Newsflash: Princesses can climb trees

As the mother of a strongwilled delightful four year old girl, I try to fight the pink stereotypes that threaten to engulf her every waking moment. I try to help her see that 1) ‘pretty’ isn’t the top objective in life, 2) clothes should first and foremost be cosy and comfortable and 3) that girls can take on the world. I’ve succeeded with 3), she takes no prisoners and has a natural authority. Take on the world? No problem, but expect collateral damage.

However, I’ve so far lost the battle on appearance. Like every other little girl she meets, she adores the Disney princess way of dressing. Four outfit changes a day? Well of course, darling, that is standard. She thinks girls should wear dresses all the time. Leggings are permissible if a skirt is worn over, but jeans and sensible trousers are just ‘too scruffy’.

I’m letting her have this phase. Often, disagreeing with her just cements her view and in the end, it is her body to dress as she will. My small stamp of authority is this: the pink/frilly/yucky/frothy numbers are all secondhand or hand me ons. That way, if they get ruined when this princess climbs trees, makes dens, fights with sticks and rolls down grassy hills, then we are all smiling. It’s what we do, not what we wear, that counts.