November 18 – National Princess Day

Posted on November 18, 2018

The creators of the 1994 animated feature The Swan Princess say that every girl should be treated like a princess, at least one day a year, and so they went on to create National Princess Day.

I'm not positive how I feel about this: 

First, how about every boy - doesn't every boy deserve to treated like a prince one day a year? And yet you're not likely to ever see a National Prince Day.

Second, royalty can be a fun feature of modern life, sort of an glitzy feature that some nations have. But anything in which certain bloodlines and marriage to those certain bloodlines are the only way to achieve status is also a bit...problematic?

Third, the princess tropes in movies and TV can either empower girls or can teach them to be passive rather than active. Old-time princess stories seemed to encourage girls to put all their efforts into finding a man that uplifts and defines them, rather than into developing their own gifts and interests. Luckily, modern princess stories have much more messaging about girls and women being fully human - strong but also flawed, perhaps as likely to save a boy / man as to be saved, active and ambitious and courageous.

Given the more empowered princesses available in the real world and in fiction, maybe I can get on board with National Princess Day!

Just don't make "treat her like a princess" code for "do everything for her," "her every wish is your command," or other similar silliness.

Here are some of my favorite princess things:

Book for little kids: 

The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch.

 Disney princesses:

Despite the fact that Frozen is just a bit TOO popular, I do love the empowerment of accepting one's own self, of sticking up for one's sister, of not letting "Mr. Right" NOT being "Mr. Right" get one down. Which means I love Anna and Elsa. 

I also adore Merida of Brave and Moana! And Tiana! And Mulan!

But the newest Disney princess, Shuri, princess of Wakanda, from the movie Black Panther, may be the best of all time!

Book for pre-teens: 

The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot. I am not sure I'm gaga about all the books (or have read all the books), but I really enjoyed the first of the series, at least!

Real-life princess: 

Meghan Markle doesn't have the title "Princess" - she's Duchess of Sussex, instead - but she's married to a prince, so I'm going to choose her as my fave. I like that she has brought a breath of California and diversity to the British royal family! Plus, I love her feminist pre-royal-wedding posts and speeches!

Non-Disney fictional princesses: 

Of course Wonder Woman (Princess Diana of Themyscira)! I also like Danielle in Ever After and Princess Eilonwy from The Chronicles of Prydain. And did you know that Pippi Longstocking is a princess???

But nobody rules non-Disney princesshood as much as Princess Leia!!  

Non-princess "princess" in fiction: 

I adore-adore-adore the book (but not most of the movies adapted from the book) A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

This 1986 mini-series did a great job
of capturing the wonderfulness of the book.

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