Sunday, September 2, 2012

Warrior or Princess; Childhood Dreams and Reality

This last Friday I had a discussion with my new internship mentor Mimi (who is the President of Christians for Biblical Equality) that has led me to reflect on how the warrior vs. princess motif impacted me as I grew up, and especially how I handled the abuse I suffered.  The discussion itself was about how patriarchy heavily influences the abuse of women (something I still need to look into, but what she shared was startling) and how viewing oneself as the passive princess growing up effects how one deals with hardship. While my experience of abuse did not come from men, I’ve come to realize how much more damaging it could have been had I understood myself primarily in passive and submissive ways.

As a child I naturally tended towards TV shows with a lot of action and fighting in it. Some of my favorites as a little girl were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (alongside of Care Bears) and in elementary school it was Power Rangers and Sailor Moon until the repetitive nature drove me away. I loved to play with my Barbies—only, I would play war strategy games with them. My best friends Sarah and Melissa and I would call ourselves the “Wild Cats” and play spy games or pretend we were super heroes taking on the forces of evil (which was usually Sarah’s older brother who wanted to be left alone). Based off of my interests and no one ever telling me this was not what girls did (besides one dismayed elderly babysitter), I naturally identified more with the warrior motif than the princess one. I did not view myself as masculine though. Many of the characters or visions of myself I would invent had the qualities of the Ninja Turtles and the Red and Blue Ranger (even the color Blue), but the soft features and look of April or the Pink Ranger. Often the picture I would imagine of myself as I went to sleep was best characterized as a beautiful warrior who could rely on and was loyal to her friends.
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