I have been as entertained by princess and prince stories as anyone, but I am fundamentally at odds with these stories and wonder what the world might be like without so many of them.
What-if-ing is always a tricky game to play, because who’s to say what subtle benefits I’ve reaped from being raised in a princess culture? But trying to think of what some of those benefits might be this morning yielded…nothing.
I don’t like elitism.
I don’t like the ideas of falsely deriving self-esteem from preeminence or life conditions.
I don’t like extremist portrayals of the masculine or feminine.
It’s interesting that so many of our stories have kids (and adults) identify with characters that are a step above everyone else, in the name of escape.
I’m more tolerant of superhero and hero stories, though sometimes I tire of how many stories are about ‘chosen’ characters such as Harry Potter. This is still a step above princess and prince stories, though, because at least we’re talking about an ability or power of the individual.
Sometimes I still argue with myself that those super-abilities were usually given the character rather than earned, just like being born to royalty.
Disney and others have made strides in stories like Mulan, but the princess motif is still teeming. At a recent writer’s conference, I was bummed that nearly every female panelist had written primarily princess stories.
There’s of course not necessarily a lack of value in some of the more innovative princess stories, but did it have to be a princess story? It just gets old.
It seems to me some of our sense of disappointment with life can arise from an imbalance in this kind of dreaming and conditioning.
But at the end of the day, everyone should write what they want to write. I just hope more people who don’t want to write princess stories will find the time to write. 🙂