Of princesses and wonder women

By Louise R. Shaw

It was some months before her fifth birthday when my granddaughter went from princesses to Wonder Woman.

                  Prior the transition it was all about the Disney heroines: what they wore, what they sang, who ended up falling in love with them.

But at four-some years old, Wonder Woman came into the picture, accompanied by: who she saved.

I’m OK with that.

                  I’m OK with admiring – and then likely attempting to emulate – the strong, successful type over the victim with the beautiful eyes and hair.

Not that Disney princesses haven’t become ever more strong and successful.

The differences between Snow White and Moana are mind-blowing – and welcome.

                  That our daughters are now watching a young woman save her world rather than do the dishes for working men and then waiting to be kissed, is a vast, vast improvement.

So while my grandsons are wearing Star Wars and Ninja Turtle pajamas, this granddaughter has a nightgown adorned with the emblems and faces of Wonder Woman, Bat Girl and Super Girl.

“I picked it out at Target,” she said. “No boys. Just girls.”

I’m OK with that.

When you’re five it’s OK to want heroes that you might somehow think you have the potential to become some day in some way.

                  It’s OK to admire those of your own ilk and what they have accomplished by being strong – and this is the best part – by being caring.

I’m still not past the way Moana had to disobey her father to become a hero. I mean really. What are you people thinking, Disney?! And ?!!?!

But I like the way she powered through her challenges, learning new skills when necessary and reaching her goal despite – not due to – the guy.

My granddaughter has not seen the new Wonder Woman movie. Remember — five. Her interest in the heroine is based on books.

And not only am I OK with that, I love that.

And when we told her about some real-life women who are heroines, she couldn’t get enough.

In conjunction with Utah’s holiday last week, we told her stories about women heroes that were pioneers, some of whom she is related to.

My husband’s stories included ancestors who needed courage and fortitude, not to mention faith and compassion as they crossed the plains. Eliza Hurren gave birth before the journey began, but her daughter died when just two-weeks old. That didn’t stop her from heading out with the Willie Handcart Company, carrying her two-year-old Sarah the whole way. Another daughter, eight-year-old Mary Hurren, got frostbite when the family was caught in the snow but despite the pain that resulted, never complained through a long life.

I told her of Mary Fielding Smith, who got to the valley before the company commander who had told her she would be a burden, and whose faith got a fallen ox moving again.

There are other women even more recently who deserve their own movies.

But if we want our daughters to grow up to be super women themselves, we have to be sure we put the right ones in front of them.

Are they women who just wear the right shoes at the ball? Just sing the right songs? Or don’t even sing — just smile the right smile (don’t get me started on Little Mermaid)?

Or are they women who power through their challenges? Women who help others power through too?

I’m OK with the ones who set out to save the world.













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