I want to talk about a situation I had with my six-year-old daughter the other today. After picking her up from camp, she was standing in our driveway in her new StitchFix jumper and tennis shoes. Her messy hair was still damp from the sprinkler and she was doing her usually dramatic posing as she waited for me to unbuckle her little brother.
I noticed how absolutely amazing she looked at that moment. A little more grown-up than my Momma heart would like, but I was appreciating her maturing face and newly missing front tooth. I casually complimented her as she swayed on one hip with her foot kicked out, “You look like a cool kid today, Jazzy.” I’ve learned over the years, she’s not the girl that appreciates niceties like cute, adorable, or sweet. She aims for an edgier presence and more “sophisticated” praise. She just always has and it is something I have gladly accommodated. Who wants to be cute when they can be cool and professional?
She smiled sweetly and then shrugged in an “I already know that” way while telling me nonchalantly, “I just want to make boys love me.”
Hold up, apply the brakes.
Yes, the six-year-old daughter of a female would-like-to-burn-my-bra veteran just said that she just wants to make boys love her. Mortified, I ask her why she said that. Her answer? “Because you are Daddy’s wife.” Still confused, I asked her to clarify. “Well, I want Prince Charming. All the Princesses have a boy love them and they get wed. I want to have a husband”.
It’s hard not to take statements like these as a reflection of our parenting. Naturally, my first thoughts are to look at what we may be teaching either directly or indirectly by example. But then I paused and took her words in. She told me exactly why she said what she did.
Princesses all fall in love, get married and…
I don’t think she actually sees anything after that. Either because her age renders her incapable or because the stories rarely travel that far.
Is this way of thinking really so rooted in our tales, movies, books that this is what a six-year-old deduces from them? I guess my feelings are that we can throw in Elsas and Annas to try to curb the conversation of true love and saviors for our girls, but the message is obviously drowned out by the historical pillars of the female narrative.