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Being a Princess

April 23, 2010

“All women are princesses. It is our right.”

It was one of those nights when I just wanted to sit by myself and watch a dramatic, girly movie while stuffing my face with chocolate. So I did. I picked a movie I had borrowed from my sister about a year ago, A Little Princess (1995). It was the more recent one, not to be confused with the 1939 Shirley Temple version, which I’ve also seen (cute, but not as great). The quote above is in the first scene of the movie, and it had me yelling (because, as I said, I was by myself) “AMEN”, “yeah girl, yeah!”, etc. throughout the film. This was for many reasons.

First of all, and not quite pertaining to the point of this post, it’s a really beautiful father-daughter story. But, that’s not what I want to talk about, so I’ll move on. Maybe some other time!

The point: it asserts that women are princesses, no matter what culture, station, or stage in life they are in. This wasn’t the first time I had heard this. I knew a guy who was convinced that all women are princesses and men are princes who have to go to the castle and rescue the princesses, but the princesses sometimes leave the castle and become not princesses, so the princes get lazy and become not princes, etc, etc. It’s a long story. But I digress.

I was once against the idea of all girls being princesses. I agreed more with a woman I had a chat with in a coffee shop once: women are either princesses or pirates. Not every girl wants to wear a pink dress, curl her hair, and put on makeup. Some girls like fighting games and action movies. Not every girl dreams of being an Aurora, an Ariel, a Cinderella, and whatnot. Sometimes you have some pirate in you. So what are we to do? Can we all fit into such stereotypes? What if there’s more to being a princess than butterflies and rainbows? Taking a look at princesses throughout time has given me a better perspective on what it means to be a princess.

Some princesses aren’t about to fall asleep until the end of the story so a prince can kiss them back to life. They don’t just let a story happen to them; they play a role in it, they make decisions.

Don't mess with the cinnamon buns.

Don't mess with the cinnamon buns.

Exhibit A: Princess Leia. She may have told Obi Wan that he was her only hope, but when Vader blew up her home planet, Alderaan, and after she was rescued by the heros we all know and love, she ditched the helpless victim act and took things into her own hands. Not only did she befriend the Ewoks, who would help her and the Rebels defeat a bunch of Storm Troopers, and not only did she strangle Jabba the Hut after he made her some kind of sex kitten, AND not only did she command the fighters who would destroy the Death Star, but she does these things while being sassy and sporting the cinnamon roll hair style. She even counters Han Solo’s chauvinism with wit and detachment.

Can I have that outfit? Can I wear it everywhere I go?

Can I have that outfit? Can I wear it everywhere I go?

Exhibit B: Princess Zelda. Despite the fact that I’ve only played one Legend of Zelda game, I’m a fan of this girl. Generally, as princess of Hyrule, she has psychic or other magical powers in the games. I’m jealous. She’s also by far the prettiest and most intriguing character in the Super Smash Bros games, and she can turn into a ninja. That’s right: a NINJA. For those who don’t know much about Zelda, in Ocarina of Time, she disguises herself as Sheik, who is a man who plays the harp…but pretty much in ninja in Super Smash. In The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, she turns into Tetra, a pirate. The princess has left the castle, but she’s definitely not giving up her royal awesomeness.

Exhibit C: Princesses Arwen and Eowyn. I don’t think they’re exclusively called “princesses” in the literature and such, but essentially it’s what they are. I admit that both of these Lord of the Rings ladies probably deserve their own books, and my summing them up in one section/paragraph is a bit shameful. In fact, all the women in LOTR are pretty incredible (thanks, Mr. Tolkein!). But no one wants to read a really long blog. Anyway, I’ll start with Arwen. She’s half-elf, so this should tell you from the beginning that she’s going to be super cool. Arwen could have left Middle Earth to go to the peaceful-elf-happy-land-across-the-ocean, but decided not to go. Why? For the chance to be this Aragorn, admittedly the cutest guy in the movie. This wasn’t just an air-headed chick flick decision. She gave up her immortality to do this, so we know it’s important. This wasn’t just about Aragorn; she took a major role in saving Middle Earth (mostly in the movies). She saves Frodo a couple times, including the time she called on a river shaped like horses to stop the Black Riders. It’s a pretty cool scene. She also had Anduril (the sword) re-forged, which allowed Aragorn to enlist the help of an army of the undead, which is certainly helpful in a fight. Now Eowyn also makes some decisions based on a love of Aragorn (I don’t blame her), but her decisions also go beyond petty attraction. She took Merry to war with her, against her father’s wishes. She also took part in one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, where she basically single-handedly wins the battle for Middle Earth. Let me break it down for you:
Witch King mortally wounds Eowyn’s uncle/adopted father, King of the Rohan. This is unacceptable.
Eowyn decapitates the Witch King’s (dragon), and proceeds to fight said Witch King.
Witch King injurs her, but she keeps fighting.
Witch King: “You fool! No man can defeat me!”
Eowyn takes off her helmet and shakes out her long blond hair: “I am no man!”
Eowyn stabs Witch King IN THE FACE. The battle is pretty much done now.
End.
If that scene doesn’t have every woman jumping out her seat and cheering, I don’t know what will. Eowyn may not have gotten Aragorn in the end, but she ends up with Faramir, who is also way cool, and deserves her sheer awesomeness.

Prepare to have your capa detated.

Prepare to have your capa detated.

I would have more exhibits, but as I said, no one wants to read a blog that long. Also, these exhibits require a lot of research. Xena, Wonder Woman, real princesses like Princess Louise of Argyll, among others only add to the scope of a princess’s potential.

A princess doesn’t just sit in a castle. She is a warrior. That’s what I want women to know. We are strong, we are beautiful, and we deserve every ounce of our royalty.

Amy

p.s. Special thanks to Wikipedia and the Internet. I couldn’t have done it without you.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily Josephine permalink
    April 23, 2010 4:20 pm

    I AM NO MAN!

    Amy, I was JUST thinking about the princess-pirate thing recently, and how it’s not one or the other. i’m glad you came to this realization on your own :)

    my heart is rejoicing right now!

  2. Joel permalink
    April 23, 2010 4:35 pm

    Correction! (read: Joel being incessant with his nerd-cred)

    Tetra is the pirate that assumes the role of “Princess Zelda”, sort of like how even though the protagonist (“Link”) always looks the same and has the same loose plot role, it’s always a mantle that is assumed by the player. It varies from game to game, but hey.

    • Amy permalink
      April 23, 2010 4:40 pm

      Dangit. I knew this would happen haha. Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, stated Sheik and Tetra (whom I didn’t know about before) as “alter-ego”s of Zelda. I’m trying to be as non-confused/-ing as possible.
      I’m sort of nerdy, but I definitely don’t know everything. Bring on the Star Wars and LotR experts. I can take it!

      • Joel permalink
        April 23, 2010 4:43 pm

        Oh man, I never managed to get through all of LotR. I made it through The Hobbit, though.

        Oh, and not a correction, but in extended Star Wars canon Leia and Han get married. There’s an entire wiki dedicated to Star Wars canon, but if I link it I’ll end up reading it for like 6 hours. But that doesn’t mean it’s not really interesting.

        • Amy permalink
          April 23, 2010 5:04 pm

          You’re my official nerd correspondent. OK?

      • Joel permalink
        April 23, 2010 5:04 pm

        ‘kay.

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