I don’t need a prince to be a princess

How a young girl learned she didn’t need a partner in order to be someone.

SJ Welch, Columnist

I remember it vividly: walking house to house on Halloween as a little girl. Caught up in the magic, every year I would dress up as a different princess. I loved the way my pink dress swayed around my strong legs as I twirled down the sidewalks between houses. 

I walked up to a house in hopes they were handing out my favorite candy –  which is straight chocolate if anybody is wondering. The lady at the door exclaimed, “You’re such a cute princess. But don’t you need a prince?” 

I answered sharply, “I don’t need a prince to be a princess.”

There I was, being told at the age of nine that I needed someone in order to be something.

However, this didn’t sit well with me. My mom was the proud breadwinner for my family and my dad was the kindest caretaker to walk this planet. I was never conditioned to believe that a relationship stance or gender orientation was determinant of my happiness or success.

Fast-forward to me spending my eighteenth year of life studying in Austria. Around Halloween, I was pulled into the dean’s office. He wanted to discuss a paper I had just written on a female character in the Bible. I described her as an independent and powerful leader, but after a long conversation, he looked me in the eyes and said, “A woman’s greatest purpose is to be a wife, not to lead. Being married will be your greatest purpose.”

I’d be straight-up lying if I said my instant response was anything but pure anger. Now an educated young woman, I have learned that I could take up more space in this world. I don’t have to accept how the world has been behaviorally conditioned by the patriarchy since the beginning of time.

It may fulfill many women, and I support them fully, but I wanted the freedom to choose what makes me happy. For me, I want to use my brain to solve as many injustices as I can before I die. I want to choose what makes me fulfilled.

So to the little girl dressed as a princess on the sidewalk, I say, “Wow. You are a powerful princess. Yes, sweet girl, you can fight your own battles.”

And to all the girls sitting in rooms all around the world being told you aren’t enough, I say, “Your mind is powerful. Your dreams are big. Your heart is kind. You can change the world however you choose.”

We need to understand that a generation of women have been and are finally being raised under the premise that they are full, complete human beings that can reach for the tallest ceilings. They are hitting the streets, unafraid of the power they bring. More and more, we are tearing down the need to be what society has always told us and instead, we are choosing to become who we want to be. We may be timid at times but we will no longer allow ourselves to be pawns of the patriarchy when we are meant, and want, to be more. 

They aren’t just princesses now, they are queens and they are ready to fight whatever battle that may come. The world might need to ready itself for women to become the new ruling class.