Princesses Aren’t The Problem

If you want to come here and fight me about whether or not children can be princesses, you’re gonna need an army. ‘Cause this warrior queen ain’t got time to joust every last White Knight trying to save us from…what? Ruling an entire kingdom?

I will cross the poison water and sic my dragons on you.

I love that everyone is so conscious about little girls getting the opportunity to be scientists or business women or well-respected artists. There is a huge gap in genders and jobs and it fills me with righteous glee to see people working to address that.

But stop already with the either/or. There are warrior kings and philosopher kings and warrior poets. Why not queens, too?

You think ruling is hard? Try doing it backwards. In heels.

Our real problem with princesses is what we associate with them: selfishness and reliance on men to save the day. And while it’s true that some of the stories do seem to have that element to it, I see so many deeper threads. It may not surprise you to hear that I read and study a lot of our fairytales, folk tales and legends. They have, in more ways than one, shaped my life. They introduced me to so much magic, but more importantly, to so much reality. Let’s not scoff at the Disney-fied endings and ignore all of the struggle contained in our folktales. Our stories are so much bigger than the wedding, so practice what you’re preaching and dig deeper.

Don’t hate the selfless dreamer who toils for love of her family, expecting nothing in return just because she indulges a little at the end. Let’s talk about what we do for love, and what the limits are.

Don’t talk to me about Sleeping Beauty and true love’s kiss. That’s all Disney. Let’s talk about how many women are trapped until they are impregnated, and then their freedom is only allowed so far as their new motherhood title extends.

I agree whole-heartedly that a woman should never just have one role ascribed to her, and that to only see herself as princess is limiting. But where is that in our fairytales? Which of these women, who cook and serve and fight and dream and deflect the persistent, unwanted attentions of suitors are just princesses? Why do you want to deny them their full title?

Rapunzel: Explorer, single mother, princess
Snow White: Philanthropist, wild heart, princess
Deerskin: Gourmet chef, survival expert, princess

Hell, in the Twelve Dancing Princesses, marriage is the punishment.

It is okay not wanting our daughters to expect Prince Charming to make it all better. But tell me, which of those women had lives that magically got better when they married? Tell me which story has a ball that makes them forget who and what they are? And which fought to make their best life within the confines of the rules that bind them?

Then tell me that princess is not defined by its own struggle.  Princesses are only ever given the short stick, and with that, they divert every river that tries to drown them, and fend off every attack aimed to kill them. This is something, I think, that is a shared feminine skill. Very few, if any, of us grow up without realizing we’ve been sent on a quest not with a sword, but that same fractured twig. And still, we persist. That is what being a woman is, after all.

So, yeah. You’re damn right that little girls are princesses. Princesses grow up to be queens.


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