Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Scrubbing Off the Princess

Poor Cinderella never stood a chance in my house.


My mother bought the sunglasses for my three year old.  Sparkly and pink? Approved.  Rhinestone flower bows? Acceptable.  Blonde Disney princess?  Days numbered.

My mom is a reasonable feminist, but she’s a bit of a pushover when my daughter really wants something, especially anything cute and sparkly.  When my daughter brought it home, I started scheming on how to get rid of it.  I scratched at the edge of the yellow hair, and the paint chipped slightly.  Excellent.  I warned my daughter  “This is a sticker,” I lied.  “It won’t stay on the glasses.”  My daughter seemed to understand.  Apparently there had been a uv sticker on the glasses that came off.  Good.  Because I didn’t want my daughter to be traumatized when Cinderella disappeared.princess blur

It took less than a week, but I finally took a moment today while my daughter was sleeping.  princess 3

I got the cotton and rubbed her out.  As a feminist, I don’t believe in femicide, but that’s the thing.  Cinderella and all these princesses are not real females, they’re fantasies that are transmitted from patriarchal minds to little girl’s minds.  They’re doe-eyed cartoon faces on sexualized Barbie bodies.  They seem to be for kids, but they’re the real kiddie porn.  I don’t mind killing any versions of this sexist fantasy that get in range.

princess goneI can’t keep my girl from ever being affected, but I have a zero tolerance policy for white princesses.  She came to me the other day asking for a princess doll.  She wants Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I’m not sure whether to reject the request outright or to offer the option of Brave or the  African American princess.  But I’m on the fence about the black princess, too.  She has the same porno body and romantic storyline.  At least Brave is drawn like a non-sexual cartoon girl and she’s a badass.  Cinderella, on the other hand, is out of the question.  And now she’s off the glasses.

6 comments on “Scrubbing Off the Princess

  1. Sharon
    March 24, 2013

    I’m struggling with the whole Princess thing with my daughter (5.5, Kindergarten, White). She wants a Princess party for her birthday (which is thankfully 6 months away). But I recoil from all things Princess (especially Disney Princess) and want desperately for her to model herself after real heros/sheros and not those manufactured ones, especially ones that create/reinforce that being pretty is everything. I asked her what the appeal was for a Princess party — “I want everything to be pretty, and Princesses are the prettiest things in the world.” I know I’m not the first feminist Mama to come up against this dilemma: wanting to encourage my daughter and her imagination and not wanting to squelch her dreams/hopes (though I have told her the only jobs for grown-up girls who want to be princesses is to wear costumes and go to little girls birthday parties. And the costumes and wigs are HOT to wear. I want to speak the same language she does, but right now I just don’t.

    • Margaret
      April 2, 2013

      We’ve done a princess party in my house without a wisp of Disney to be seen. We made the old-style cone hats (out of the shockingest pinkest oak tag I could find) topped off with some tulle and decorated to the girls’ hearts’ content with disgusting quantities of glitter and fake gems. It was completely non-sexualized, age-appropriate, and FUN for a group of five-year-old girls.

  2. Sheila
    April 3, 2013

    Read: Don’t Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England. Or – The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch). My daughter loved these books. Still a classic.

  3. amc
    April 6, 2013

    hooray, so happy to see Aya take on the Disney-princess-military-industrial-entertainment complex. I knew you’d do it when the baby was born. I think Tiana is OK because she’s self reliant and resourceful and does not require the “prince” to manifest her dreams. Have you introduced the kid to the Powerpuff Girls, yet? I am loving your blog.

    AC in Los Angeles

  4. Raquel Z. Rivera
    April 11, 2013

    I’m loving your methods.

  5. Pingback: hip mama | Disney’s Doc McStuffins: Possible Side Effects Include White Supremacy

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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Aya wins first place Independent Publisher Awards for UPTOWN THIEF, THE BOSS, THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS

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