Monday, November 15, 2010

Do Princesses Get a Bad Rap?

Me: Do you think princesses tend to get a bad rap?

Aurelia: A what?

Me: My friend and I were talking about the color pink and how, at a certain age, pink tends to become “uncool” because it’s associated with little girls. And well, considering the whole “Disney Princess” phenomenon (i.e. girls walking around in miniature Disney princess costumes until they generally no longer fit in the ones sold off the shelf, do you think princesses face the same anti-little-girl backlash as, say, the color pink?

Aurelia: I’m not a fan of pink.

Me: OK, but that wasn’t exactly my question.

Aurelia: And I think some princesses deserve a backlash.

Me: Again, not my question.

Aurelia: Also a lot of Disney princesses rock!


Aurelia: The littlest mermaid doesn’t let anything intimidate her.

Me: True.

Aurelia: And Belle is very intelligent.

Me: She is.

Aurelia: And I’m rather fond of Jasmine. She knows Aladdin is being an idiot, and she—

Me: OK, I think we’re getting off track here.

Aurelia: No, actually I think I’m agreeing with you. Because you’re talking about marketing, and it’s silly to market fairy tales and strong heroines (princesses or not—Mulan is quite as awesome as Jasmine) to only little girls. Look at the villains in these stories: the evil queen in Snow White, Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, Ursula/the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. These are some of the creepiest, most insane examples of cruelty in film. Or literature, for that matter. Any character who can defeat them is clearly more than a token in a McDonald’s happy meal.

Me: I agree.

Aurelia: I said you did.

Me: And you agree that people do have a tendency to underestimate princesses?

Aurelia: Well, yes. It’s no big achievement to be a princess, but it is rather an accomplishment to survive being one without—say—winding up with your head spiked on London Bridge.

Me: Not very appealing.

Aurelia: No.


  1. There are a ton of real-life princesses who derseve adulation too! The most famous (and my personal heroine) being Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, who I think Aurelia would really like. Then there's Christina, the Girl-King of Sweden, who was educated like a boy for the young years of her life, and expected to rule as king. Unfortunately, she abdicated to Rome, so nothing came of that, but still.
    As for the Disney Princesses, I have a long-standing affection for Belle myself, snd princesses in general (especially the fairy tale kind) do tend to get a bad rap, since there are those among us who would say that it teaches little girls to wander around in frilly dresses and wait for a prince to save them. I, personally, think those princesses could stand with some backlash, but there are plenty of examples of intelligent, wily princesses (like our Aurelia).
    All of this to say, there are princesses who wait in towers and those who go out to slay the dragon. It all depends on which one people prefer to read about.

  2. Aurelia IS very fond of Elizabeth I. She & Ariel are Aurelia's favorite princesses.

    Aurelia, of course, is mine (I really have no choice about this).