Friday, March 23, 2007

Princess Action Hero!!!

Nico: Mommy, you're the princess.
me: Okay, here's my sword.
Nico: No, Mommy, princesses don't have swords!
me: Princesses don't have swords? Really?
Nico: No, a princess has a club called an "ack" and she whacks the dragon over the head with it, like this: *Whack!* That's how a princess slays a dragon!

So my kids are into knights these days. And they've gotten the idea that one of the things a knight does is slay a dragon and another is to rescue a princess. However, since they basically learned this from watching Shrek, it's not clear that they see "rescued princess" as an entirely passive role...

Helping me with my work reinforces this impression, especially when they help me test my "Dungeon" game:

...where the player is a princess who escapes from a dungeon by unlocking doors with a set of differently-colored keys. ;-)

As far as their knights are concerned, they do a lot of ordinary knight stuff. They love to slay dragons (though they don't generally kill the dragon, as that would be a problem for slaying it again later...) They also love to fight each other with swords and they love to rescue the princess, and when they rescue her, they give her a kiss, just as Princess Fiona says they should!

But we're a fairly affectionate family and if one of our boys hurts the other we have the one say sorry to the other with a kiss on the cheek. So I've seen Nico have the two knights kiss each other and say "I love you, Gordon the Brave Knight," "I love you, Henry the Brave Knight." lol

I know all conservative parents reading this will be horrified and see this as the evil feminist mom shortchanging boys by turning them gay. But really, I encourage their play with "boys' stuff" like trains, and I don't discourage them from play fighting each other with toy swords and bows and arrows (maybe I should...? They do that far more frequently than express affection...).

And even if I thought it was a bad thing that they might be gay (I don't), I think in this case it's more a question of being comfortable expressing affection and not really making a distinction between romantic and other types of love...


Anonymous said...

As a shameless plug, one of my all time favorite books is _The Hero and the Crown_ by Robin McKinley. It's a juvenile fiction book written for kids around ages 10-14 - which is when I first read it.

The main character, a princess, is named Aerin (hmm, note the striking resemblance between my pseudonym and the main character's name?? :)). She kills dragons and generally just kicks a**.

So it's a little old for your two - and it's not a movie (which I think I appreciate, as sometimes having your favorite books made into movies is disappointing). My point is that princesses can definitely kill dragons and lots of other things.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with kisses on cheeks. It is very difficult to teach the lesson of "we don't hit". At least, difficult to teach 2 year olds. Hopefully we'll be farther along when they're 5.

Jonathan Blake said...

I don't know if this applies to your family, but I find it fascinating that boys who are brought up in a generally nonviolent home will make up violent games of their own accord. Parents who forbid guns and swords and so on often end up with boys who shoot each other with improvised finger guns. It would be interesting to see if this informal impression of mine can be backed up by a formal study, or if it's just unjustified gender stereotyping.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Aerin!!!

Thanks for the tip -- we'll be sure to get a copy of that for our kids when they get older.

Hey Jonathan!!!

You may be right. In our case, it's clear they're getting some ideas from school and from movies. However, some fighting seems to come naturally to them.

We haven't been forbidding them from any kind of toy weapons (though we're a little hesitant about toy guns) basically because -- as you say -- they're going to do it anyway and hopefully will grow out of it on their own. And you're right about improvising toy weapons. One reason I bought them some toy swords (made of rounded, malleable plastic) was because they were fighting with improvised toy swords (dry, brittle, sharp sticks they found in the yard) which they could potentially injure themselves with...

Jewish Atheist said...


I was one of those boys! My mother wouldn't allow me toy guns until she saw me bite off the corner of a piece of cheese to shape it into a gun, wield it as a gun, and say, "bang!"


What's the point of being a princess if you don't get a sword??

Anonymous said...

Um, I have seen straight Italians pull each other's testicles as a greeting so just tell them it's a cultural thing.

Texas said...

You are an evil feminist mom!!!! Keep up the good work! :)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey J.A.!!!

Exactly!!! :D

Hey Sinister Porpoise!!!

LOL, I haven't seen that, but I agree that this may be cultural. Here children (boys and girls) are encouraged to greet people by kissing, and to kiss people more often in general than Americans would.

Thanks Johnny!!!