Reframing the Princess Myth.
The concept of reframing is allowing for a new way to view a situation, experience or thing. To reframe is essentially to shift focus and paradigms and allow for figure/ground perspectives to emerge. Reframing allows for an unlinking of unuseful information from useful information.
Nursery rhymes, and children’s stories are often myths that have a message in them meant to socialize children into the norms of society. Current-day Moms were themselves raised with Princesses. And if you were to take a poll there might be discriminating beliefs about whether the Princess myth is helpful or not for their daughters.
I loved The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music and Pygmalion so I clearly had my own taste of indoctrination as a child.
I remember my pre-mommy planning was to not give my daughter Barbies or Princesses because it wasn’t the message I wanted her to have – that she needed to catch a man to be safe or successful.
That plan didn’t last long as she grew up, due to the hard marketing tactics of Disney toward our sweeties.
I felt disempowered to determine what came into our home – between friends, family and TV – Barbies and Princesses were ever present. I determined to create a plan to negotiate the princess myth so that it could enhance her life rather than be made into a survivor scenario, or a negative habit reaction pattern.
Remember what survivor scenarios are? A style of being in the world that has at its core an injury that develops into a habit reaction pattern.
Survivor scenarios interfere with thriving and mindfulness.
To raise my daughter with a sense of internal empowerment, I had to be prepared to deal with the Princess Myth.
I had to extricate the positive elements of the myth from the scenario action.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the Princess Myth, Cinderella, to further elucidate this: Cinderella’s Mother is wonderful but dies early in Cinderella’s life. Cinderella’s Father is wonderful but is unavailable. He remarries a woman who he thought would help him raise Cinderella, but he is not present to check on what actually happens. The new, step- mother has two daughters that she loves more, and they bully Cinderella which the step-mother allows and models.
The new, step-mother in this story is in a persecutor scenario in the survivor scenarios.
She is acting under the paradigm that there are limited resources and in order to help her own daughters survive she must sacrifice Cinderella. That’s the victim scenario that Cinderella has to survive.
Here’s the Princess part: Cinderella sticks to the values, somehow instilled in her in the few years she was with her mother and father in her early life – believing in responsible action, trying hard to do the right thing, remembering the goodness of her mother – through these actions she develops into a compassionate, beautiful, balanced, mindful person.
The prince in the story, sees through the phoniness to the ugliness of the non-caring, materialistic nature of the sisters and step-mother. And he sees through to the inner beauty of Cinderella and falls in love with her – he searches for her, finds her and saves her from her difficult circumstance and she is rewarded by being made into a princess.
It’s a survivor scenario due to the paradigm of the step-mother and the inference that it is through the right behavior of the other/prince that she is saved.
Within it there is beautiful, solid, important information about how to be in the world as a balanced, mindful, thriving, individual but it’s wrapped up in a survivor scenario and becomes a caricature of compassion as the princess myth.
You can extricate the positive elements of the myth from the survivor scenario action by focusing on teaching your children, and modeling for them, the following behaviors and attitudes:
- The importance of staying in your center, knowing yourself, and not letting others define who you are; as well as holding close to you, positive memories and experiences, to remind you of what is right. And promoting the attitude of not retaliating from a habit reaction pattern, instead mindfully acting and responding to your environment and circumstances.
Through these actions you are consciously creating for your child a positive sense of herself, self-confidence, and resilience.
Recently, I viewed a movie – by Disney – that was more in keeping with this picture of mindful, responsible princess behavior, called the Princess Protection Program.
I have to admit I was impressed. In it the princess character talked about the importance of evaluating the beauty of someone as represented by their character, actions and right behavior.
Evaluating what’s on the inside, to see if it correlates to one’s outer appearance to determine whether or not to choose them as a partner. He looks like a Prince but I wonder if he is as beautiful on the inside – referencing his character.
It had a lot of references to the importance of one’s character to being a real princess.
Consider ways you can communicate a reframe of the princess myth for your daughter, or for yourself, to help you unlink the helpful guiding aspects of the story from the survivor scenario. Then you can build on the guiding aspects.
It will encourage a lot of mindful interaction and may end up being a lot of fun.
See you tomorrow.
May 1, 2010 at 12:15 am
Great blog Beth! Can you also comment on the characters that the boys have to live up to? i. e. Aladin… wow, that’s the only main character hero that I can think of! All the rest I can think of are all mean I.e. Gaston or the prince that rescues – how to reframe for little boys?
May 1, 2010 at 2:20 am
You continue to impress me. My granddaughter loves princesses, she is almost 3 years old. I’m going to send her Mommy this blog, and do my best to follow what you have done. I never thought of Cinderella that way.