I’ve been thinking about Princess Culture for sometime now. I think it started when I was in Walmart’s toys section, and was bombarded by lots of pink and sparkly things just for my “little princesses’ . Princess chairs, dresses, trikes, phones, shoes, clothes, tiaras, you name it – there’s a princess logo attached to it. Then a few moments in Shrek the Third (don’t want to give plot away) that got me thinking. Then there’s the way lots of people refer to my girls as princesses.
I’ve got to be blunt with you – I like a but of fuchsia, magenta and cerise like the best of them, and given the right context I might even twinkle like a little star. But I hate princess culture.Its not that I dont like it, I hate it. Now obviously, this presents me with a few problem in the light of the fact that I have not one, but two little girls. And even though I have strong feelings, maybe even militant ones, I don’t intend to send my kids to their little friends princess parties dressed as Mother Theresa, Condoleeza Rice or Shrek’s princess Fiona (though I do LOVE her, so maybe…) to make a point about the princess thing. Otherwise it will just be the forbidden fruit that they will go for.
Its just that more and more in this culture at least I’m wondering if the princess thing is seen as not just a phase a little girl goes through, but an identity that a woman grows into. And I do have a problem with that.
Because it is just not reality, and I am not convinced that it is healthy for intelligent grown women to model their lives, hopes and expectations on Disney.
If you are a princess – then there is one fundamental unreality you live by – ENTITLEMENT.
Princesses are entitled to a beautiful home, a castle. Their every need and whim are instantly met. Their desires are rights, their dreams do come true. They should expect to meet a prince, or at worst a frog who instantly becomee a prince, rather gloriously and dramatically. She will always be beautiful, she will never age. She will always have the same perfectly proportioned body, and be healthy without having to work for it. She will always have some benevolent other – King, Fairy Godmother – who looks after her own interests. And she doesn’t have to work hard. Most of all a princess can expect to be rescued from whatever
unfortunate predicament she finds herself in. All very lovely, all very disney, all very not real life.
So is it just a bit of fun, just a harmless fantasy we use to escape from the daily grind? What is wrong with that?
The imagination is a wonderful thing when we know that its just entertainment.But when the princess dream starts to influence our worldview…then we
might come a bit unstuck. Your castle is too small and doesn’t have Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn or wherever else is the place to buy your home furnishings. You kissed a frog and well, he’s still a frog and nothing like the princes your friends met. Let’s not even talk about
the Princess body. Our desires and dreams have become our rights and they still haven’t come anywhere close to coming true, so life is tinted, tainted with disappointments.Its nothing that we can articulate specifically, just an uncomfortable feeling that there must be more
than … this. And where is our King, and our Fairy Godmother to make us feel special? And perhaps we are still there, in that pose, waiting to be rescued. Its just plain unhealthy.
I must confess we Christians are probably the worst at this. We say we are children of the King, so all God’s children are little princes and princesses. I suppose theologically that is true. Its just that the King we follow is the Suffering Servant, the bloodstained humble King.
He’s the King who emptied himself of all the entitlement he had and became nothing. He’s the king who walked away from it all and walked to the cross.
Not quite the same, is it?Yet I wonder if sometimes we have allowed a few Disneynifcations to shape our perspective of being children of the King? A bit of entitlement type expectations here, a bit of waiting to be rescued by our dashing prince there… A bit of wanting a big benevolent other to make our dreams/rights work for us…..
Sometimes it seems a bit like wanting the resurrection, without the cross bit, you know what I mean?
Maybe I am a princess.Maybe Tia and Zoe are too. If so, then Disney may be cute, but its not the model we need to live this life. We need more than entitlement, physical beauty, dreams and the ability to get rescued. If there is an identity to grow into, then it needs to be
more than someone who believes their dreams are their rights.
Surely we need more than Cinderella and Snow White as a pattern for life.
Surely there’s more value in following in the footsteps of a suffering, servant king?