It's Wednesday, - and that means it's time for another Awesome Female Role Model!
This week I wanted to feature one of my favorite Disney princesses: Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. (The first movie. One, because I read some of the books and honestly liked the movie better. Don't hate me. Two, I only own the first movie and wasn't able to watch the second one last night.)
As always, if you haven't read the books/watched the movies, this post may contain spoilers.
When we first meet Mia, she's really nothing special. Honestly, as I was watching the movie I had a lot of second thoughts as I thought about her character critically. "She isn't a good role model at all!" I thought several times. The great thing though... is her transformation into one by the end of the movie.
Mia is your typical 15 year old girl. She's insecure, selfish, clumsy, spends more time talking to her best friend than she does paying attention in class, lets other people speak for her, and daydreams about a jerk guy that she has a crush on. She's completely clueless to what's right in front of her (Hello! Michael is totally crushing on her and he's the coolest guy ever!), she doesn't see the beautiful girl she really is, and all she wants to do is blend in when she clearly is made to stand out. Yet, you like her because she's charming and funny, and she's nice to the crazy guy who lives next door. We also can all relate. Who hasn't felt or behaved like Mia at some point in their lives? Especially at the age of 15.
Also - she lives in a remodeled firehouse with a tower. How awesome is that?
Then, everything changes for young Mia. She finds out that she is a princess. At first, Mia runs away from this. Literally. She yells at her grandmother (the queen) then runs away. She doesn't want to run a country or have the spotlight on her at all times. She just wants to pass the 10th grade. But who could blame her? If someone asked me to run a country when I was in high school, I would have done the same thing. Heck, even now I would run away.
Yet, as the movie goes on, Mia grows.
Granted, part of that growth is due to a make-over, which in a way makes me sad.
At the same time though, I think this is important. Mia was always beautiful. You see it when she takes off her glasses and pulls her hair back. Mia was always pretty and didn't need some guy to make her that way. However, she needed to be shown she was pretty. Nothing is wrong with knowing this about yourself as long as you don't flaunt it and make it your whole life. Mia is suddenly given confidence that yes, she is beautiful. Yes, she can have a voice. Yes, she can stand up and shine. If she needed someone to brush her hair and put on make up for her and take her to princess lessons to see that, then so be it.
But don't worry, even after the make over and learning how to be more refined, Mia keeps her sense of humor. This is part of why I love this movie. A majority of Mia's awesomeness isn't with her words, its her actions and fantastic sense of humor.
Through this process of growing into herself though, Mia makes some major mistakes. She hurts her friends, she trusts the jerk popular guy (and girls) too much and they get her in trouble, and she dissapoints her family. She takes some major spills. Literally.
Yet, Mia does everything she can to make it up to people. She genuinely feels bad for what she's done and wants to prove herself. She learns to stand up for hers and her friends. (She even speaks up against her friends, which is so brave!) She apologizes and makes things right.
I've said it before, and I'll say it over and over again. I feel this is one of the most important parts of being an awesome role model. Everyone is going to make mistakes and have major slip-ups. That's part of life. It's what we do in result of these mistakes. Do we go back and do it again? Nope. Do we act like it's not a big deal? Nope. Own up to what you did, apologize, do what you can to make it right, then move on. Mia is an excellent example of this.
And her family and friends do forgive her in the end. Which I feel speaks a lot for her character. People in her life are willing to extend love and forgiveness in spite of her flaws. Then she is willing to do the same for them.
Then, (spoilers) Mia realizes how selfish she has been, and how to focus on other people. She accepts the role of princess (meaning...she'll be queen someday) and steps up to the plate. I don't know about you, but I would not have been prepared to do that when I was 15. This is pretty awesome. Mia wants to make other peoples voices heard and to make a real difference in the world and the lives of others. She wants to make the people of Genovia, and her family, proud. She decides that the better use of her time is to help others. Even if it makes her life far more complicated and not as invisible as she originally had hoped.
I think that's the biggest lesson we can learn from Mia. Being invisible is easy. You can do your thing and no one will notice. It's comfortable. But it's when we get out of being comfortable and step up to the plate that we can see who we really are and how to really make a difference.
- "Someone sat on me again."
- "Please don't crush my soy nuts."
- "A princess?... SHUT UP!"
- "Why on earth would you pick me to be your princess?"
- "My expectation in life is to be invisible. And I'm good at it!"
- "Tell me, how does my mother, or any mother at that, go to a parent/teacher conference and come out with a date?"
- "Just because your hair sucks doesn't mean you can rag on mine."
- "Thank you for being here today."
- "I don't want to run my own country. I just want to pass the 10th grade. Can't I just tell everyone that I quit?"
- "Yeah, I am, and someday I'll grow out of it. But you, you will always be a jerk"
- "Is this punishment for driving without a licensed driver sitting in the front seat?"
- "I am invisible, and I am wet."
- "And then I realized how many stupid times a day I say the word 'I' . . . but then I thought, if I cared about the seven billion other people out there, instead of just me, that's probably a much better use of my time."
Also, if Joe and Queen Clarice aren't one of your favorite Disney couples... I don't know if we can be friends. I love them so much!
Are you a Mia and Princess Diaries fan?