Five-year-old Keira Thompson had had enough.
While on vacation in (where else?) Disney World with her mother, Beckie, little Keira was bombarded with friendly staff on the resort who referred to her as a "princess."
Until finally, young Keira couldn't take it anymore. She turned to her mother, exasperated, and announced, "Mom, this is so annoying. I don't want to be a princess. I want to be a pilot."
Hearing her daughter's statement, Thompson was flabbergasted. She realized that for Keira, who was so young and on the autism spectrum, to get frustrated enough to say something to her mom over the fact that so many people were trying to paint her into a princess role that she most definitely did not want, was pretty telling that something was very, very wrong with how we treat our girls.
There were many great princesses. But I feel like nowadays it has been coined as the term for a damsel in distress or, for instance, a weak girl who can only ever be one thing.
She realized that it was time to rewrite the script about all girls dreaming of becoming princesses. And thus her inspirational website, I Don't Want to Be a Princess, was born.
“By no means am I criticizing girls who want to be princesses,” Thompson told The Huffington Post. “Rather, as the mom of a girl who didn’t want to be a princess, I found few to no alternatives existed. I want to give all girls the confidence to be who they want to be.”
Thompson's new venture created an alternative for girls like Keira, who had zero interest in a pretty gown, uncomfortable glass high heels, a lifetime of cleaning house for dwarves or waiting around for a man to rescue them. In addition to featuring inspiring stories of modern-day young girls and women as well as historical female figures, the site also sells shirts for women and girls emblazoned with inspiring messages that counteract the cutesy princess culture.
So instead of bombarding our girls with the message that they "look cute" or are "so pretty," imagine complimenting them on their creativity or strength.
It shouldn't be such a novel idea, but yet, it really, really is. I can't think of a single empowering shirt my own three daughters own and even my 2-year-old is already sucked into the princess culture, insisting on donning sparkly tutus, heels and a purse.
The site features three sections to both educate and inspire young women: 1. Women Who Changed the World, featuring women of our past who broke the mold in a man's world, such as Rosa Parks and Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States, 2. Modern Day Trailblazers, detailing the stories of modern women with fascinating careers and inspirational stories, such as Army soldiers, sportscasters, musicians and even an Ironman competitor (Ironwoman?) and finally 3. Amazing Girls, a series of young women who are making a difference in a world beyond looking nice in a pretty dress.
For example, one of the Amazing Girls is young Gianna Ferreri, the only female football player on her team.
Ferreri is a multi-sport athlete, as she also runs competitively.
"I am really good at running," she explained. "I just finished third out of 221 runners at Cross Country Nationals in Lexington, Ky. It was so fun to get a trophy and a medal!"
Or there's Hope Minor, who doesn't necessarily have a problem with princesses per se, but she still thinks she deserves more props than looking good in a tiara.
"It’s not that I feel badly about the term 'princess,'" Minor noted. "I mean, there were many great princesses. But I feel like nowadays it has been coined as the term for a damsel in distress or, for instance, a weak girl who can only ever be one thing."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Photographs by: I Don't Want to Be a Princess