Thursday, July 28, 2016

Disney Princess Panties

Used to be a time when you had to be born of royal blood in order to be a princess. Nowadays, anyone can be a princess - you don't even have to be female! Not that I'm complaining. I love princesses. And if every little girl - and boy! - who wants to be a princess gets to be a princess, then that's great. Feminists complain about girls being "forced" to dress like princesses at Halloween when they can just as easily pick up a superhero costume from the boys' aisle. But heaven forbid what will happen if a boy tries to pick up a princess costume from the girls' aisle!

I think the appeal of princesses can be explained by the old Disney fairy tale playbook - the idea that a poor, mistreated pauper of a girl living out in the wilderness could discover that she's royalty, and with it comes the answer to all her prayers - wealth, social standing, all the jewels and pretty dresses she could ever want to wear, and the cutest boyfriend in all the kingdom to boot. As much as feminists whine that women don't need to be defined by men - and that's true - what's wrong with viewing the acquisition of an attractive mate as a desirable life goal? But it's funny how different this is from reality, in which royal marriages - at least in antiquity - were arranged for political gain, and likely often involved young, nubile girls being handed off to rich, old statesmen. (Or have I been reading too much Game of Thrones?)

I guess some of the feminists' ire also stems from the trope of princesses frequently being depicted as "damsels in distress" who need to be rescued by the nearest strapping lad. Whatever. I don't disparage people their romantic or sexual fantasies. You can read bodice-rippers and still believe that women deserve equal pay. It's called compartmentalization. And these days, princesses can do anything. They can be tough. They can be self-sufficient. They can even enjoy getting dirty. So what's wrong with liking to dress up in elegant ballroom gowns and diamond necklaces, and pretending to be important and desired (if just for a while)? Nothing, if you ask me.

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