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Will The Real Princess Please Stand Up?

September 2, 2011


When I started my day, our very first full day in The Kingdom, I thought that I might write a bit about how the Disney’s glorified version of monarchy is, oh you know, a bit sugar coated. The smiling, glittering princesses attached to their newly crowned princes, the happy couple that will rule the land in peace, forever.

What does this have to do with books? Well, I’ll tell you. After reading even a teeny bit from my favorite first lady of royal fiction, Philippa Gregory, or maybe recalling my days spent in the soap opera-like pages of my European History books, I know that this isn’t true of actual historical kings and queens.

But hey, Buzz Lightyear isn’t exactly a specific replica of Aldrin, and let’s not get into my mom’s commentary on pirates or my running mouth regarding any portrayal of the Middle East. All of these things are both accurately portrayed and horrifically fantastical in representation in books as well as my arch nemesis: the movie.

The thing is, we use icons like princesses, pirates, cowboys and astronauts as played down or, I guess, played up escapism. We do it in movies, theme parks but also, of course, books. I can rant and rave, all day, about how Cinderella, Rapunzel and other leading ladies hardly had the realistic lives of Elizabeth Woodville, better known as The White Queen. But, like I said, every form of escapism is just that.

So, while I still may eventually do a bit of a comparison between my favorite castle dwelling  screen-based royalty and the famed, stressed out political figures that more often grace the presence of my reading, I think, today is not the day. Today is a day for escape and for me to accept my escape as a nearly thirty year old who, no for serious, really adores pirates, princesses and space rangers.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2011 8:16 pm

    I agree sort of, but I also think children are more impressionable. But then again, it all reminds me of a quote I’m using for my review of Marisa de los Santos’s new book, Falling Together, so it’s all nicely typed up, which is: [describing the character Pen’s reaction to her 5-year-old daughter Augusta’s shimmery go-go girl outfit when Pen picks her up from a weekend with Augusta’s father]:

    “Pen could imagine her before-kids self being utterly disapproving of this, the little girl in makeup and grown-up clothes thing, the pre-pre-pre-tween fascination with fabulousness. But seeing it in action, she found it didn’t bother her. Little girls were magpies and butterflies, gaga for everything shiny, in sheer, giggly, joyful love with transformation. Pen looked at Augusta, so at home in her body, so convinced of her own gorgeousness. Keep it up, honey, she thought. Hang on to it with both hands.”

    • September 3, 2011 11:43 am

      Oh I just love this! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I think that it pretty much sums up my totally giddy feeling upon leaving the park, yesterday.

  2. September 3, 2011 9:45 am

    There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little fantasy, as long as you can tell the difference between that and reality 🙂

    • September 3, 2011 11:44 am

      Agreed! Although, I sometimes long for the days when I wasn’t quite as clear on the difference. Our three ear old met “the real Buzz Lightyear”, yesterday and I’ve never seen someone so happy n my life~

  3. September 3, 2011 12:14 pm

    I also tend to like the fantasy of princesses and such, but I also realize that as you said, that is an idealized version of what real life is like. I think it’s ok to have those days where you want to sink into fantasy. It’s normal, and sometimes very peaceful!

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