Enough With the Princesses!

Forget about whether the new Disney princess is black or white. The problem is with princesses. Period.

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Disney

There was Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan.

Tiana arrives this fall in the first Disney film featuring a black American princess.

Set in 1920s New Orleans, The Princess and the Frog tells the story of a young waitress and gifted chef who dreams of following her father’s lead and owning a restaurant. The trailer can be viewed online or on the big screen in the previews of Disney Pixar’s Up, which opened May 29.

Tiana’s creation has been lauded as a milestone. She is a first in a long succession of Disney princesses, which began more than 70 years ago. The toys she inspires will acknowledge the beauty of young black women as children of all colors identify with Tiana.

Still, as the mother of two young girls, I fear I will be doing damage control for years after the credits roll.

In a recent New York Times article, critics railed on whether or not Tiana conquers racial stereotypes. Forget about all that. The problem is with the princess mentality.

The princess mentality is pervasive in our society. Everything from baby bibs to bicycles is scrawled with the P-word. A mother has to shop long and hard to find clothing that isn’t glittery or pierced with rhinestones. Just when you think you’ve defeated the princess marketing monster, someone else shows up on your doorstep with the cutest thing ever.

I’m not the wicked stepmother when it comes to princesses. I just want a dash of reality thrown into my daughter’s entertainment from time to time.

Unlike princesses, my daughters, 4 and 2, will be disappointed. They will want something my husband and I can’t afford, or they will miss the mark for some achievement. There will be no magic wand to go poof and make their dreams come true.

Sure, they can dress up for dance recitals, prom and other events, but I’ll be sure to warn them that outward superficialities like glitter and makeup will not compensate for any deeper flaws some women try to hide.