My 10 Most Popular Posts from 2018

I thought I’d give you a countdown of my most popular posts form this year. What an up and down blogging year. I’ve written a total of 84 posts! I went and won myself a blogging award! But in the second half of the year, I haven’t been able to produce as many posts as normal as because….well you know…that thing called life.

So here they are, and I must say, I am very surprised at my no.1.

***Click on the titles to read each post***

10. Budget Beauty Products

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Probably one of my more useful posts, even though it was an unusual one from me.

9. Top 10 American Sitcoms

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LOVED doing this post. Still love all my choices and no Seinfield still doesn’t make my top 10. You’re just going to have to find a way to live with it. Soz.

8. The School Run Game

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Oh, I am very glad, this is in here. It is still very much my life and very possibly yours too.

7. Don’t Make Me Go Out

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Ah yes, this is the post where I’m a bit miserable and even more so at this time of year, I stand by everything I say in this post.

6. Ironing: why bother?

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This was my attempt at starting a revolution. I still say it: “Throw out the irons, people”

5. The Insignificance of Romance

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The one where I gave two fingers to hearts and flowers

4. Celebrities That Should Just Get Back Together

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None of them have got back together since I wrote this. None of them listened to me. Idiots.

 

AND THE TOP THREE POSTS WERE…..

3. How To Break Up With Your Phone- Week I

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How’s your phone addiction going? Mine is still a work in progress, but I’m a lot better than I was. Probably should have a re-read of this book though…

2. In Celebration of Food

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Of course a pornographic article was going to be popular with you very clever and astute readers. You are my people. Now make me dinner.

And my post popular post in 2018 was…..

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1. Every Live Act I Have Ever Seen

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Whaaaaaaa? The post I quickly cobbled together in about 10 minutes and posted as a laugh along with my mate sexy Phil Taylor?! I literally didn’t think anyone would care, but there you go, folks. It’s been updated recently too!

The one that didn’t quite make my top ten: Just a few clicks away from being in my top ten was The Representation of Brits in American Culture

My least popular post this year (for balance): Oh go give it some love- bless it- Just Another Book Club- June book

My post popular post of all time: It’s still- Why Women’s Procreation Choices Are None of Your Business

And here’s a list of my TOP TEN POSTS FROM 2017

Thank you so much for reading and Happy New Year!

The School Run Game

Guess what gang? I’ve invented a new board game. It’s called (just in case you didn’t discern this from the title of this post) The School Run Game. Yes, it’s a board game based on getting your little darlings to school on time. The game will come with little mum or dad shaped counters that will smack of existential angst. There’ll also be a dice that you throw to see what fate you and the light of your life will meet during the school run. Now  until the game gets the final approval from Hasbro*, I’m sharing below all the fun you can come across during the The School Run Game. With a handy dice, a pen and paper and some dried up raisins for counters you could probably play the game at home right now. Enjoy!

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  • You bark at child until they have their coat on (never done up), shoes on (probably on wrong feet) and hopefully with their school bag. Excellent start (go forward one place)
  • You leave the house at 8:40am and it’s perfectly dry. Torrential downpour commences at 8:41am & continues until 9:10am when it suddenly becomes perfectly dry and sunny again. (Swear under breath)
  • See a parent ahead that you can’t be bothered to have a conversation with. You walk really slowly so that you don’t catch up with them (go back one place)
  • Look behind you and see lots of parents you know well enough to have a conversation with, but notice that they’re all walking really slowly and probably won’t catch up with you (Cry inside)
  • It’s winter, you’re in the UK, it’s icy, you slip and land on your arse. You sit and cry and seriously consider commando crawling all the way to school (miss a turn)
  • Your child slips on ice and lands on their arse. You yank them back up, tell them they’re fine and march on regardless. You ain’t going to be late for school again and a little slip on the ice isn’t going to delay you (go forward one space)
  • A little shit A small child whizzes past you on their scooter, whacking your hand as they do so (which fucking kills) and then they suddenly stop in front of you, causing you to suddenly stop in your tracks and you put your left knee out (go back two places)**
  • You arrive at the school gates and conveniently there’s an impromptu game of football taking place RIGHT BY THE GATES. The football naturally whacks you on your head, knocks your glasses off and you yell at no one in particular (go back one place)
  • Inside the school gates, you see a member of the PTA looking hopefully in your direction. You pull a speedy, dodging move that the best rugby players in the word would be in admiration of (go forward two places)
  • You see your favourite school mum and literally skip towards them for a gossip pleasant chat (go forward three places)
  • Your child falls and lands in a muddy puddle. The twat. (miss a turn)
  • Your child has an argument with another child and no one can understand what it’s about. And nobody ever does…(go back one place)
  • You get caught up in a horde of active wear mums about to go on a group run (go back two places)
  • Whilst waiting for the school to open, you get stuck with the playground bore describing in minute detail their plans for the day (Cry inside again)
  • You forgot your child’s pack lunch, you absolute bellend (go back to the start)
  • Your child for absolutely no explicable reason decides that they don’t want to go to school today and they start crying. Between you and the teacher pushing them into the classroom, you managed it. You’re heartbroken, beaten up, traumatised, but you got your child to school on time whilst keeping them alive. Congratulations. You win.

*Hasbro are actually yet to learn of my brilliant idea

**Feel free to read my further thoughts on fucking scooters here

Celebrities In London

Actual photo of me on the school run

My 10 Most Popular Posts This Year

Right, let’s go straight into my 10 most popular posts out of the 37 that I’ve shoved your way this year. And because I’m not the least bit ashamed, I’ll also let you know my least popular post at the end. Just for balance.

Oh, but first please let me say THANK YOU so much for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and my blog would be nothing without you all. You’re all superstars!

Click on the titles to enjoy each post.

10. A Guide to Hanging Out with Cloth Ears

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This may have been even more popular if I hadn’t published it just as a Facebook post first of all. This post runs through everything you need to know if you either want to know what it’s like to be deaf or want to know what to consider if you’re spending time with someone who is hard of hearing. Ignorance is not bliss.

9. Halloween Playlist!

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This did surprisingly well and still gets regular views today. Err guys, it’s not Halloween anymore.

8. Just Another Book Club- July Book

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My first dabble with my online book club and it went down very well. Lots of people had lots to say about this one.

7. Top 10 TV Character Fashion Idols

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This post provides a run down of all my favourite fashion icons that have ever graced our TV screens. From Denise Huxtable to Sybil Fawlty, it’s an eclectic collection.

6. Just Another Book Club

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An introduction to my idea of holding an online book club and luckily lots of people seemed to be as excited by it as I was. It also gave the list of books to read for the latter part of 2017.

5. F**KING SCOOTERS

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I stand by every word of this and I still fucking hate fucking scooters.

4. Love Your Body

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A lot of people sadly were able to relate to this. I talked about how there has been a steady increase of eating disorders in very young girls and I suggest ways we can all help to combat this.

3. Everyday Sexual Harassment

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Another post that sadly a lot of people could relate to. Whilst it was quite devastating to hear other people’s experiences, it was in some way slightly comforting to know that I am clearly not alone with my experiences of sexual harassment. This post still regularly gets daily views.

2. 10 Most Influential Albums of my Teenage Years

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This post is what you might call, a slow burner. It got moderate views when it was first published, but it receives views most days, which meant it slowly crept up my list of most popular posts.

  1. Dear Stephen

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Whilst this remains the hardest blog post that I’ve ever written, what is wonderful about this post being so popular is that so many of you lovely people read and heard about my wonderful friend. It helped make it the tribute that I wanted it to be. It would also be nice to think that it may have possibly helped someone somewhere.

The one that didn’t quite make my top ten: The Importance of Creativity for Children 3 views away from making the top 10.

My least popular post this year: Music Tag Thingy, but then again I didn’t really do a very good job of promoting it. It got a paltry 56 views- whoop.

My most popular post ever: Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business. Nuff said.

Thanks again and see you next year for more irrelevant and irreverent shit (I really know how to sell myself, don’t I?)

 

Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business

Why is it that when it comes to women and their reproductivity, all sensitivity seems to get thrown out of the window. People want answers and the ability to ‘mind one’s own business’ is completely forgotten or seen as not necessary to apply in this situation.

Hands up, how many of you have been probed at some point in your life about what your reproductive intentions are? How many of the following questions sound all too familiar:

“When will we hear the patter of tiny feet?”

“Don’t you want children?”

“Are you going to have any more children?”

“Why didn’t you have any more children?”

Or who’s heard shockingly brazen statements uttered such as “You better hurry up, you’re not getting any younger you know”.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, quite a few of you. Even though she’s worth millions and is gorgeous, I can’t help, but feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston and the constant interrogation she has had to endure surrounding when/if she is going to get pregnant. She is now 47 years old and she still has to put up with speculation regarding whether she has finally got knocked up or not.

Aniston told People magazine in 2014 “I just find it to be energy that is unnecessary and not really fair for those who may or may not [have children]. Who knows what the reason is, why people aren’t having kids. There’s a lot of reasons that could be, and maybe it’s something that no one wants to discuss”.

Yet so many people don’t seem to get this.

I’m going to talk about my own personal experiences of this now, just to offer a background and an explanation as to why probing women about their procreative intentions might not be a good idea.

My family is a single child family. Once at a toddler group, a stranger who I had just met asked if I “just had the one child?”. When I informed her that I did indeed just have the one child, the response was met with giggles. She then immediately asked if I intended to have any more at some point. Having been asked this question on numerous occasions before where I have felt the need to justify or explain my response, I decided just to simply reply with “Nah”. Again, my response was met with even more mirth and further probing as to whether one child was enough for me and a statement that I clearly couldn’t cope with another child. All of this was said with much amusement regarding my situation of having just the one child. I didn’t correct her nor did I laugh along with her, I just changed the subject.

Except, as you may have guessed the truth wasn’t that one was enough for me and that I couldn’t bear to have another child. It was just easier to let her think this than explain myself. It also would have upset me to try to explain. This woman was a stranger and I was in a public building surrounded by many other strangers and associates and didn’t fancy bawling my eyes out for all to see, but mainly (in the most British way possible), I didn’t want this woman to feel awkward. I was more concerned with upsetting her than my own inner turmoil I had to cope with every time my child’s lack of siblings was discussed.

The truth is, my partner and now husband after many years of discussing, crying, sweeping it under the carpet, discussing some more and crying a lot more, came to the heart breaking decision not to have any more children and to stop at one. It was not an easy decision and it was made with a heavy heart. We wanted more than one child. We wanted our child to have a sibling. We wanted to be parents to children, not a child, but having more would not have been a wise decision for us.

Whilst I was pregnant with my quite frankly wonderful daughter (yes I am slightly biased, but what of it?), I suffered unbearable pelvic girdle pain that left me unable to walk and I had to be signed off from work for the majority of my pregnancy. After I gave birth, I seemed to be relatively pain free for the first two weeks, but then the pain came back. For the first year of my child’s life I was constantly in pain and could rarely leave the house, I was in fear every time I took a step that I wouldn’t be able to withstand the pain that it produced or that my leg would give way all together. Slowly, things got slightly better, but I still suffer a lot of pain and have developed arthritis in my ankles and knees and still have days where I am unable to leave the house. Getting my daughter to school and back is a daily battle and I am terrified at 40 years old, of what my life will be like in years to come and how immobile I might potentially be.

On top of this, pregnancy caused me to lose my hearing (a rare, but not altogether uncommon condition called Otosclerosis). I am very deaf in both ears and rely on hearing aids to get by. If I was to have another child, it is guaranteed that I would lose even more hearing. I don’t have much left as it is.

My mobility problems, the pain I’m constantly in and my hearing loss led us to come to the decision that having a second child would be extremely detrimental to my health and would greatly impair my abilities as a Mother. We made the decision not just for me, but for our existing child. My husband works away a lot and as southerners living up north, our families are over 200 miles away. I have to be able to look after my child as there is no one else that we can rely on to help us out. Even if we did move closer to family, the prospect of both my mobility and hearing further deteriorating is quite frankly depressing.

I don’t feel like the person I once was before my pregnancy. My hearing, leaves me struggling to join in with group conversations and I move slowly and as little as possible. I used to dance, sing, go running and for long walks, but these activities have been greatly hindered by my conditions. In fact, they’ve been made near impossible.  I can’t enjoy the things I once enjoyed.

So, when people laugh (whilst I understand, quite innocently) at the fact I only have one child, when people probe for reasons behind this decision, they have no idea of the heartbreak going on inside me.

This applies to every woman who only has one child or has no children. Nobody knows what is going on behind closed doors, so why possibly rock the boat? Different women will have different reasons. For many they have just not been able to conceive or they have suffered miscarriages. I cannot imagine the heartache this brings and then for someone to insensitively point out to them that they’re not getting any younger and need to hurry up is beyond inconsiderate and tactless. Some women have chosen not to have children/have more children because of their family situation, for health reasons, childcare issues, career situation or for financial reasons. Some women don’t have children because it’s just not for them or they have one child because they are just happy with that and have no desire to have more. This reason is the one people seem to be able to handle the least. However, as with all the previous reasons it is no one’s business, but the woman’s and her partner’s.  There seems to be a desire for society to know what is happening with women’s bodies and whether they’re putting a baby in it or not. It is nothing short of nosey.

I have had some interesting phrases thrown at me. Regularly my family is referred to as “your little family “. Whilst this may seem inoffensive to some, it can come across as belittling and a tad patronising. My family maybe smaller than yours, but is no less of a family.

At the end of yet another awkward conversation I had with someone demanding if I was to have any more children, she actually said the following sentence to me:

“Aaah, well at least you’ve had the experience of being a Mother”

It was as if having one child is just an experience, but having more is the real deal. Trust me, Motherhood feels very real to me when I’m up in the middle of the night soothing my child who is vomiting up blackberries and dying her bed covers and carpet a rather fetching gothic purple colour. It also feels real, when she comes home from school and for the umpteenth time tells me about how someone has upset her at school and I just want to run upstairs and cry for my beautiful child and instead, I have to keep it together and listen and advice and comfort. It also feels real when in a single month I have to pay her ballet fees, pay for a new pair of shoes and buy Birthday presents for the 4th Birthday party she’s been invited to in a month- FFS (this is when I’m very grateful I just have the one child to be fair). I am not merely “experiencing” being a Mother just because I have one child, I am very much living it. Whilst, I understand I won’t be experiencing dealing with squabbling siblings or two children being ill at the same time, I will be dealing with different aspects of Motherhood that you don’t have to deal with. For example, as my child doesn’t have a sibling to play with, I am the only person she has to play with at home. Sometimes being a parent to a single child feels like you have to be part-parent/part-sibling.

It’s comforting to know I’m not alone though. Interestingly, single child families are on the increase. The reasons are plenty as I mentioned above. It does seem to be becoming the norm. The average number of children per family is now 1.7[1] compared to the 2.4 that traditionally was the number of dependent children per household many years ago. Within my daughter’s class at school 7 of the 30 children are from single child families. This is almost a quarter of the children in her class, but that is considerably lower than the national percentage that is 47%. Almost half of families with dependent children in this country are single child families. As I reel off these statistics I think of friends who insist the number of children they have is the best number of children everyone should have. That’s great for them, but it is not for everyone.

When someone feels the need to probe a woman (or man, though I would argue women have to deal with this question more than men do) as to why they have only had one child or indeed if they are planning to have any, they should instead resist. Nobody knows what turmoil people are going through. Nobody knows the upset your innocent question will cause and to be honest, you really don’t need to know the answer. Your life will go on quite happily without knowing the answer. Whereas your question can upset someone for the rest of the day or becomes just another reminder that will stay with them forever of their difficult situation and that they’re not living up to society’s expectations (tsk). Women don’t want sympathy; they just want a bit of sensitivity.

Despite originally wanting more than one child, I am so happy with my family. I will always feel a bit sad and a little guilty that I didn’t provide my daughter with a sibling to bully –I mean- enjoy and that I didn’t provide my husband with any more children. That aside, we are a happy family. The three of us are a jolly team that make each other laugh and bestow each other with “family cuddles”. It is paramount that I am happy with what I have and I refuse to let myself be eaten up with the loss of the second child that I never had. If I was sad that I only had my daughter, that would be extremely unfair to her and would send out the wrong message to her.  The right and truthful message is that I am beyond happy with her and of course I realise that despite everything- I am lucky. I have more than what some people have. In the words of De La Soul circa 1989, three (for us) is indeed the magic number.

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[1] Office of National Statistics “Family Size” publication, published in 2012.

World Book Day Joy

World Book Day is upon us and yet again the streets are filled with tiny Harry Potters, Wallys and Alices. Terrifying. Every year many parents lovingly spend hours creating a beautiful costume for their children to wear. However, if you’d rather pay out money for a shiny new costume than spend the time and stress on attempting to cobble something together, then never fear, you can sit down with me. Yes, every year I say to myself “Fuck that” and click a button on the internet smugly, safe in the knowledge that I can spend my time with my child constructively doing things that I’m sure she appreciates much more.

So here are all the wonderful constructive things that I do with my time rather than putting together some sort of witch outfit made from a bit of black material for my child to wear.

  1. Tell my child to just hold on one minute as she begs for a drink whilst I chat irreverent shit to my best mate on Messenger.
  2. Peruse Boden for clothes that I’ll never afford.
  3. Stand in the kitchen for half an hour with all the cupboards, the fridge and the freezer doors open whilst wondering what the hell I can cook for tea tonight.
  4. Repeatedly march up and down the wine aisle with child in hand as I can’t decide if I’m in a Pinot or Sauvignon mood tonight.
  5. Tell my child to please hold on just one more second as I cyber stalk someone on Instagram.
  6. Search Netflix for something for my child to watch that doesn’t involve a bloody Swan Princess, so I can peacefully complete a Buzzfeed quiz on my phone.
  7. Wonder why RSI has kicked in yet again in the hand that’s holding my phone.
  8. Argue with my other half about why when I send him to the supermarket, he only ever comes back with half of the things on the list and he then tells me that the supermarket must not sell things like bread and orange juice.
  9. Check Rightmove for the tenth time that day, just in case a new house has come on the market. You snooze, you lose!
  10. Realise the outfit that I ordered for her is too big , so I have to spend time altering it anyway.*
  11. Write this blog.

So yes, be wise, be like me and spend an obscene amount of money on an outfit that your child will wear for one day and never again.

*Haha I’m joking. As IF I would ever pick up a needle and thread. I get HIM to do it.

P.S. I’m not against people creating outfits for their children. I personally just don’t have the talent, patience nor the inclination to create one i.e. I’m lazy.

Things I Wish I’d Been Told Before I Became a Mother

On average, I would say about 85% of parenting advice is completely unnecessary, unwanted or misguided. I also believe most parenting advice that is shunted your way does not always come from an honest place. This is a list of things I wish someone had actually told me before I became a Mother. This is NOT an advice column, it’s just what I would have found handy knowing pre-giving birth.

  1. Do not even bother reading any parenting books as they will only feed you with guilt and/or paranoia when your new born human baby does not do as the books say. If you do read any, please, please just take them with a massive pinch of salt.
  2. Try your utmost to enjoy the early days. Easier said than done I know, as you fight sleep depravation and leaky boobs, but they are so very precious and you will never get them back. Seriously, who gives a shit that they’re not sleeping and feeding at perfect intervals as before you know it they’ll be starting school and you will pine for the early days again. Possibly.
  3. And if no matter how hard you try you really don’t enjoy the early days, don’t sweat it. Nobody finds it easy. If they say they do, they’re lying or just numb inside. If you don’t enjoy these early stages, there will be other stages that you will enjoy. Some people suit different stages more than others.
  4. If you want to cry for no reason, then just cry. I didn’t have post-natal depression, but I had what is called “the baby blues”. When all the happy hormones left my body after giving birth, I crashed. I found myself overcome with emotion pretty much 24/7. I didn’t feel down, but I just wanted to cry. I think this was my body’s way of dealing with the change in hormonal balance and with the over whelming feeling that “CHRIST I AM ACTUALLY SOMEBODY’S MUM! I REALLY HOPE I DON’T KILL IT!”. I remember my lovely better half finding me in the bath crying when our baby was 2 weeks old. He seemed very concerned at first and asked me what was wrong. To which I replied, “I don’t know, but I can’t stop crying”. His response was just a casual “Ah I see, well if you want to cry, then just cry. Don’t even try to stop yourself. It’s all better out than in” and do you know what? He was so right. He treated it like it was something very normal and that’s because the baby blues are exactly that- very normal. It is something that you get through. I personally felt better by about 6 weeks after giving birth.
  5. If you feel you might have post-natal depression, feel highly stressed or the baby blues are going on for longer than you feel comfortable with, please tell someone. Anyone. Whether it is your partner, a friend, your Mother, the health visitor or even your hairdresser- tell someone. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, you certainly haven’t “failed” and it is far more common than you think. I was amazed to find out 2 years after my friend had given birth that she had suffered from PND soon after giving birth. This is because she hadn’t told anyone and had done a very good job of keeping it hidden. PND should not be kept hidden and should be treated like any other health issue would be. The more we are open about these things, the less social stigma there is attached to them.
  6. When it comes to breast feeding, don’t just do what you think is expected of you. If you want to breast feed until your child is 2 years old then good for you. If you decide early on that breast feeding isn’t for you then proceed with what is best for you and your family. If you tried desperately to breast feed, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out for you or just wasn’t possible for you to even attempt, then do not feel the remotest amount of guilt- just carry on doing what does work. Breast feeding is a very personal choice and should not be dictated to a woman by society. As long as your child is being fed regularly then it really doesn’t matter whether it is by breast or by bottle. They will grow to be strong, healthy children either way.
  7. If you do choose to breast feed, please exercise your right to breast feed in public and don’t ever give two flying fucks what anyone around you thinks. People offended by breast feeders are nonsensical and should just be ignored. Dicks.
  8. You officially cannot cuddle, kiss or tell your child you love them too much. The idea that you can is even more ridiculous than people who are offended by public breast feeding.
  9. It does not matter in the slightest when your child learns to walk or talk as long as they eventually do. No child wins a medal for learning to walk before they’re a year old. No child’s future is predicted by when they first uttered the word “Mamma”. This silent competition between new parents regarding who learns to walk, roll over, beg (hold on, am I getting children confused with puppies again?) first, seriously just has to stop. It’s boring and pointless. They will all get there in the end and you will be laughing about your concern for them learning to walk, when they start doing things like running into the middle of the road for kicks and you will literally cry for the days when they stayed put wherever you sat them down.
  10. The same goes for children learning to read and write. It doesn’t matter when they do it, as long as they get there eventually.
  11. Don’t listen to unsolicited advice. There will always be one relative or friend who will take it upon themselves to “guide you through parenting”. You can actually just walk away from their “advice”. The reasons why some people do this is multi-layered and are mainly just doing it to make themselves feel more important anyway. Unless you have specifically gone to them and asked for specific advice they have absolutely no right to tell you what you should or should not be doing with your child. They are not you, they haven’t walked in your shoes and they certainly aren’t your child’s parent. Screw them. Different routines or ways of doing things work for different people and families and it astounds me that some people still haven’t managed to work this out. The best parenting advice I was ever given? Ignore people who try to give you unwanted advice.
  12. Surround yourself with the right people. You will come across fellow Mums at babygroups/toddler classes/the school playground who will say things  to you that will make you feel shitty. Motherhood is hard enough without having to put up with someone trying to surreptitiously make you feel like a bad parent. You don’t need these “bitch-Mums” in your life. Move on from them and seek kinder souls. I find Mums who are down-to-earth, genuine, kind-hearted and with an all important excellent sense of humour are the best finds.
  13. There will be days when you wish you hadn’t become a parent. There will be days that you will be overwhelmed by how much you love your child. Both emotions are perfectly normal. Do not be scared of either reaction.
  14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Being a martyr doesn’t benefit anyone.
  15. Do your pelvic floor exercises. I know you can’t be arsed, but just get and do them. You’ll thank me later.
  16. Some families will have more money than yours, possibly a lot of families will have more money than yours. I know this is stating the obvious, but these children from these families literally are not any better off than your own. As long as you are bestowing your child with love and affection, providing them with fairly well balanced regular meals, getting them outside as much as possible and reading to them, they will be children far better off than sadly the majority of children in this world. Everything else will just be a matter of doing your best and that is all you can ask of yourself.

The Case of the Missing Princesses

My daughter (the big klutz) broke her favourite Disney princess pink cup the other day, so being the hopeless softie that I am I went straight onto the Disney store website to order her another. Now this is where I ran into a problem that perhaps only parents of young children who love Disney princesses can relate to, Disney have released a new version of the pink cup and this new version no longer features one of my daughter’s favourite princesses. That princess being Princess Tiana from the film Princess and the Frog. Now, please bear with me. This article is not just about the highly stressful problems that 5 year old Disney obsessed little girls face.

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Princess Tiana

For some time, my daughter has been demanding an explanation as to why Mulan (another of her favourites), Pocahontas and Merida didn’t feature on her pink cup. She has also wondered why they don’t ever feature in the Disney Princess magazine. You see, my daughter like many other children her age, is incredibly observant (it is at times quite frankly annoying). She notices things like “why are there only 5 chocolate coins left when yesterday there were six”, “where is that amazing cereal box that I stuck a bit of foil to that I brought home from school 8 months ago” and she also notices missing Princesses from Disney merchandise. She has also started to notice that it always seems to be the same Princesses missing every time. So now, along with poor Mulan, Pocahontas and Merida, Tiana has now become another victim of the missing Disney Princess and to be honest when she did feature on any merchandise, she was always shoved to the back, allowing princesses such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to take precedence.

So, why have these particular princesses gone missing or have been conveniently forgotten about?

Now the more observant of you will notice that 3 of the 4 “missing” princesses are not white. Tiana is black, Mulan is Chinese and Pocahontas is of course a native American. Some might argue that Merida being ginger and Scottish could also be considered to be part of her own ethnic group. I say you’re probably just being hilarious and undermining genuine ethnic groups. However, it probably is worth noting that she is not American and is the only Disney princess to speak with a non-American accent (yes, even Mulan has an American accent). Those of you that know your Disney princesses and their copious amounts of merchandise, will know that Princess Jasmine from the film Aladdin is still regularly featured and definitely not “missing”. Jasmine is of Arabic decent (which country Aladdin was set in has never been clarified), so it could be said that the reason these particular princesses are missing cannot be racist or xenophobic. However, I do not feel the race connection can be ignored. Yes Jasmine is non-white and non-American, but compared to the other 4 princesses she is by far considerably more overtly sexual. For example she is forced to seduce the evil Jafar in order to save her life.

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Princess Jasmine

So, does this make her a more acceptable Princess to feature in the Disney merchandise? Looking at the missing 4 princesses, I would say so. Merida, Tiana, Mulan and Pocahontas are not as sexual in their charactisation. They are also the less “girly” princesses. Pocahontas jumps of cliff edges into rivers, climbs trees, refuses to marry the man her Father wants her to and saves the life of the man who she loves. Not quite your usual damsel in distress character. Mulan challenges the idea that a woman cannot fight and joins the army (albeit disguised as a man) and proves her worth and rescues pretty much everyone along the way. Tiana has ambition and demonstrates that with hard work  and tenacity you can achieve your dreams. She is also the only princess with an actual career. Lastly, Merida, well Merida is quite frankly awesome. She was the only princess before the days of Queen Elsa (who technically isn’t a princess anyway) that does not have a love interest. Her fate does not lie in the hands of a man. She is feisty, gutsy, athletic, brilliantly stubborn and outspoken. She is basically everything your average princess should not be.

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Princess Merida

If Merida purposefully ripping her restricting princess dress so that she can “win her own hand” during the archery competition isn’t a symbol of the suppression of women by the patriarchy then I don’t know what is. These princesses do not rely on their looks or sexuality to achieve. It is also worth noting that their princess dresses are the least “girly” with the exception of Tiana who actually spends most of the film as a frog anyway.

All the other princesses compound the idea that the most important thing about a woman is her looks and need a man to define them and more often than not- rescue them. The exception possibly being Rapunzel who of course saves herself from the tower. However, Rapunzel with her long, LONG golden locks and huge baby-like blue eyes does conform to stereotypical princess looks.

Thank goodness that we now have Elsa and Anna of Frozen fame. I’m quite confident in saying that Disney are not going to forget these princesses any time soon. I’ve always argued that Anna is the real hero of the two as Elsa is simply born with her power. Whereas Anna saves her sister’s life purely with determination, guts, perseverance, boldness and aah love (gee love is the most powerful tool of them all etc etc). Most importantly, the girls do not sacrifice anything for men that they love (don’t even get me started on the symbolism of Ariel from the Little Mermaid sacrificing her voice for a man she has barely known for 2 seconds).

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with girls who happen to be girly and feminine. We are all different. Women are not simple, 2 dimensional people. We come in all different shapes, colours and sizes and we all have different personalities, ambitions and skills. This is the point that I am trying to make. When Disney have gone to the effort of creating a princess that does not fit the normal princess mould, she seems to be quickly forgotten about. Disney has a huge responsibility in creating role models for little girls. If little girls only see princesses that aren’t like them they are going to feel as if they are abnormal and that they are different from other girls. Disney princesses should be a diverse representation of all girls. In an age where diversity or rather the lack of is still incredibly a significant issue, Disney cannot afford to allow these princesses to remain forgotten. Only this month, yet again all 20 actors nominated for Academy awards were white. It is inexcusable that when Disney finally got around to creating a black princess, she is now being quickly shunted to the background and forgotten about. Disney have the power to make a difference and it is astounding that their effort so far to do so is a tad lazy. Elsa and Anna are a great step in the right direction, but I still feel we have a long way to go yet.

So, have Tiana, Pocahontas, Merida and Mulan gone missing because of their race or their lack of conformity to feminine norms? Sadly, I fear it is a combination of both of these reasons. All four of these princesses are excellent role models for young girls and Disney needs to push these to the front equally along with all the other princesses. The moral of the story being, all girls are different, all girls are equal.