I never aspired to be a princess. I never wanted to sit around waiting to be rescued. I’d probably get impatient with Prince Charming and start helping him with the rescue.
When I was growing up, I loved Snow White and Cinderella, but I never identified with them. I identified with Pete from Pete’s Dragon. I would have been okay being Princess Leia, but I’d rather have been Luke Skywalker. Come to think of it, I identified more with the boys. Maybe because in the stuff I watched, boys got to have all the fun, and the girls always got rescued. Think Mario and Princess Peach. Though I loved how Fiona in Shrek broke the princess mold.
If I had been a kid when the Harry Potter series came out, I would have totally wanted to be Hermione. In fact, I kind of want to be Hermione now. She’s smart, she’s strong, and she doesn’t take anyone’s crap. She may not be the “hero” of the series, but Harry couldn’t have been the “hero” without her.
I don’t think that girls in fiction have to or even should always be in the lead. Sometimes the female lead will be stronger, and sometimes the male lead will be stronger. That’s life. While I like the idea of girls having strong role models, the fact is that we’re all different, and should celebrate our differences. There’s nothing wrong with some girls wanting to be a princess and waiting for Prince Charming. As long as she knows that if Prince Charming turns out to be a dud, she can always throw him back.