One of my favorite movies is A Little Princess, which is based off the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sara, the main character, goes from riches to rags in a series of events that I don’t want to spoil for you.
If you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it now. It’s the 1995 version with Liesel Matthews as Sara Crew.
There, now, wasn’t that good? I told you.
My favorite line in the film is from Sara. The mean headmistress at the school has just reprimanded Sara for some alleged wrongdoing. Sara straightens to her full 4 foot height and cries, “I am a princess! All girls everywhere are!”
Goosebumps here. Let that truth wash over you.
All girls everywhere are princesses.
All girls everywhere have value.
All girls everywhere matter.
Being a princess means so much more than looking pretty and waiting for the white knight to come rescue us. Girls are pressured from multiple sides to be skinny, wear mascara, and sit quietly on the sidelines. Between TV ads, magazine pictures, and religious propaganda, the “ideal” girl is a mix of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Betty Boop, and Cinderella.
Thousands of dollars are spent every year by women on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and waxes. Society demands we play a part. We must look perfect, coiffed, poised. We must remain in our respective roles, not pushing the boundaries. Even Hilary Clinton, during all her years as First Lady and later Secretary of State, was judge primarily on her hair. Forget her ardent work for women’s rights, education, and democracy. The media is more concerned with the hair-do.
Tremendous efforts are put into superficiality. We are measured and weighed. We don’t quite reach the bar. This invisible, unattainable goal is killing us. We try a new diet, buy a different dress, go into more debt, and continue in bad relationships. Our self esteem is shot. Our dignity is in rags.
It’s time for the princess to learn how to ride solo.
It’s time we learned to embrace who we are.
It’s time we knew that, being a princess, isn’t about waiting for a prince.
Being a Princess means having a King as a Father.
God has so much more for us. Bigger plans. Bigger dreams. Bigger purpose.
I have three nieces. I’m extremely proud of all of them. They are smart and beautiful and funny. They hold a treasured place in my heart. I want them to be empowered to do anything, ignoring the dissenting voices. Angelina, who is 11, told me recently, “You are fabulous, no matter what your size.”
I don’t want my son growing up knowing only women who maintained the status quo. I don’t want him only to see the skin, but I want him to see something deeper. He needs to encounter women who are real, strong, and vibrant. Girls who see the world as a place to be explored, not feared. Girls who stand up for themselves and fight to be seen. Girls who believe in being smart and being pretty.
Like Kayla, who cut all her hair off and donated it, in support of sick kids.
Like Donna, who is a licensed lawyer in seven states.
Like Melissa, who is raising two kids single-handedly and fixes her Jeep on the weekends.
Like Shelby, who spent a part of her summer helping kids in Haiti.
Like Sym, who took a business risk and worked hard to be successful for her family.
These are the beautiful ladies who are living up to the dreams of their Father, the King. They aren’t giving into the pressure of society. They ignore the demands that they must be a certain way. They are working and striving and fighting.
They are warriors.
They are princesses.
So, as much as we like to think of the girl in the frilly dress waiting in the castle for her prince, I propose a new definition of princess.
She fights back.
She gets her hands dirty.
She fiercely loves.
She is strong.
She ignores beauty trends and fashions and focuses on her heart.
She is selfless and contributes to the good of the world around her.
She knows herself and believes in her power to effect change.
She faces the future unafraid because her King is with her.
I have stretch marks, unruly curly hair, and freckled skin. I don’t wear bikinis, can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, and always forget to take my multi-vitamin.
Yet I’m beautiful and valued. I’m striving to live in the light of the King. I’m working on keeping my dignity in all situations, and letting go of my selfishness.
Frilly dresses are fabulous. I endorse them wholeheartedly.
Little black dresses and red lipstick make me feel like a million bucks.
Don’t even get me started on high heeled shoes and eye shadow…..all amazing.
Still, the substance underneath is what counts.
Girls, everywhere, unite. You have something to give. Your work isn’t done yet. You have contributions to make. You are powerful.
I am a princess.
So are you.
Our Father is the King, after all.
P.S. The picture above is of me at age 2. I have always had dignity.