A Southern Pastor: The Horrible Things We Teach Little Girls

Three Beautiful Princesses
Three Beautiful Princesses

Today, the local high school held a fundraiser. They called it Princess Day. The high school students, who are attempting to raise money to travel to Disney World next spring, sold tickets to little girls who then showed up this morning at the school to be pampered, primped, and fed pink cupcakes. It was an absolute blast for all, and the proceeds went toward funding a trip which will allow our small town high school choir to perform at Disney.

And then….. the inevitable happened. I overheard someone complaining because this fundraiser promoted unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a girl. Little girls had their hair curled and makeup applied which taught them that those things matter, and that being physically beautiful was a girl’s ultimate goal.

And maybe to some extent, that is true. But then I looked around and realized that the problem wasn’t that makeup was put on little girls. The problem was focusing on that single part of this wonderful day.

A few dozen teenage girls got up early this Saturday morning. They dressed in prom gowns and did their own hair, and then they went into the school to set up a cafeteria to look like a castle of pink. They smiled, giggled, sang, danced, and played with even littler girls who stared at them with dreamy eyes and thought about how they wanted to be just like that when they were teenagers. These teenage girls crawled around on their knees, told funny stories, and shared hugs and kisses with tiny little versions of themselves, sharing more love and compassion than any high school cafeteria normally sees. They posed for pictures and ate pink cupcakes until the little princesses had their fill.

Maybe even more significant, standing around the corners of the cafeteria were countless moms, big sisters, aunts, and grandmas who came to deliver the little princesses, or some who were there to work for the teenage fundraisers. Generations of women who gave up a Saturday morning of rest to stand in a school cafeteria and smile as little girls waved at them with joy and pink icing on their faces. Today, this high school cafeteria was filled with girl power, not based on makeup and hair, but on laughter and commitment.

So what do I think those little girls were taught today? That spending time in fellowship is more important than sleeping in. That working to earn a trip by your own efforts is more important than just asking mom and dad to pay for it. That being a part of a group like high school choir which values hard work, practice, commitment, and dedication is a goal to strive for, and be proud of. And that girls are a powerful force when brought together in numbers. They can be fairy godmothers, princesses, moms, grandmas, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and leaders. And that a little laughter over pink cupcakes on a Saturday morning with a few dozen other princesses sure beats all the negativity and hatred being blasted on the TV and in the world today.

May your day be filled with the positive psychology of valuing the good in every situation instead of feeding on the bad. And may every little girl be surrounded by women of empowerment, and may they recognize the ones already standing next to them.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.

Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.