The Princess Phenomenon
I grew up in the late ‘70s-early ‘80s era of gender equality epitomized in “Free to Be You and Me,” a book-and-record set with segments about mommies working and men crying and parents as a team of two people with lives and challenges.
Dad never called me “his little princess”—and it never crossed my mind to want any such title. My Halloween costumes: Pumpkin, bunny, Alvin (from The Chipmunks), baseball player.
My parents raised me as an equal to any male; equality meant I’d require a solid education and a career. No one coached me to want a noble birth or to rely on my looks in hopes of rescue. From what would I need rescue, anyway? Singlehood? Working? Truly, I’m not sure. Never did I have the impression that I would lead a pale, wan life until Prince Charming kissed me.
So the princess phenomenon causes me concern.
We can credit Disney’s marketing with the craze’s creation. Yet the campaign wouldn’t have worked in my more feminism-driven youth.
The princess phenomenon feels like regression, a harking back to the days when society equated a woman’s value with her social status and the kind of marriage she made. Who cares about merit, anyway?
The notion rubs me all kinds of wrong.
Would you chalk up the princess focus to harmless fun? Would you call me harsh in my assessment? Can women take on princess personae and still have power and independence and ambition?
My gut says no.
What does yours say?