When my daughter, Aanika, was born, I was apprehensive about dressing her in anything pink. In her first year of life, I didn't buy her any pink outfits, even though we still received them as gifts. With so many wonderful clothing options out there, why limit her to pink, just because she is a girl? She looks just as adorable in blue, green, and yellow as she would pink. Also, I did not want Aanika to be called "princess" – my perception of the term wasn't positive, and I wanted her to have a unique identity that was all her own.
Even though Aanika loves Hello Kitty, I have made it a point to make sure that my daughter doesn't think that she only has to play with toys that are "for girls" – I want her to explore her interests without being pressured to only play with toys that are meant for her gender. From what I understand, according to our educational experts, all that a child under five years old needs is to develop their cognitive, language, math, social, fine, and gross motor skills. Gender-specific toys were never mentioned. Our Green Piñata kids, both boys and girls, equally love playing with Home and Fire Station. They love making tea with their Tea Cup Set, cooking breakfast with their Toaster Set, riding their motorbike, and flying their BiPlane. Whether a toy is pink or blue should have nothing to do with the enjoyment that a child gets out of playing with it. This also goes for dolls – namely, princess dolls.
Moana Isn't Your Ordinary Fairy Tale Princess
I make every effort not to indulge Aanika in the fairy tale world of princesses – but rather, show her that princesses can be as strong and able-bodied as the rest of us. I read her stories such as Not All Princesses Dress in Pink and The Princess Knight, as these stories share the values that I would like Aanika to learn as she grows and matures. It's not that I dislike princesses, pretty dolls, or the color pink. What I don't agree with is the perception that all princesses do is make women look weak, like they need to be rescued, and that their goal in life is to wait for their prince charming so that they can live happily ever after. Eighty-five percent of our brain develops within the first 5 years of our lives, and it's very likely that my daughter would extend her perspective of the world, namely princesses, from books, toys, and clothes – and it may affect who she would turn out to be in the future. However, Moana shattered my initial perception of "weak" princesses, and showed that these women can be perceived as strong role models.
When I first saw Moana, I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, I LOVE this princess!" The very next day after Moana came out, I went to the Disney store and picked up a Moana doll. I wanted this doll for my very own, but of course, it was Aanika's about two hours after its purchase! Moana is incredibly inspiring, and reminds me that I can do anything that I set my mind to.
Moana has given me hope that there are princesses that our daughters can look up to – princesses who are bold, independent, strong, and don't depend on a prince to give them their happily ever after. A little girl should know that she is capable of her own happily ever after, and that she doesn't need anyone else to make it happen for her. Whoever she chooses to be, and whatever she chooses to do with her life, it was HER choice, and not one that she had to make because of her gender. I love Moana, do you?
Have you seen Moana yet? What are some ways that this princess has inspired you? Share them in the comments!