2011 was a year of change and confusion for me, thankfully I have started to emerge from that fog and in many ways, as a new woman. 2012 is set to be a year of consolidation, growth in both strength and compassion but founded on a steady undercurrent of both humility and grace.
It can be confusing as a woman with all of the options, do’s and don’ts of today’s world. I recently read an article titled “Disney Princess ate my daughter” which led me to wonder if I was the worst mum in the entire universe as I stared blankly at my 4 year old daughter’s pink, frilly, princess themed bedroom. Apparently there is concern that mums who allow their daughters to play princess and dress up in tiaras and plastic ‘clip clops’ are actually teaching their daughters that the important things in life are material possessions (the more the better), be kind and friendly (interpreted as ‘doormat’), and that you must find a man to rescue you from all the evil in the world because you couldn’t possibly make a decision for yourself (it might muck up your hair or spoil your nail polish). Furthermore, it will also mean that my daughter (who at 4 years old really does seem to believe she is an actual princess), at 12-18, will want to wear slutty clothes and throw herself at any young man who cares to glance in her direction…apparently, according to the evidence-based world of empirical research (holding a PhD I feel qualified to criticize), it’s already been decided that because I bought her a Cinderella dress for Christmas her future life is now a dreary mess of hairspray and heartache.
RUBBISH! Are we really going to stand by and throw our hands in the air if our daughters come home asking for the latest copy of Disney Princess magazine, believing it all to be a lost cause? More to the point are we actually going to start lecturing our 4 year old girls in the toy section of Target about the merits of gender neutrality and the need for them to be able to build a meccano set, blind-folded, in under 30 seconds (in order to beat their brother)…anyone seen an episode of Nikita lately???
My son and daughter, both, live in a home in which a whole room of the house, empty of furniture, is dedicated to yoga and meditation. In which martial arts for self-defense is taught, in which giving is encouraged and modeled. My children have parents dedicated to self-development, to helping others and protecting the things they believe in – number one at the top of this list for both my husband and myself is our children. Do we feel the need to protect our daughter from Disney Princess? No.
Do we feel the need to teach both of our children to believe in themselves and pursue the things that interest them most? Yes.
Far more important to me in showing my daughter how to grow into a woman, is being a good role model myself, not leaving it up to Disney Princess magazine or some music film-clip or even the teachers at school. She is my daughter and it’s my job to make her resilient against media brainwashing, social stereotyping and inappropriate cultural norms.
On that note, this year is about me coming into my own space as a woman, strong yet soft; determined, yet flexible; joyful, grounded and graceful. This year I might practice yoga while listening to Beyonce, I might meditate on balancing both my mind and my hormones, I might refuse hormone regulating pills and anti-aging creams filled with synthetic chemicals that affect my health and wellbeing… but these are not resolutions for the new year, just thoughts crossing my mind today.
This year I intend to be a woman living mindfully in a world where girls need role models who are on the path, facing the right direction. This year I dedicate to being a good role model for my little princess.