Do you call your daughter princess?


I am under no illusion. I am sometimes an embarrassing mother.

Watching a Butlins production of Sleeping Beauty, I encouraged my daughters to boo when she falls in love with the prince at the end. 'I hope she scarpers,' I told my crestfallen girls, who of course rejected my shameful plan.

The notion of a princess sleeping for 100 years then being whisked off into an immediate marriage and domestic 'bliss' wasn't my favourite thing for my daughters to latch on to - why couldn't she conquer the world instead?

I've never been much of a fan of fictional princesses. What do they do exactly?

So if I hear a parent calling their daughter 'Princess,' I'm likely to raise an eyebrow. I know I'm not the only one.

A straw poll among friends revealed reactions including: 'Ugh, it's so twee,' 'No way, reminds me of Dirty Den and Sharon in EastEnders' to 'I don't like it because it makes them sound like they should get used to being spoiled.'

Clever mums who blog have pointed out it's 'blatant sexism' and sparks images of sitting around all day choosing what dress to wear.

But still parents, teachers, sports coaches and dancing tutors do it when praising or encouraging our daughters.

Mum of a four-year-old, Cath Janes is aghast at her daughter's ambition to not merely be called a princess but to grow up and be one too, inspired by sweet Disney creations as well as our nation's newest favourite royal.

On her Krakenwakes blog she writes: "What sort of ambition is that for any sentient being? After all the times I've talked about space travel and authoring and construction and athletics she has still decided that she wants to be the equivalent of Kate Middleton.

"I know, I know, she's four and she's going to change her mind a thousand times but what if this is it?

"What if KJ has already decreed that her life is to be one of pouty tuffet-sitting, X-Factor entries and professional vajazzling?

"What if this candy-floss career attempt actually pulls off? I blame those horrific magazines she's seen. No, not Heat or Hello but Princess, that schmaltzy and offensive rag that's stuffed with coy looking Princesses from Disney films.

"On the rare occasion that she's managed to get her sweaty paws on this ambition-smothering nonsense, I've been forced to take things into my own hands, namely by finding pictures of said princesses and drawing mortar boards, books, test tubes and trainers on them. I then go on to explain that only dimwits want to be princesses and why don't we get the chemistry set out now?"

Wendy from Very Bored in Catalunya doesn't adopt the same hard line approach, admitting to calling her 10-month-old baby girl 'Princess' but cringing as she does so.

"I'm not sure why I do it to be honest," she says.

"I sincerely hope I grow out of it before she gets any bigger. I don't want her to be a princess, far from it. I want her to be an independent young woman who realises that her brain will get her much further in life than her looks.

"That said, I tell both my kids daily how beautiful they are, because, well they are, and how awful would it be to not hear that from your mum?"

Emma is mum to three daughters, a five-year-old and twins aged four months.

She says: "I call my five-year-old 'Princess', but only when she is behaving!

"She has always had an obsession with Disney Princesses and is always dressing up as them.

"This initially spurred us on to call her Princess when she was about two and sporting a Snow White dress," adds Emma who blogs at Crazywithtwins.com.

"The response was a beaming smile. From then on, nicknaming her Princess just kind of stuck."

So there you have it - a right royal stitch-up if you ask me. Turns out our little girls love it.

Where's the harm in that?

More on Parentdish:

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Are we raising a generation of 'little princesses' who can't handle failure?

Brave the movie: Why the latest Disney princess is good for girls (and boys)