Friday, December 29, 2006

Princess

I just read What's Wrong with Cinderella? from the NY Times magazine. I highly recommend you go read it, while it's still available and not archived (yes, you need an account but it's free as long as it hasn't been archived. Even NY Times journalists need to get paid).

The premises discussed in this article make me so angry I can't even spit straight. And perhaps I might be a wee bit drunken, which just makes me even angrier, but maybe that means if i offend you, I can claim it was the booze? But no, not really.

I am not, never have, nor will I ever be a princess. You think that blog name is something cute? I'm big, people, and I always have been. I've got size 11 feet. I really and truly am big-boned. I hope you enjoyed your prom 'cuz I never went to one, and I can count on one hand the number of "dates" I've experienced. If I were walking down the street, you wouldn't say that I'm fat, but I'm large. The word "petite" would not ever apply to me, even if I were starving. I'm not delicate, graceful, nor do I have a waspy waist and size-A non-existant breasts. I'm BIG. And I look like I have consumption when I wear pink.

There shouldnt' be ANYTHING WRONG with being a waspy waist and having size-A non-existant breasts. Or any variation on this. My problem with this is that there IS something wrong. And there's something very wrong when there's no other choice than to be Pink pink pink princess all the time and if you're not, you're not truly a girl.

From the department of too much information:
I have long hair. I've got the big, thick, to-die-for gorgeous hair, but you know why I keep it that way? Okay, one, I'm lazy and unwilling to spend time with either "product" (gah, when did THAT become a descriptive noun?) or hairspray in my hair, but also: to prove I'm female. No one disputes that you're a girl when you've got long hair.

I've got bad skin, big feet, I look ill in pink and I haven't got that "natural femininity" or whatever that all these other women have. I went into a very "masculine" career. It makes me unbearably sad when I see that even fewer woman are going into this particular field and the sciences in general. Why? because it's not "feminine". As if feminine is supposed to mean more hugs and less brains. I like hugging. This should not be a separate thing than brains.

And it makes me furious that marketers are setting up these kind of role models all for the almighty dollar. "We're just giving them what they want," they say, but the point of parents is not to feed your children candy all the time. And not perpetuate the myth that either you are delicate and fragile and must be catered to and good and kind and sweet and perfect and dance impeccably and look great in ball gowns but oh, we couldn't have you doing anything that gets your hands dirty, not in that lovely gown. Or you are a big MANLY MAN and you take care of your little princess so she doesn't worry her little (dumb) head. Don't lie to yourself that this isn't about brains and capability. There is no adjective for 'capable' in the whole Princess mythos. It's about being coddled. Why else would you be wearing a corset and gown. Why else would you need Prince Charming to COME AND SAVE YOU. Fuck that.

At the same time I always so desperately wished Mr. Charming would show up with 2 dozen roses and tell me I was beautiful and lovely and everything he ever wanted in a woman. Oh sure, grow your own garden and I did so, thanks very much, but that doesn't make you not stop and wonder just what the hell's wrong with yourself that you seemed to be so at odds with The Perfect Girl.

Now, I go shopping for clothes for my little 6-month-old neice and it makes me ill to see the choices. Pink, pink, more pink, maybe some purple for the girls and flowers and teddy bears and cute sayings and "born to shop". The boy's clothes? Navy, grey, bright red, army green. With lots of machinery and camo mixed in. All of the boy's clothes say "capable" and all the girl's clothes say "delicate". At 6 months?

Please realize what this all might be doing to little girls. I was never, ever good enough. NEVER good enough, despite the grades and top schools and the hairspray (oh yes, for a bit) and the goodness and kindness and tight shoes and frilly dresses. Years and years and I'm still fucked up in the head about all this crap and just what is "feminine" anyway? Is it really Sleeping Beauty in her gorgeous gown, waiting for El Charmino to slash through the thorns, defeat the evil witch, and wake her up? Thanks, I'd rather be Maleficent. At least she's handy with a wand.

6 comments:

Rabbitch said...

I love when you get all likkered-up and ranty. Although I hate the whole Princess deal and I'm sorry it fucked you up. I'm sorry ~we~ as a society fucked you up.

I let my kid wear black. To school. And I've told her, and am hopefully showing her, that she can do anything she wants for herself.

I'm probably doing it all wrong, but I'm gonna try. I promise.

Alesha said...

Thanks for this Alice. I couldn't agree more and I don't think this gets talked about enough in our society.

The thing is, I truely believe that ALL of the women in our generation - no matter how princess-perfect they appear or their lives appear - have been seriously screwed by the issues discussed in that article.

It shows up as much in our attempts to live the life as it does in our attempts to reject it. I know that I struggle with both.

I don't know the answer, but like Rabbitch, I am going to try to do better for the next generation.

Leanne said...

Awesome rant! I agree with you completely. I was recently watching Much Music (the Canadian equivalent of MTV) and was appalled at the messages in the majority of videos. All that seems to matter is looking sexy (if you're female) and having money and a sexy girlfriend (if you're male). Where are the strong female role models? Arrrgggghhhh.

I just found your blog via JenLa's awards. I'll be back :-)

kmkat said...

So true. Thanks for ranting about it. I'm not *big* (I used to be 5'6" but it's disheartening what 57 years of earth gravity will do) but I have never ever been girly. Ever. Much to the disappointment of my mother. And I never had any girly friends -- they were all hardy females. Anyway.

My older son, 22, totally gets it about how girly-girl princesses are so not worth the effort. I'm proud of him. The 17-yo, not so much. He seems at this point to be drawn to the pretty but probably vapid. We're hoping he wises up.

I had seen references to your blog here and there but came here via JenLa's awards. You're on my Bloglines now, girl (I mean that word in a good way).

Jenn said...

I like pink but princesses suck ass. My BF is in law enforcement and when he goes to the supply shop for gun or uniform stuff, I tell him to ask if they have any pink cop boots or a nice pink gun holster for me. He refuses for some reason...

And I found you from JenLa too! You have a new fan! :)

Marianne said...

I have always hated the princess shit, I have a daughter, just turned 30 yesterday, she's a BIG girl/woman, from day 1, and yes, bones to make a dinosaur envious, and I have always, every single day told her how smart, adventurous, clever, and yes, beautiful she was/is. photo posted of her...she was never a princess, neither was I, and I hate what that kind of upbringing will do to a kid "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that...call some guy" well, guess what, yes, you can fix the fucking car, you can learn how to fix the fucking plumbing, yes, there's all kinds of shit you can do! see, I really do hate that shit, and see? you got me started.......