Sunday, May 01, 2011
Long ago, I lost the battle against Disney princesses a long time ago, unfortunately. It started when Celeste went to kindergarten, and in a way we thought her interest in Cinderella, et al., was good in that it was a socialization and acclimation to her peers sort of a thing. But Quinlan, oh Quinlan, really feel hard for the princesses at nursery school. I'd prefer they had stuck exclusively to Miyazaki's œuvre, much of which they do like, but since they haven't, we've tried to steer them towards the stronger characters — more Mulan and Pocahontas (despite the problems it has) than Snow White and Cinderella — with varying degrees of success/failure.
Despite my misgivings, I have tried to use real-life royals as examples of how princesses can differ from the Disney ideal. For example, when Celeste was in the nascent phase of refusing to wear pants, I tried showing her some pictures of Princesses Catharina-Amalia and Princess Alexia of the Netherlands and Princess Madeleine of Sweden to show her that real princesses can wear pants, even jeans. It didn't really work; she still likes to wear only dresses or skirts.
Despite not knowing a Mountbatten-Windsor from a Montblanc pen, Quinlan was fascinated with the pomp and the ceremony.
There were a lot of questions — I had a lot of trouble explaining primogeniture and why the Duke of Edinburgh isn't the King — but she was entranced by it. When I went to wake Celeste around 6:15 a.m. to see if she wanted to watch any of a royal wedding, she said "That's okay, but Quinlan probably will want to see it" ... and she was right.
© 2003–2010 T. Carter Ross