heart you touch just by being kind. You never know what "grumpy" soul you can open up and make smile when you are kind. My daughter can learn that when you treat others with kindness and a good heart they treat you the same way.
My daughter can learn that their is value in a job well done. That cleaning and cooking are jobs worth valuing. That taking care of others is a job of high value (remember the dwarves agree to let her stay so she can take care of them and their house). That is not a lesser than job. Whether it is a mother (or father) who stays home with her children or a daycare worker they are all doing a very worthy job. One that anyone can and should be proud to do and do well.
My daughter can learn that trust is an important gift. That giving your trust to someone is valuable. She can learn that sometimes you might give you're trust to an untrustworthy person but when you are hurt your friends will be there. They will stand by your side and hold your hand even when it seems that all is lost. My daughter can learn that trusting others usually pays off.
Lastly, my daughter can learn the value of not giving away her affections too easily. In order for that kiss to wake Snow White up it had to be love's FIRST kiss. Had Snow White gone around kissing all too many men she might not have experiences the true power of love's first kiss. My daughter can learn to wait. To let love grow before she rushes into her prince's arms (and more). Remember Snow White met her prince at the beginning of the movie she could have kissed him then and all would have been lost.
All in all my daughter(s) can learn many lessons from Snow White. It is all in the perspective that you have about the princesses and about the way you present the story. My daughters love everything about princesses and I am a Disney lover through and through. I will teach my daughters to see strength, beauty, courage, kindness, love, and more in the princesses. I intend to write this series as a post a week (well, more or less once a week - we all know how fast time flies with kids at home) until I've talked about all the Disney princesses.