The Pale Princess Problem – What I learned from raising girls

I was reading two articles this morning : one that said to love your womanly body and an article that said White Females are the elite in United States society and we have everything easier that everyone else. Let me think. I am the most uncolored, least pigmented, couldn’t get a tan when I tried, fair-skinned female I know. From as far as 1000 yards away you could tell I am female. I might be an expert on this. Hmmm. I have never been an expert before…

For sure I don’t get to say things like “When my people wandered through the desert for 40 years”, or “when we were cast out of our homeland”, or “We endured 80 plus years of slavery and 200 years of racial imbalance ever since” – but is life easier and more fair for the fair-skinned females.

Some of you may know I went from “Single Mom of 1 Daughter” to “Mother of up to 4 daughters – depending on the day of the week” faster than a change in nail polish color. You may also know that I think this “parenting stuff” is serious business. If you did not know that last part, you might want to put the clues together considering my day job is working with moms and dads of minor dependant children…. Oh, look, I saw the lightbulb turn on.

I remember walking around Arcadia High and feeling sorry for the boys and for all the pressure and expectations on them. They were going to have to go out into the world and financially succeed. My job was to find one of them, encourage and enable his success and spend his money (clearly I was channelling my own mother). It never occurred to me that I would be the sole breadwinner and only adult in a family. oops.

Parenting girls is a boutique experience. Pink, princesses, ballet, and playing dress up are what we think of when we think little girls. “Sugar and Spice” and all of that. Fortunately for me, Jacquelyne was my first daughter and she wasn’t buying into the plan. She played sports, wore jeans, bbq’s, fishes and is a brainy kid who physically looks like a brunette Barbie Doll. She defies pigeion

My first and last Princesses
My first and last Princesses

holing.

Yet there is a lesson from daughter #1 who is now in college. Men need to make the money to give her the life she wants. “I would love to be a teacher or social worker, but only if I marry a rich man so I could afford it. Fortunaletly I am not so finding a rich man won’t be hard. Until I meet him, I will be a Veteranarian.”  Okay, this is totally my fault, I am a social worker and the pay is near poverty.

Lesson from daughter #2 ,whom I call Queen of the World: Men bring you happiness and fulfillment. “My mom spends all of her time with her boyfriend, that ‘s the only time she is happy. She divorced Daddy when he stopped making her happy”. I try to have hobbies, and charity work and involve her in these things with me to show her that happiness is an internal feature that we need to find in ourselves and then can expect happiness with other people.

Lesson from daughter #3, Empress of Everything Else. Learn to set goals and be self validating. The Empress is 8 years old and nosy and up in everyone else

The Empress of Everything Else , Darla and ELmo
The Empress of Everything Else , Darla and ELmo

s’s business. She says she feels left out and she doesn’t matter if she isn’t part of the story or at least telling someone else’s story. Facebook is ruining my life, I feel left out too and I feel like I am underachieving when I see all the cool stuff my frineds are doing and achieving. With this in mind, we focus on what makes her unique and wonderful. I seperate her from her sisters and have activies that play to her strengths (art and anything analytical ), and discuss all the loners who make a difference in the world – and that some of the greatest achievements have come from single minds.

Lesson from daughter #4 If you have to have a Princess Complex, be a Complex Princess.  Darla loves princesses and dances in circles whenever she is wearing a skirt. She tries to approach small animals and sticks out her finger for birds to land on whenever possible. So, I introduced her Wonder Woman who is capable of saving her Island, her people , a member of the armed services and has cool stuff – but no actual super powers (unless we count bouncing bullets off her jewelry).img_20130328_183040_279

I don’t think the world is especially challenging to women like me – other than the way we are told to view ourselves as accessories and incapable of great things. Face it, Madame Curie’s HUSBAND got the great prizes for work she poineered and did with him in the same lab. The workd seesus as less wonderful and more beautiful. It is up to us to teach ourselves and our daughters that we are capable of financially self sufficiency and even financiall excess as well as worth while as individuals.

As far as the advantages of being white… I was a minority in Arcadia, am a minority in Pacoima and the only caucasian on the second floor of my office. I don’t feel especially priveleged – but I do feel like I let folks down from other states because the “california Girl” is not blonde,tanned and beautiful. I am what I am. I don’t feel more protected than any other group of females. What sticks with me though is Hal Espy saying “You live a day as a black man, and then you get back to me about how hard life can be.”

Maybe we all think it is hardest for us – like we are special and need attention for our struggles. I don’t know – but I do know I am not given the option to “Freaky Friday” anyone to see if life is different then.

Bottom line – it is okay to be a pretty princess, but rescue your own self, or stay out of danger in the first place.

Random thought – have you ever noticed how it is women (the witches and stepmothers) who but the princesses in peril to begin with? What does that tell our little girls about women?

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One thought on “The Pale Princess Problem – What I learned from raising girls

  1. Reblogged this on fatness and commented:

    No one is elite, some poeple are judged more harshly than others at first site because we were taught fear, and Women were not taught to be equals or find self worth as children …

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