I recently overheard some dad’s talking, and one of them told the others how he told his daughter to “Man up, Princess”.
I am still not sure how I feel about this phrase taken as it is, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
To put it into context his 13 year old daughter was having a tough time adjusting to weekly boarding school, despite it being her choice to go. After a few weeks of her crying that she was missing home he eventually gave her the choice and said she could come home.
Her reply was, “No, it’s okay. I want to stay.”
So his reply to her was, “Well then you had better man up, Princess.”
I totally agree with him in his approach. He gave her the choice initially to go away to boarding school or stay local; she chose to go. Then he gave her another choice to come home or stay; again she chose to stay away. So basically she needs to toughen up and embrace the reality of her choices. It can’t be that bad if she’s choosing to stay.
It’s just the phrase that I’m struggling with.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for tough love.
The other day my youngest daughter came running over crying because she’d stubbed her toe or something, and my eldest turned to her and said “Yes, but did you die?”, a statement she could only have gotten from me! haha
I also like the fact that he’s calling her ‘princess’, a term many fathers use when talking to or about their daughters, my own husband included. It implies love and protection and is definitely used as a term of endearment whilst also acknowledging that they might be a tiny bit spoilt.
The ‘man up’ part is the part I’m struggling with I think. Whilst I get that he is trying to tell her to toughen up a bit, couldn’t he have just said “Toughen up, Princess” instead.
To imply that only men are tough or strong, whilst by contrast women aren’t, is slightly irritating.
What would the reverse be? “Soften up, prince?” – that really doesn’t work does it. You would never hear something like that.
I’m not really sure I even have a point to make.
These men were all having a heartfelt conversation where they were sharing their love for their children, and having an open debate about what they considered to be best for them. They were all strong, macho type of men, and they were all loving, caring fathers.
I’m sure he didn’t mean anything bad by it either. He didn’t even realise that what he was saying would be taken in any other way other than what he was trying to convey.
I’m almost trying to convince myself that it’s okay though.
Part of me doesn’t want to. Part of me is hoping my husband will read this and know me well enough to understand why I wouldn’t want him to say that to our daughters.
I think it’s because it’s disrespectful to women that I’m struggling with it; the implication being that a woman isn’t as strong, or as brave, or as tough as a man.
That said, I’m hardly a bra burning ball busting advocate for feminism, that’s just not me, although thank you to those who are.
I’m confident enough though, that in our family of women, all the sisters and daughters, that my girls will be strong, brave and tough; and should they need a little bit of tough love, they will instead be told to “toughen up, princess”.
With that said, let me go and clean up my daugther’s Elsa costume so she can wear it to school next week. I guess Elsa isn’t the worst Disney Princess to aspire to be now is she, a young royal thrust into the role of protector of her people far too young, but who eventually wins the battle over her own demons to rise to the occasion and defeat evil.
My personal bravest Princess is Merida from Brave. A fiery strong willed Scottish lass.