A short rant about: ‘Princess’.

Thu 12 Jan 17 | Lifestylish, Mummy Stuff | 27 comments

I fear this *may* be an unpopular post.

But I’d like to add that it is, of course, purely my opinion and whatever you choose to call your child is totally up to you. Feel free to rant about whatever I might call my child on your blog should you so please. Or to my face, if you know me.

But WTF is the cutesy nickname ‘Princess’ all about?! How has this snuck into the English language as a pet name, even by seemingly ‘normal’, non sparkly people?

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I don’t know if it’s the whole popular Disney Princess thing that has exacerbated it, and you may or may not know I’m quite passionate about gender division anyway (read a previous rant about pink and blue), but I just don’t understand why it’s an acceptable affectionate name.

To me, ‘Princess’ makes me think:

  • pretty
  • waited upon
  • sparkly
  • privileged
  • sheltered/protected from real life
  • girly
  • upper class

I don’t agree that it’s right to call girls these things. OUT LOUD. To other humans. Or actually, even under your own roof.

What’s the boy equivalent? Gavin’s Mum used to call him ‘my Prince’ in Gavin & Stacey, which was hilarious – and clearly a piss take… no?

There’s a movement to encourage girls to achieve in subjects traditionally favoured by boys – over the years, surveys like this one reported in The Guardian have found girls to lack confidence in science and maths. Is it surprising when we often tell girls to ‘be careful, don’t get your dress dirty!’ or ‘you look so pretty!’, or ‘let your brother fix/carry/play with that’. I know it’s old but this video on inspiring little engineers is amazing.

Surely ‘Princess’ is pushing the child towards glitter, make-up and high heels from the get-go? I’m not going to pretend that Little P won’t enjoy ‘Frozen’ (I love it), or want me to plait her hair, or choose a big tutu dress at some point, but I refuse to wrap her up in a pink, fluffy, sickly nickname.

Am I being unreasonable? Or should I swallow my (probably feminist) pride and start calling her Princess P?!

Images credit: Shutterstock

The Pramshed

 

27 Comments

  1. Bec @IshMotherBec

    Yes yes yes! I cringe when I hear/see people talking about their ‘little princess’. To me it’s synonymous with spoilt, vain and decorative. Not what I want my daughter to be associated with at all!

    Reply
  2. citymumblog

    Oh I don’t know! I call my 5-year old little girl Princess sometimes (especially when she’s decided to get dressed in one of her fabulous dressing up dresses usually with stripy tights). That said I certainly don’t want her to think she’s decorative or for her to be vain and spoilt! I hope I am bringing her up to be a kind, intelligent and an independent woman who will gods willing change the world! I call her poppet, darling and all sorts of another pet names too and I’m sure I always will. I don’t see the harm really – after all if you can’t be a little princess at 5 years old, when can you be!!

    Reply
  3. itsmeanniebee

    I have thought about this all day. It’s not often something can capture my attention that long.
    I read this, this morning and panicked. Everyone in our family calls our 6yo ‘Princess’ and I spent the day worrying I was doing her a disservice. Then I REALLY thought about it and I think my idea of Princess differs to yours (which is totally cool). Before I had children I didn’t watch Disney films or anything, they came along with my daughter, so I didn’t have that original concept of ‘princess’ in my head. The more recent Princesses aren’t ditsy, incapable, waited upon girls. They’re sassy, independent ladies. Well as sassy and independent as Disney allows. Anna, Elsa, Merida and Moana (even Vanelope from Wreck it Ralph) are more modern women than the previous ones so now I don’t feel so bad that we call her that. We do also comment a lot on how clever, kind, loving and creative she is too.She will grow out of it soon enough, maybe go through a goth phase and want us to call her Slave of the Undead or something. She won’t be princess forever 🙂
    I do like your post and that it’s given my brain a work out. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Hi Anna, I think this may be the best comment I have ever received on a post. Thank you for taking so much time to think about it and share your thoughts. It’s tricky and I may well be over thinking it… You’re right, the modern Princesses are waaaay better than the old fashioned Disney ones though! Food for thought. All the best for the Goth phase (ha!), K x

      Reply
  4. Sarah - Mum & Mor

    I don’t call my daughter a princess. I never have. It just never sat well with me. Princess to me reads as spoilt brat. I was a spoilt brat, a “princess”. This is what put me off calling my daughter princess. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
    • kimberly

      That’s such an honest thing to admit! Thanks for reading x

      Reply
  5. aliduke79hotmailcom

    I have never called my daughter princess, no reason for it, it’s just never something I’ve said. We call her Booey (something her dad started and it stuck) or occasionally when we are playing about I call her chimpy lol.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
  6. anklebitersadventures

    I have never called my little girl princess just wouldn’t suit her ! Fab post xx

    Reply
  7. Mainy - myrealfairy

    Really interesting post and got me thinking. I’ve got two boys so the term never comes up as something to call them but we do have lots of nicknames all over the place and I haven’t thrown them together with any more thought than love. So, on that basis I can’t see the harm in calling a little girl or a woman for that matter, princess if it is just that – a nickname and said with love. If it’s used to put someone down then thats just plain cruel anyway and would be seen as a negative. If its a sweet nickname in someones household then cool.
    Mainy
    #Blogstravaganza

    Reply
  8. imatwinmama

    Hmmmm… Dare I say it but I believe you’re over-thinking this. I don’t think a nickname means anything in particular; it’s about the intention and the context. For example, when one of my twins does or says something adorable, I will sometimes refer to her as “my Angel,” despite the fact that I’m an atheist. The pet name simply comes from love. On the other hand, when they’re cheeky I’ll call them little madams, with no implication that they’re running a brothel lol.

    Totally with you on the gender division thing, but also love one of the comments that talks about how sassy modern-day Disney princesses are! My girls are OBSESSED with Frozen and Tangled, two perfect examples!

    Reply
    • kimberly

      You’re totally right about the modern Disney princesses – thankfully miles apart from the old school Cinderellas and Snow Whites. Some amazing role models now. I’m sure I am over thinking it as most people who use Princess mean it in purely a pet name kinda way without going into the connotations of it. Still don’t like it though! Thanks so much for reading and commenting x

      Reply
      • imatwinmama

        If you’re anything like me, you look at your scruffy, mucky, cheeky little urchin and think, “She ain’t no princess!” Lol

        Reply
  9. Educating Roversi

    A funny but valid post. I have a son but I’ve never referred to him as a ‘prince’…cheeky monkey yes ☺ princess insinuates entitlement to me. Kids can be brats as it is without encouraging it more #blogtravaganza

    Reply
  10. 1amusingmum

    I’m 100% with you on this. Although the nick-name is relatively innocuous in itself, when combined with a childhood of ‘pink everything’ and ‘girl toys’, you can be inadvertently setting your child on a path that limits their expectations of what what they can do, and what they can achieve. Surely a balance is best? Bizarrely enough though, I call my daughter ‘little sausage’, which will probably have it’s own negative impact in time!
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
  11. The Squirmy Popple

    Ugh – I’m totally with you on this. I can’t imagine ever calling my daughter ‘princess’. I once wrote a post about how much I hate seeing the term ‘princess’ and other girly stereotypes on little girl’s clothing. There is nothing royal about my daughter. She’s a toddler who farts like a grown man. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Ha! I’ve often wondered what Kate calls Charlotte… She’d be totally in her rights to call her Princess of course – what do you reckon? Peasant maybe fur a laugh? Or sausage/monkey/ whatever like a normal parent?! X

      Reply
  12. thetaleofmummyhood

    I’m popping back over from #Blogstravaganza! My eldest is a total tomboy, ‘Princess’ just would not suit her. Too be honest, it wouldn’t feel that natural for ‘Princess’ to come out of my mouth, I’m more of a ‘Hey Kid!’ Each to their own, hey! Thankyou so much for linking up, it’s fab to have you. Hope to see you again next week xx

    Reply
  13. A Mum Track Mind

    I do enjoy a good rant! Lol. I don’t agree with you but as someone who often writes controversially on her own blog, I really respect people who stand up and say what they think. Well done princess 😉 thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofblog

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Haha thanks Fi. Appreciate your honesty and comment! That’s what blogs after for right? Off to polish my tiara 😜x

      Reply
  14. Gary Porter

    When talking on my blog or social media I often refer to my daughter as ‘princess’ without really considering the connotations. Firstly I don’t use the term loudly, unless she’s dressed up, but when using it in written format I guess I am sometimes referring to her being a little spoilt. Then there is that feeling of her being my little girl who I’ll always want to love and protect. Really interesting read and can see where you’re coming from. My little girl comes the football with me and like her mum will do anything she wants such is her drive and determination, anything but a princess in reality but perhaps you can indulge me when I use the term (not out loud) now and again!

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Of course! I realise a lot of people use the term without thinking about it… glad this provoked thought! Enjoy your little Princess 😜x

      Reply
  15. pearliejqueen

    Oh I really enjoyed reading this! Pet names are strange aren’t they?Princess as a term of endearment is quite a South Eastern thing, I think, particularly London/Essex,just like Duck is a Stokie thing.But I personally cringe at “Mummy’s little princess” In our house I have only called Pearl “Princess Pearl” when she is pretending to be a princess(I call her puppy Pearl when she’s pretending to be a dog-and encourage her to only play in an alliterative way obvs) .I am however, considering getting everyone to refer to me as either Princess or Ma’am at all times-think it beats “Muuuuummm”

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Haha how about Lady… we definitely deserve a regal title! X

      Reply
  16. Surrey Mama

    Really interesting post. I have sometimes called my daughter my princess but I didn’t and don’t want that to mean she’s spoilt or waited upon. Her favourite toys at the moment are diggers, cars and she loves digging for worms! I personally think that we should offer girls and boys the options to do everything and let them find their way. If I call her a princess now and again I would hope that wouldn’t stop her doing anything she’d want to do… I hope so anyway! Now I’m panicking about it
    X

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Don’t panic! It can’t be a bad thing once in a while, and of your it’s your choice anyway! This is a personal rant. It’s the wider connotation for me and if you’re encouraging her to do or play with whatever she wants in life, I think that’s brilliant. Thanks so much for reading x

      Reply

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