Right, this princess shit has to end and it has to end right fucking now.
I follow the fantastic PinkStinks blog because I think they do great work on trying to smash gender stereotypes and alert parents to the widening gender divide between boys and girls. The blog is well worth a look if you haven’t seen it and the two sisters that started it are fabulous.
PinkStinks posted a link to an article on the kidzworld.com website (note to self, anytime a “z” replaces an “s” in a word, you are going to see something zhitty,) called “15 Ways To Be A Modern-day Princess.” The article , written by the actor and singer Julie Andrews and her daughter and writing partner Emma, was in celebration of “National Princess Week” and sponsored by Target and Walt Disney.
The whole thing is fucking rotten. There is virtually nothing valuable in it that I would tell my daughter, other than to be charitable and I really don’t need to tell her that. The article consists of “tips” like:
*Wear a tiara
*Throw tea parties
*Learn to curtsey (this article is on an American website. We fought a war against a fucking monarchy because we didn’t think falling out of the right vagina meant someone should rule over us without a vote.)
*Master a royal wave.
*Patronise the arts.
*Learn to ballroom dance.
I found this demeaning and insulting. There wasn’t anything about being independent, resourceful, smart, funny or strong. No, it was all about put on pretty dresses, wear stupid-ass jewellery and eat cupcakes. Oh and don’t forget to watch Disney Princess films!
I was very excited when I found out I was having a little girl. I love my sons to bits, but I have always wanted a little girl. I am very much a “girl’s girl.” I have mostly female friends. I was in a sorority. When I was a little girl, I loved Barbies, Tinkerbell, dolls, dolls’ houses, shoes, dresses, playing house and all the typical girlie pursuits. I still do. I had stuff like trucks and Tinker Toys, but you’d likely find my sister and me holed up in a corner of a room playing Barbies.
That being said, I was never a girlie girl and I am not to this day. I have never wanted to be a princess; I wanted to be a mix of Indiana Jones(actually, Karen Allen’s character) and an astronaut. Hell, I can remember my sister and I playing a game where we pretended to be birds of prey, but we never played princesses. Our Barbies were never princesses either. They always had jobs and were single gals. We once built an apartment building and made little studio apartments for our Barbies to live in. The Ken dolls lived elsewhere.
It saddens me to think that this shit is being peddled to little girls and this hyper-femininity is being seen as the norm, when it wasn’t for us. People say stuff like “oh Leslie, all little girls love dressing up and pretending to be princesses. It’s totally normal and harmless” No they fucking don’t and no it is not harmless. My sons don’t have equivalent shit aimed at them.
Think about it– do you really need to throw a fucking “pamper party” for your 6-year-old daughter? What kind of message are you sending by “treating” her to mani-pedis, facials and makeup treatments? If you have to push the beauty thing, how about teaching her that eating healthily, running around in the fresh air, and being a good person will keep you beautiful forever? I may not be a dab hand with makeup brush or a set of GHDs, but I can teach my daughter how to use a drill, how to build a campfire and the best way to choke up on a bat so she can hit a line drive.
Women’s rights are being eroded in the USA. Here in the UK, teenage girls are at the highest risk for domestic violence in relationships. Many of us are too aware of the horrors that girls face around the world of things like FGM, forced marriages, honour killings, forced abortions, and education being restricted or denied to them. Why the fuck is Julie Andrews giving them princess tips? How fucking relevant is that to anyone?
Here’s my tips on being a modern-day girl:
*Speak up, and speak up often.
*Intelligence is priceless.
*It’s okay to get dirty, because dirt washes off.
*Read loads of stuff about all kinds of women.
*Science kicks butt. Learn it.
*Like all the girlie stuff you want, but only because you really like it, not because it’s expected of you.
*Create as well as patronise.
*Learn to use tools. You never know when you may have to put together a lawnmower. You can’t do a goddamned thing with a “magic wand.”
*Be practical. Flightiness has a very small “cute” window.
*You are beautiful because you are you, not because of the shit you wear or plaster on your face.
National Princess Week is a cynical marketing ploy for Target and Disney to sell useless shit and bad ideas to impressionable little girls. Princesses have no power, no worth and are nothing but window dressing or baby factories. If there must be some “royal” angle there have been all kinds of kick-ass Queens from Boudicca, to Elizabeth the 1st, Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Latifah.
Our girls are experiencing some of the most narrow-minded marketing aimed at them and it really has to end. You know this shit isn’t right, it wasn’t done to you so don’t do it to them. Barbie may have had her detractors, but at least she did have a space suit– even if it was shiny pink and girls like me could dream of being astronauts too. That’s far more achievable than waiting someday for a prince to come.