Is It Really Disempowering For Me To Call My Daughters Princesses?


Last week a lady by the name of Van Badham appeared on the Sky News show Contrarians. I thought her conduct was sad seeing she was the only lady on the Panel and it was International Women’s Day. Anyway I struck up a Twitter conversation with her and then another lady joined in. They both turned the conversation around to attack the comment on my Twitter Bio where I say that I am the “Father of Two Princesses”. They accused me of using disempowering language and of being infantile asking the question Wouldn’t I prefer to raise Warriors? Here are some of the tweets.



Then I read in the Sun Herald today (10th March 2013) that “Disney Rescues Girls from Princess Culture”

Growing parental concern about young girls being inundated with princess culture is being addressed by Disney, the biggest global purveyor of princess characters on television and film.

The general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, Nancy Kanter, said the company is unlikely to create another princess being saved by someone ”on a white horse”.

”We know there are people who have their opinions about whether the princess, as a model, is relevant today,” Ms Kanter said, in an exclusive interview with Fairfax before attending the ASTRA television conference in Sydney this week.

Read more:

So it got me thinking about Princesses. But before I get into that. I think that all little girls want to be thought of as a Princess by their Dads. I think all daughters need to be told they are precious, they are beautiful and they are special. Maybe if more dads treated their daughters like princesses there would be less pain in the world.

But lets talk about Princesses. Are they such a bad role model for my daughters. Here are some inspiring Princesses throughout History

Princess Isabella of France (around the 1300)  – Notable at the time for beauty, diplomatic skills and intelligence

Princess Rani Lakshmi Bai: Rani Lakshmi Bai had two things in common with most Disney princesses: a dead mother and spunk. Lakshmi Bai was born in India in 1835, and her dad worked for a prime minister, so she was raised in a royal setting. But unlike most princess types, Lakshmi Bai wasn’t content to just learn needlework and curtsy etiquette. Instead, she spent her youth studying swordsmanship, archery and how to use guns.

While emotionally recovering from the trauma of losing a husband while also still being a child herself, Rani Lakshmi Bai became a freedom fighter. Her first move was to recruit an army that allowed lady soldiers. Next up, fighting the British! She took her role so seriously that she reportedly went into battle with her adopted son strapped to her back, presumably to drop him off at soccer practice after each fight.

Princess Archidamia: From Sparta: She activated Spartan women into battle and held off invading armies.

Princess Zhao of Pingyang: Lived in the 600’s in China during the Sui Dynasty. During a tumultuous period of Chinese history, Princess Zhao sold her family’s estate and used the money to raise an army to join the rebellion – eventually commanding an army 70,000 strong. The Princess personally led the army to numerous victories. She did all this by the age of 20.

Princess of Wales. Princess of Hearts. Princess Diana. Known for her incredible her for people. Campaigning for better care of AIDS patients in Africa and the banning of the use of Landmines in Asia amongst other things.

Princess Grace – Known for her classy elegance.

Anyway that will do – you get the idea. So I don’t think its such an insulting or disempowering term to call my daughters – Princesses

Father of two Princesses – Signing Off.


Categories: Australian, Family

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7 replies

  1. I think saying you are the father of two Princesses implies that these girl’s mean the world to you. That you hold them in the highest regard, willing to protect them at all costs. For me I know it’s because I know your character that this is your meaning.

    Maybe these woman feel Princess is derogatory because to them it means; entitled, spoilt, demanding… not wanting for anything. Unable to make decisions for themselves … being dis-empowered is the trade off by this type of Princess.

  2. I too am the father of a Princess – Princess Naomi Grace Margaret Boulton.
    At 14 she is proving to be of sound character, strong in her faith in Christ, committed to ministry, confident (and downright cheeky sometimes).
    AND she just LOVES being called my Princess!!!
    She is vaued and highly esteemed.
    So, like you, I will ignore those poor people who perhaps have never been valued the way that we value our Princeses – and continue to use this high title when I speak to or about my Princess, Naomi.

  3. I don’t think these women have a clue, whats wrong with your daughters feeling precious and special? The best book I ever read my daughter is called ‘The Princess and the Kiss’ all about self respect an high expectations does that make me an aweful parent?? Teaching your daughters now how the most important man in their life should treat them in the future is not a bad thing at all! Keep it up Pete, there is nothing wrong with raising girls with high esteem an big expectations!

  4. Hi Ps Peter, I grew up knowing my dad thought of me as his princess, and our daughter also grew knowing the same from her own Dad, our foster Daughters are growing in the knowledge they are considered special princesses, and as daughters of the King of Kings, I and mine are also considered better than His princesses… I can’ t help but wonder who your antagonists would like to be likened to…. The princess or the the stepmother’s of fictional stories… I know that my own past and present struggles have/are akin to warrior battles not for the faint hearted, and my own daughter does daily battle in the courts for children who cannot defend themselves… It is with exception that I hear these comments from some who have perhaps forgotten that being feminine does not mean being weak and incapable! Anne Hartland.

    I salute you for being the dad of princesses

    Sent from my iPad

  5. Who said princess and warrior were mutually exclusive. Obviously no one told that to Lakshmi Bai and Zhao! With position comes responsibility and a good princess believes in her people, her kingdom and her cause enough to put aside her own needs in order to benefit those in her care. A warrior may fight for his own glory, but a princess warrior fights for her people. This is what good women do every day. Sometimes its just the mother who gets up to her toddler to settle them AGAIN and still manages to pull off patience, gentleness and a hug. Maybe its the mum who stays up all night trying to figure out how to encourage/help her own daughter, who cries well into the early hours only to get up as normal and face the day on a few hours sleep. Maybe its the sister who drops everything to drive a hundred miles to be with her sister who needs her, or the friend who cooks dinner for the friend whose entire family has come down with gastro. Maybe it is women fighting for the right to vote or the right to education. Maybe its the little old lady who listens to the children and helps them believe that even in this busy world their voice is still worth hearing! Oh yes, we are warriors. We fight for our friends, our families, our sisters and for the generations to come. But we are gentle and fierce. We ride in to battle with our sons and daughters strapped to our back because we are princesses. We are women. And our Heavenly Father has entrusted us with much.
    Mother of 4 Princesses.

  6. Rachael, such beautiful words!! Nothing left to say…..
    Bernadine, also mother of 4 princesses, and grandmother to 5 princesses

  7. Peter – my poor little disempowered princess is recognised as a mature leader in a number of areas and is often invited to attend extracurricular events for young leaders, is on the school council, is the one asked to sing at every school event, often mistaken for an older girl (not due to looks but maturity) is a key worship leader in church and took on the interim role of worship team leader recently.
    Disempowered ???
    I THINK NOT !!!

    Like you – I will continue to refer to my daughter (Naomi – age 17 next month) as my princess and should I be blessed later on with grandaughters – they too shall be treated as princesses.
    And yeah – she is more like a warrior princess than a prissy princess 🙂

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