In countless books, movies, television shows, and in real life, we seem to have an obsession with the monarchy. To list a few: The Lion King, The Princess Diaries, Snow White, The King’s Speech, The Prince and the Pauper, Hamlet, The Little Prince, Macbeth, need I go on? Indeed, the idea of a powerful family ruling a large area of land and its inhabitants seems simple, straight-forward, and legitimate, so long as the royals are all in their senses. While most of us herald democracy because of the various personal freedoms it provides, we must admit that the president of the United States can’t dress nearly as extravagantly or act as unpredictably as King Louis XIV of France, at least not without some serious repercussions.
And what of the excessive hype that princesses receive? I’m sure we’ve all met a little girl who’s dreamt of being a princess. With long, dazzling dresses, grandiose palaces, countless servants and knights, power, poise, sophistication, and respect, who wouldn’t want to be a princess?
Of course, it doesn’t help that nearly every Disney movie tells the story of a charismatic young royal. Because I simply can’t stand making a claim without supporting it, please allow me to spew a few a examples: Brave, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and Enchanted. With this extensive list, I want to play down the individual movies themselves and stress their thematic similarity. In essence, the Walt Disney Company has been capitalizing on and perpetuating little girls’ fascination with princesses for years.
But perhaps princesses may not be the worst role models for young, aspiring minds. After all, doesn’t great power come with great responsibility? As they are expected to succeed the throne and lead thousands of people, princesses must be the very image of discipline, diplomacy, benevolence, and strength. How else is your country suppose to depend on you in times of crisis?
My only issue with the princess fantasy is that it’s just that, a fantasy. A bright illusion to be ardently sought after by young, impressionable minds, who are usually in no position to inherit a throne. While I myself have never been driven to become a princess, I can imagine that there are thousands of others who dream of doing so. Just imagine the immense frustration, consternation, and disappointment that these individuals will experience when they finally realize the impossibility of their dream.
Alternatively, why can’t we set more realistic and equally desirable standards for younger generations? Why can’t we portray the professions of doctors, engineers, astronauts, journalists, musicians, teachers, politicians as gloriously as we do with princesses? Why can’t little girls dream of putting on a space suit as opposed to a beautiful, flowing dress? Why not?