I debated on whether to post this or not. I’m sure there will be a ton of people who disagree with me. I know you can’t please everybody, but really, since when did the word princess become so awful? When did princess become such a derogatory word?
A friend of mine shared an article from another mommy blog a long time ago. I read it and thought, “Man, this chic has issues.” I don’t think feminism has to be so black and white. Just like there are some bad feminazis there are also some stereotypical princesses. People. . . we are a bit more complex than that. I mean whatever happen to don’t let “one bad apple spoil the whole bunch” or “never judge a book by its cover”?
As you can guess from my other posts and few pictures I have of my daughter, I have no big problem with Disney or Disney princesses. With that said, this mommy bog I mentioned not only blasted the fictional kind but the real ones as well. She basically said that real princesses are only baby making machines. Well I don’t know about you but I kind of liked Princess Diane. I think she did a lot of good work. Did she give birth to the next King of England? Yes. She did, but she also did a lot of good along the way. I’m gonna also say that I like Princess Kate as well. I like Queen Elizabeth I. You know the one who was in power during the Renaissance Period? Yes, yes I know she is mostly referred to as queen, but before she was a queen guess what she was? Yup. She was a princess. Those are just a few of my favorites. I don’t look down on them and call them baby making machines especially since Queen Elizabeth I never had children.
Most of the article seems to point the finger at fictional princesses and what that particular mom felt was going on with people and their children. She seemed to hate to hear parents call their daughters princess. She seemed to associate it with bratty little children who grew up to be entitled twits. My daughter likes Cinderella, Elsa, Moana and Leia. So I’m going to address those as well as a few others.
Now Cinderella is old school. I kind of lump her in with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. These movies are all supposed to take place a long, long time ago when arranged marriages were quite common especially with royalty. Now Cinderella and Snow White didn’t really have arranged marriages, but they did seem to fall in love and marry pretty quick. Sleeping Beauty on the other hand did have an arranged marriage. I’ve watched all these movies with my kids and we talk about them. I don’t just let them watch them and figure it out for themselves. I try to explain what aspects might be true and what is completely fictional like for instance dragons. I tell my children that arranged marriages are mostly things of the past and that we do not do that. Are these my favorite princesses? No. They are a little more stereotypical. Do I shield my children from them? No. I show them all angles.
Now you’ve got the more recent Elsa and Moana. I found it quite funny that Elsa refused to let her sister marry a man right after meeting him. This quick engagement is mentioned a few more times in the movie when Ana and Kristoff talk about Hans. Disney seems to be, in my opinion, making fun of itself and the old school movies. Moana doesn’t even have any man problems except trying to convince a demigod to help her fulfill her destiny to save her people. I mean she seems like a pretty strong female character to me. While we are talking about strong female characters let me move on to Leia.
This is something else that sticks with me. When Carrie Fisher passed I saw so many things on my Facebook news feed. I always loved the Star Wars movies. Princess Leia was a feisty lady who could kick butt and take names. This was awesome especially for the time period when the movie was filmed and released. I wasn’t quit old enough to see the movie when it came out but I saw it years later. I loved it and I loved her character. My favorite TV shows at that time were Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman. I felt like they were strong women as well. Did Princess Leia wear some skimpy bikini in one of the movies? Yes. She did. Does that make her any less of a strong character? No. I don’t believe so. Did Wonder Woman also wear some interesting costumes? Yes, but please just take a look at all the costumes male or female. These are not exactly the most comfortable looking clothing for most of them. I mean can you really name one hero costume that is not revealing in tightness or skin and looks comfortable? I mean ask any dude if he would like to wear a superman costume? I’m sure every piece of flab he has will show unless he wears the fake chest that sometimes comes with it. I’m sure some people will go on to mention that these super heroes are not great for a little boy’s self-image as well. Yes, they all do seem to have perfect bodies, but they are super heroes. They are either usually alien, been involved in a horrible science experiment, or have enough money to dedicate an entire wing of their house to working out on a regular basis. In one word it is all fiction.
My problem with my news feed when Carrie Fisher passed was how some people thought that just because we referred to her as one of our most cherished characters, we didn’t see the other good that Carrie did. I had one friend talk about her other works like Postcards From The Edge and all the good Carrie did for those with mental illness. Do we really diminish that just because we find joy in her Leia character? I don’t think so, but I guess some people did. I also had a friend share another person’s post that talked about how they would not refer to her as Princess Leia but General Organa. I was fine with how they wanted to cherish the character and what she represented. I just didn’t like how so many were up in arms that some of us still referred to her as Princess Leia. You know for me that was the first time I ever saw Carrie Fisher. That was the first time I fell in love with the character. I just don’t understand this hatred toward the word princess.
I understand there are people on either side of the spectrum. Do you know what a princess, a politician and a principal all have in common besides alliteration? They represent people who are from all different walks of life. Some are good people, and some are crooked. Some are selfish and some are giving.
My daughter asked one time if she was my super hero princess. I said she was if she wanted to be. I tried to imagine what a super hero princess would look like and then it hit me. Duh. Wonder Woman was the princess of the Amazons. She was a super hero. I don’t really think my daughter necessarily had her specifically in mind, but if she did I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
I guess I’m also lucky that I had boy/girl twins. I don’t freak out and pull my son away from my daughter when he grabs a Rapunzel doll and starts playing with her. I also don’t frown when my daughter grabs a plastic sword and plays with my son (as long as they are being careful and don’t hurt anybody or break anything). I recently saw this article and totally agree that if a boy wants to play with a doll he can, but I also believe a girl should be able to as well. Please let’s not go from one extreme to another. There is a happy medium.
That article also pointed me in the direction of a book titled The Princess Problem. I’ve just started reading it. I like what is said in the introduction.
The goal is not to persuade girls that princesses are bad or to “de-princess” them. Rather, it is to help girls reason through the problems with princesses and see that there are many other ways to be a girl – to help unfetter their imaginations and help them dream a multiplicity of dreams.
I like it so far. Maybe I’ll come back and tell you more about it later when I finish it. That may be a looooong time from now though. I mean finding time to write blog posts can be very difficult. Most of the time the only books I get to read are The Gruffalo or Moose Tracks.