Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enough with the princess nonsense!

Here's a new article bemoaning the "princess" approach to love and relationships in popular culture: Enough with the princess nonsense! by John DeVore. I winced slightly through the first half and then read this:

Like most fairy tales, "The Frog Prince" is a mordant little morality tale that cautiously suggests a lady needn't be so choosy when picking a suitor. Even the more sanitized, and Americanized, versions of "The Frog Prince" offer this moral: personality counts! Allow yourself to be charmed by a talking frog and you'll be rewarded. But first, you should be happy with only a talking frog. In fact, you should be so lucky to kiss him.

Well, that was a little more like it. Fairy tales aren't being attacked in the article, but the attitude that is attributed to them by parts of popular culture. That was a relief. So read and think, perhaps have fun with it. And save the bookmark for December when Disney's Princess and the Frog comes out. Cause this article came out about five months too soon.

And may I compliment John DeVore on actually doing his research. This is one of the first pop culture articles in a while (anything for The Frisky has to fall into that category) that accurately referenced fairy tales and their history. That was nice and since I agree more than disagree with the sentiment, I'm even more impressed!

After all, traditional fairy tales are not just the Disney versions with refrains of "Some Day My Prince Will Come." And even that one is older Disney, dare I even say the original Disney, not the Disney of this century, to be fair to Disney who has helped to keep the genre alive. Remember that any publicity is good publicity.

And, since you're here reading, I consider princess culture to be more based on the desire to feel cherished and special by someone or a few someones. Yes, there's the money-grubbing, lineage caring kind, but most little girls (and big ones) are just wanting to feel wanted, desired, cherished, that they matter to someone. Not necessarily everyone, just someone. That's not a bad thing. It's twisted sometimes into something rather unattractive, I admit, but most women I know have a mostly healthy perspective on it all. And they use fairy tale metaphors to convey it the way men use sports metaphors. It's part of the common experience.

The real fairy tale to me is that we grow up and are bombarded with imagery of what we should look like (airbrushed supermodels), what we should do (executives who also have a clean house with young children), etc. and never feel like we can measure up again if we don't have that love for ourselves and perhaps some extra from a few special people to help us overcome the message that we will never be perfect enough or everything to everyone.

All that is said by someone who was once a young girl much more interested in books and building houses with her blocks for her one Barbie than playing dress up or dolls. It's a tough world and we all need a little fantasy to survive it. It's when there's unhealthy or unrealistic expectations in real life that things get dangerous, but fairy tales aren't the culprits.

And in the end, I think DeVore's message is the same, actually a plea on behalf of the male gender. Real people have a hard time living up to the fantasy, so let's make sure the original message of the tales are remembered, not the newer ones maligned by the masses. olde battle of the sexes...that wasn't supposed to sound rant like...not sure if it does...but I'll let it stand... and now back to the regularly scheduled blog. :)

Coming up: I'm gearing up for a week of book reviews next week after the admitted frivolity of nail polish and such the past few weeks. I'm going to be reviewing some of the new releases from the first half of 2009, so stay tuned if you've already exhausted your summer reading pile.

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