Friday, May 11, 2012

The Princess Principle

Princessing isn't all fun and games

Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday" played a princess who wished she were a commoner. Nine out of ten American three-year-old girls seem to wish they were princesses. We live in an age of the Princess Phenomenon, and even mothers are baffled how it happens. 

"I don't know; she just woke up one day, and there it was", said one mother of her little princess-in-tow I met on a shopping trip. Princess Little was decked out in a cheesy-Halloween-costume-quality princess dress, neatly accessorized with one of mom's necklaces and an evening bag. She was cute as a button and terrified me. There but for some lipstick and blush was Jon Benet Ramsey all over again. Moments later in walks another princess with mother and baby sister as entourage. This princess was wearing a crown. The mothers smiled in helpless agreement. I could swear the two princesses were giving each other the eye as to "who wore it best". I sensed Princess Little felt eclipsed by that crown.

In my childhood the princess either spent an inordinate amount of time in a tower waiting for Prince Charming to climb up her hair or worried herself sick how to outsmart the hideous Rumplestiltskin. We wanted to be nurses, ballerinas or airline stewardesses— not princesses. Cinderella had to suffer a lot, but at least she proved you could grow up poor with mean stepsisters and still snag the prince.

Blame Disney, perhaps. In trying to be egalitarian, the Disney corporation has developed princesses for almost every race and cultural persuasion. Officially they are Ariel, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Belle, Rapunzel, Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana, Mulan and Snow White. Coming soon to the list may be the red-headed Scottish princess Merida. They are merchandising block busters, netting 4 billion dollars in global sales "touching every aspect of girls' lives around the world".

I wonder how the princess experience will touch the lives of those around her in years to come— family, teachers, friends and potential Prince Charmings. This could be interesting to watch.

Gregory Peck would be worth giving up the throne

1 comment:

  1. i would have given up the throne for gregory peck too.