Hats off to Mercy Academy for letting their young girls know that fairy tales aren’t real. The all-girls Catholic high school has partnered with an ad agency to counteract the fairy tale princess image with messages of empowerment. Last year on Sesame Street, Justice Sotomayor gave a similar lecture to Abby Cadabby. She told Abby that being a princess is not a career. Instead, the first Latina Surpreme Court Justice and former Bronx resident told the Sesame Street’s resident fairy that she can be anything she wanted to be. Mercy Academy’s powerful ads send the same message:
I’ve never been a fan of girls pretending to be princesses because it is during role playing that kids learn who they are in relation to the world. For instance, kids play act being mom, dad or their pediatrician so they can learn and interpret these roles and how it pertains to them. A girl playing princess is being implicitly taught that she is at a man’s whim because a princess is all about dressing up and waiting instead of going to seek out adventures and controlling her own destiny.
Some black moms may be conflicted about this message because we wrestle with preparing our girls for a harsh world and with wanting to bolster their self-esteem. I think we can bolster their self-esteem with the messages in the ads and by echoing Justice Sotomayor’s advice. Let’s hope next year the young ladies at Mercy Academy will choose to be a doctor, soldier, or Supreme Court Justice for Halloween.
- ‘You Are Not A Princess’ Ads From Mercy Academy Tell Girls They Can Be So Much More (huffingtonpost.com)
- Girls’ school tells students: ‘You’re not a princess’ (today.com)
- Dispatch From the Front Line of the “You Are Not a Princess” Wars (phillymag.com)
- Intriguing Ads Tell Young Girls: ‘You’re Not a Princess’ and ‘Life’s Not a Fairytale’ (adweek.com)