Friday, May 22, 2009

Princess Pros and Cons

Back by popular demand...



Princesses are nice to everyone1) Being nice to everyone is a female virtue that often works to disadvantage women in the real world. And anyway, one can “be nice” to those who deserve it and still kick some ass when necessary. Look at Princess Fiona (who is really an anti-princess, in many ways), for example.

2) Classic fairy tale Princesses (including the Disney variety) generally are nice. But the pop-culture notion of a princess has come to involve the idea of a materialistic, spoiled, self-centered, bossy little brat who will do anything to get her way. And we’re supposed to be all indulgent of these characteristics, as long as the child displaying them is cute enough?
Princesses are beautiful and have beautiful voicesBeing beautiful and having a beautiful voice is not the most important thing about a woman.
Princesses are “sweet”What exactly does “sweet” mean here? Sexually pure? Acquiescent and passive? Tolerant of inconsiderate, rude, and/or abusive behavior?
Princess play boost a girl’s self-esteemTraditional princess mythology ties a girl’s self-esteem to her appearance and her desirability from the perspective of the prince. In our culture this translates into the necessity to be thin, pretty, and white.As for the pop-culture princess ideal, a spoiled and self-involved child may initially appear to be confident and have high self-esteem. However, there’s a world of difference between being self-centered and having high self-esteem. A small amount of experience in the real world will shatter her vision of this imaginary world where she’s the boss of everyone, and then she’ll have no other skills or abilities to fall back on, having put all her eggs in the pretty, pretty princess basket.
Princesses are helped out of dire situations by acts of love, courage, and friendshipPrincesses are helpless creatures who languish in bad situations waiting for a rescuer rather than doing anything to help themselves.
Princess play encourages girls to reach all their potentialHow, exactly? Do princesses ever do anything other than wait for a prince, do some menial tasks around the house, and sing? And how do you reach your potential while in a coma or locked in a tower? And why would you even attempt to reach your potential when there’s a prince on his way to rescue you and solve all your problems?
Princesses are good role modelsSeriously? They go running off with princes they either just met or barely know. Generally speaking they can’t lift a finger to help themselves. They have no skills or abilities that would allow them to be financially independent or care for the children that are sure to result from the implied tryst with the prince. In fact, snaring said prince is really their only goal in life. They’re gullible and easily duped into things like eating poisonous apples from very suspicious-looking characters. In the midst of a night of magic and romance they can’t even stay level-headed enough to leave for home on time. They’re constantly falling into a coma or getting stuck in captivity. And, in the more recent Disney incarnations, they don’t hesitate to show a little cleavage and/or asscrack if it will garner a little extra attention. Maybe they are good role models, but for whom?

Have a great weekend!


  1. Meg'n5/22/2009

    I just wanna say - you are on a roll today! Have a great weekend! ;-)

  2. I just wanted to drop by and say that I've appreciated some of the comments I've seen you make on Feministing threads. (I don't read Feministing except when bloggers link threads.) It's good to see someone making sense over there.

    Meanwhile, I'll add that when I was a kid I had a lot of Disneyesque fantasies. Lots of pretty helpless princes stuck in towers. I never actually noticed the gender issues .... This amuses me.