Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's Good to Be a Princess

My best friend from high school (and the one friend from high school with whom I still keep in touch) is submitting a proposal to teach a course on fairy tales with a focus on Cinderella stories* and our society's fascination with princesses. In the closing to one of our emails, she wrote, "If you asked Lucia, 'Beside being pretty, what is it that is so special about princesses?' what would she say?" This is the conversation that followed:

Q: Why do you like being a princess?

A: It’s good to be a princess!

Q: What do you like about being a princess?

A: Pretty things.

Q: Like what?

A: Pretty dresses. Pretty crowns.

Q: What do princesses do?

A: Carry pretty purses.

Q: What do princesses do that is good?

A: Be kind! Don’t whine! Don’t glug juice!

Q: What do you like best about being a princess?

A: Playing dolls.

It was a humbling conversation from my point of view. I'd never talked about princesses as "pretty," and in fact, talked about them more in terms of attempting to get Lucia to do what I wanted a la "Princesses don't pick their noses."

When I was Lucia's age, I was never a princess-- I was always the Queen. For some reason, I equated princesses with marriage, and I was having none of that. I wasn't going to go to college, either. Both marriage and college seemed too grown up, and I still wanted to dress up and play with dolls.

Lucky me. I got to go to college, get married to Bede and I still get to dress up and play with dolls.

April 8 update: Here are two more princess interviews via Librarian Mom (a.k.a. Book, Book, Book) and Crunchy Granola.

*Caveat emptor: Some of the stories listed in this link are not accurate representations of the cultures they claim to represent.


TadMack said...

Heh. Princesses don't glug juice, huh? Good to know, good to know...

Elizabeth said...

I asked my daughter. She said "Princesses have princess stuff." "What kind of princess stuff?" "A gold crown, and a gold sword, and a gold shield." "And what do princesses do?" (She whispers) "They kill bad guys."

We were reading Bone recently. On a different day when we'd been reading something where the princesses are less well-armed, she might have had a different answer.

Lady K said...

SH**!!!! You just reminded me of a phone call I HAVE to make. God BLESS you, girl.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lady K: Say what?!

Elizabeth: That's great! I forwarded your conversation with your daughter to my friend.

TadMack: Yeah, I'm still laughing about that one. I had no idea...

:: Suzanne :: said...

What a great question. I think I'll interview my daughter today.

HipWriterMama said...

That's so funny. I'm with Suzanne. I think I'll have to ask my girls these questions.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Suzanne and HWM: If you do interview your daughters, I'd love to read what they have to say.

Lone Star Ma said...

I was a princess. A super-hero one. Metal Girl. I knew I was destined to become queen one day, for the good of my people, but that I would first have to tragically marry the Incredible Hulk, which was going to be pretty tough, so I tried to put off becoming Queen for as long as possible. Interestingly, my husband spent his childhood obsessed with the Incredible Hulk...

I will interview my youngest later.

susan said...

What a great interview! I had a ball listening to my daughter. I'm glad I discovered your blog (via Librarian Mom).

bookbk said...

Yes, belated thanks for writing this post and for the shout-out addenda! I loved reading Lucia's responses, and it was pretty cool to hear what my daughter had to say on the topic. She sure does have some definite ideas about princesses-- and like you, I'm not sure where she got them all.

Linh Cinder said...

My 10 year old sister wants to be a princess realy bad .i think she'd be a good one too but obviosley my family isn't royalty and being an Amarican , i dont think she'l mary into it but dreams do come true .