Shut It, Cinderella!: The High Price of the Princess Mentality

princess, tiara, debt, disney princess“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.” 

Cinderella sang those words and they have been heard by young girls for decades.

Guess what Cinderella?

It’s all bullshit!

Yep, it is. While it may have worked out the way she wanted it, it is not going to happen to the 99.999% of us in the world. We can’t all be Kate Middleton.

As a young girl, I dreamed many dreams. I wished for rainbows and sparkly things. I wished to wake up one day and be a princess. Not the poor girl across the street from the tracks who only went to school because of a scholarship from the church.

While there’s nothing wrong with people who live on the “wrong” side of the tracks. And there is nothing wrong with going to a private school on scholarship. As a young girl, I thought I deserved better.

I can remember listening to the Disney Read Along’s on vinyl as a young girl. I was always entranced in the world as it came alive with the pictures and the audio. It was one of my favorite past-times. I have started to collect them again but it’s been awhile since I purchased one (obviously due to major money issues).

I bought in to the whole princess fantasy and I bought into it BIG TIME!

What did the Princess Mentality get me?

It gave me an unrealistic look into life, love and most of all finances.

We’ll just skip right over the life and love parts. My only comment is that I’ve pretty much made a mess of all that. But I’m working on it.

My finances are, of course a mess! I was on the poor side growing up, I didn’t have the brand new Reebok’s (shut up, it was the 1980s, they were cool then) like everyone else. I never had the “in” type clothes. I rarely went on vacation with my family. And I felt sorry for myself. I felt like Cinderella during the first part of her story, minus the whole slave labor and talking to animals wackiness.

I felt like I just needed to wish harder, wait a bit longer and my life would get better. I hoped for a “prince.” (Things went a bit differently for me, but that’s a whole other post.). I wanted that dream-like lifestyle. And I was going to get it to the best of my ability.

Credit cards were my solution.

I never even thought about it, I just started spending money charging on my credit cards. It wasn’t until I was thinking of a name for this blog when it occurred to me that the princess mentality was a huge part of my problem.

I hoped and dreamed for the day when I would become a princess and all my worries would be wiped away. I did become a princess but I’m not the Princess of Monaco or Princess of Whales. No, I became The Princess of Debt. Lucky me!

While I do believe that there is a place for fairy tales as a child, I think it is important to make sure our daughters (and sons too) are not getting swept away into the princess mentality. This is where financial education comes into place, making sure our children understand the need for saving money and the difference between a want and a need.

It is also important to teach our children not to wait “for our prince to come.” Rather, take life by the “you know whats” and make your dreams happen on your own. For me, it’s happening late in life but like most things, it’s better late than never.

 

Now: Go check out my post over at Budget’s Are Sexy! J$ is featuring my Side Hustle story!

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19 comments for “Shut It, Cinderella!: The High Price of the Princess Mentality

  1. December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Good point! Girls and boys should be taught that fairy tales are just that: fairy tales. Glad to hear you’re turning your debt around!

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    • December 9, 2011 at 10:42 am

      I completely agree. We need to give them the tools to make it happen for themselves.

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  2. Emily Guy Birken
    Twitter: SAHMnambulist
    December 9, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I have always hated the fact that princesses in the stories need to be rescued from their situations–either by a fairy godmother or a prince or even by an animated chandelier, if we’re talking Disney. We’d all do better, both emotionally and financially, if we learned how to solve our own problems. And it would help us understand that fulfillment comes from living life well, and not from romantic love (although that can be great) or lots of money and things (ditto).

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    • December 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I totally agree with you Emily! Of course I also needed to know how not to get into those problems. Cinderella was only part of the problem. (I’ve got loads of issues. lol)

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  3. J$
    December 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Hey! Now ur sending me eye balls :) Thx! And happy weekend!

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  4. Corrin
    Twitter: CorrinRenee
    December 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I’m guilty of this as well (my next post mentions how I feel like I deserve to “treat” myself and the guilt associated with it) and I tend to avoid the princess mentality with all of my nieces/cousins for this very reason.

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    • December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am

      I often said “I deserve this, I’ve worked hard.” But really if everything is shit and I don’t have a savings account or all my bills paid in full, I don’t deserve anything.

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  5. nat
    December 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I find it ironic that the ad on the side of your page is for Crayola featuring Cinderella and a little girl dressed as a princess and the Zulili ad on the bottom features Tutu’s…

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  6. LB
    January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I agree fairy tales have no place in finances when it comes to debt and spending, but they do have a place in future financial planning. I agree 99.9% of the world have no chance at becoming a princes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for little fairy tales and have the life of your dreams. If it wasn’t for dreamers we wouldn’t have companies like Apple, and Pixar.

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  7. Nicole
    January 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’m a big Disney fan, but also a woman with a masters degree, my own money, and a great job. If you look at some of Disney’s princesses, you will see that they have very good qualities. Belle from Beauty and the Beast loved to read. She did not want to marry the ‘town hunk’. She wanted adventures of her own. She sacrificed her freedom for that of her father in an act of courage. She fell in love with a Beast, instead of judging him by his looks.
    Tiana from Princess and the Frog was an entrepreneur. She saved and saved and saved until she finally had enough money to open up her restaurant.
    Ariel from The Little Mermaid was independent and feisty. She refused to be limited to a life in the water just because she was a mermaid. She was adventurous and brave as she moved toward her goal of living on land.
    All of the Disney princess movies have a good lesson for young girls.
    I agree that the idea of a knight in shining armor coming to save a young girl is a dangerous concept to put in her head. We should be encouraging our daughters to do well in school, read, go to college, save, work hard. But, that doesnt mean that love and romance can’t also come into their life. It should just be as a bonus, though….not as being rescued!

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  8. January 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I love Disney (Belle is my favorite Disney character), so I was really happy to see this comment. I understand the dangers of the “princess mentality,” definitely, and the happily ever after depicted in Disney movies (or, any romance movie) isn’t necessarily realistic, but I don’t think they are meant as life guides or anything of that ilk.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..How Many Credit Cards Do You Have?

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    • January 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

      I totally agree. But as a little girl who needed something to hang on to, for me it was Cinderella. There is definitely a Princess mentality out there but I don’t think every girl who watches princess movies is going to get it.

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