Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You're not a princess

A Sisters of Mercy sponsored school, Mercy Academy, has recently released a campaign to empower women called "You are not a princess". At first, I was a little, teeny bit putt off by this. Mostly because I am a huge fan of the book/movie A Little Princess and my favorite line is "all girls are princesses. Didn't your father ever tell you that?".

But I get it, and the more I think about it, the more true it is. As a society we have this mindset that girls should be rescued by a prince, that life should be a fairytale. And it's fun to think that way- to imagine a life of luxury and beauty. But then we are a poor 25 year old, eating ramen noodles for the third time that week, and we realize that the whole "princess" thing is totally unrealistic.

The girls at Mercy Academy are pushing for girls to realize that embracing reality and real life is the better option. I don't think they are expecting little girls to stop buying tiara's or tutu's (heck, I just bought a tiara last week for my best friends' birthday!). I think they are trying to push girls to set goals and work hard, rather than expect to be rescued or for everything to be handed to them. It's not about the little princess parties girls have, it's the attitude that tweens and teens have about wanting to live in a fairytale life where they won't have to lift a finger and someone will always pull them out of a challenge. And I'm not saying every teenage girl has this, but some do.

This is one if the reasons I loved the Pixar movie Brave so much. I love Belle and Cinderella as much as the next person, but Merida from Brave was one tough, independent little princess. She's a strong role model for our young girls.

Like the girls at Mercy Academy, I went to an All Girls School (also sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy), and I learned early on that women are freaking awesome. Because at our school, girls were the athletes, the leaders, the smart kids, the talent. We weren't competing with boys and we were taught to truly work hard toward our goals, to whatever it was that we wanted to accomplish. Just a theory, but I have a feeling if there were boys at our school we may have held back a little bit, been more concerned with impressing them than doing our own thing.

So cheers to those girls at Mercy Academy. I fully stand behind their campaign. To the rest of the girls out in the world, be your best self. Don't depend on anyone to rescue you, save you, or to give you your happiness. You are in control of your own destination. Work hard, go out in the world and reach those goals. Surround yourself with real woman role models.

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