shutterstock_117984760When little Emma Moore turned five, she didn’t dress up as Jasmine or Mulan or even Merida. With the help of her photographer mother, Jaime C. Moore, she posed as five amazing women who have shaped U.S. History that kinda put the Disney princesses to shame and made me want to tell my two-year-old all about Helen Keller now.

Moore was surely trolling Pinterest and the like for creative theme ideas for her daughter’s fifth birthday portraits, but all she saw was one variation or another on the princess theme.  Moore and her daughter Emma openly love princesses, but it didn’t feel right for these special pictures.

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t got me thinking, they’re just characters, a writers tale of a princess (most before 1998)…an unrealistic fantasy for most girls (Yay Kate Middleton!).
It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything.

Moore chose five real idol-worthy women and took her daughter’s picture as she recreated their most famous poses — from the hair to the expression to the outfits. Her daughter Emma stuns as civil rights heroine Susan B Anthony, Coco Chanel (the only fashion designer to appear on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century), aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, 79-year-old British anthropologist Jane Goodall and Helen Keller, famous American author and political activist who was both blind and deaf.

What an amazing idea, right?  Isn’t that so much better than some unrealistic princess who has no bearing on her life? I admit I don’t understand princesses personally, and I have no experience with them thus far in my daughter’s two years. But if my daughter suddenly comes home requesting a polyester princess outfit I doubt I will blink an eye. Yes, I’m glad that she prefers the things her older brother is into like Matchbox cars and Megabloks but I won’t see a princess phase as her downfall if she has one.

Even at this young age I know my daughter will be as awesome as five-year-old Emma Moore. Neither of them strike me as the kind of little girl who is going to sit at home and wait to be rescued by anyone. My daughter doesn’t care about being pretty and she values making people laugh with her expressive personality over her outfit for the day.  Part of that is definitely my doing. Her wardrobe consists of a lot of my son’s hand-me-downs and her praise comes from how high she climbs at the playground rather than her appearance. But honestly, she pretty much came out of the womb this bold and fearless force of nature. Some princess play is not going to change that.

I’m not afraid of princesses, but as soon as I heard Moore’s idea I began to wonder why we even dress our daughters up like royalty we don’t have here in the U.S. I’m starting to think it’s just the lack of options that makes parents buy these pre-packaged doses of instant royalty, complete with dress, mini-high heels and tiara. Simple and easy, I get that. So where are the stories and movies and dolls that turn real life women into fantasies our children can emulate? Wouldn’t you rather buy a pre-packaged piece of history? I know I would snatch up an Amelia Earhart outfit for my daughter in a heartbeat.

The last portrait in the series is one of the little Moore smiling and wearing a pin that says “Emma For President 2044″ with the caption “set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.”  Yes! I swear for all their faults and flubs, I’d even put my daughter in a Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg suit. Why doesn’t Disney market those?

We need more real life options.

(photo: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock)