For the first two years of my daughter’s life, I shielded her from fairy tales and Disney movies about happily ever after and surrounded her with books about animals and nature. Then, she met a little girl that would become her best friend, who also introduced her to the world of Disney Princesses. I was happy my daughter had formed a strong relationship with another child, but there was no returning to our blissful, royalty-free days.
Breaking princess stereotypes
I’ve read several stories that try to break the princess stereotype, such as Cinder Edna and The Paper Bag Princess. Princess Bubble, written by Susan Johnston and Kimberly Webb, is the story of a princess who is beautiful, a graduate of Royal University, employed by Royal Heir Line, and is happy with her life. As her other princess friends begin to marry their princes, Princess Bubble is pressured by the queen to find a prince.
But, Bubble did not believe just any prince would bring her “happily ever after.” Yet the fairy tales said she must find HER prince! So she put on her thinking crown and re-read the fairy tales for clues on where to find her prince. She soon realized that unlike the other princesses, She was not trapped in a dungeon…She had no wicked stepsisters or stepmother…She did not know any dwarfs…Nor did she live under the sea. But the most confusing part was…She was already happy!
Finally, a story about a princess that does not need a prince. Although, I do wish Princess Bubble had a different career, as it appears in the illustrations that she is an airline stewardess. If the author really intended to break stereotypes, Bubble would have been a pilot. I also think the name Bubble is a little strange, as if her name implies she is living in a bubble by not following tradition and marrying a prince, or perhaps it is the princess stereotype bubble she is bursting.
How would your child define a princess?
I asked my six-year-old daughter to describe a princess to me. Here is her description:
- lives in a castle
- wears pink and purple
- marries a prince (UGH!)
After she gave me her list, I asked her if a princess has to marry a prince. She answered, “No, because Princess Bubble couldn’t find one.” Thank you Princess Bubble! Of course, I would add to the list that a princess is an environmentalist that uses her royal clout to pass strong environmental regulations to curb climate change, but then again, my daughter is only six!