It feels like a spring flood – the omnipresent coverage of Friday’s wedding of Prince William and Kate (soon to be Princess) Middleton. While I think the level of attention is silly, I don’t have a beef with the high interest in the event. And I wish them a lovely wedding day and a great marriage.
My beef is with the endlessly repeated theme of ‘Kate is living every girl’s dream.’ I refuse to promote that as ‘every girl’s dream.’ Playing princess is a fun, fleeting fantasy, among many others. But it’s not the dream I encourage in my daughters.
And it’s not the dream of girls I know. Their dreams focus on being creative, making a difference in the world, speaking out, and doing good work. Those dreams fit much better with today’s Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day . The coincidence of these two events got me googling “Princess Work” and “Princess Career” to see what kinds of options Kate will have in her new life as princess. The results aren’t promising.
The Google shoo-in is a career with Princess Cruise Lines – that wasn’t on my radar!
My favorites included an enlightening chat between gamers on Mod the Sims :
Vintage Eve: Anyone here playing a sims that is a princess? what is your sim princess’s career? ..what did you guys made out of her? I was looking around for a career for princess … unlucky that i cant find one.. now i dont know.. what will i do with my princess… for now shes there stuck doing nothing and her wants is to be a politician ..and whenever she wakes up her wants scrolls and she wants to have a job..i was like “are you crazy?? your a princess.. you need to stay in the castle and do nothing but rule you people” … so i was askin everyone if they had a princess and what is their career
Another strong warning is Second City comedian Danielle Uhlarik’s Advice for Young Girls from a Cartoon Princess. Fair warning: the advice from Snow White, Belle and Little Mermaid is pointed and occasionally profane so not actually for young girls.
Vintage Eve and Uhlarik elegantly pinpoint the difficulty of being a princess and having a career. The odds are stacked against Kate finding fulfilling work.
That’s just one reason I don’t want to see media and adults in general selling girls the princess myth. The costs to a girl go far beyond keeping her out of a fulfilling career. Author Peggy Orenstein’s new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture details the price, both monetary and psychic, of encouraging girls to dream of being a princess as a life. There’s no there, there. Girls and boys both deserve better.
So let’s take them to work, today and other days, and give them a vision of the fulfilling work that awaits as they grow up.