I am thinking of all the fairy tales, I read growing up. A Western export. These were balanced by stories of Indians who fought wars for the sake of their country and land.
Today, I realized one of the messages of the Fairy tales. I heard it on the radio: Do all Fairy tales end in Happily ever after?
It got me thinking of the messaging to little girls starting at a young age of how to solve differences or conflicts….
More importantly, it is the moms reading this to their girls. Just like I did to DD. Well, DH has read them as well to her. We read the journey of the Princesses. My daughter asks, “Am I Princess?”.
I explain to her she is my Princess and then there are some girls born to Kings, Queens, Princesses and Princes, and they are the Royal Princesses.
“I want to be a Princess.” And I tell her about how Meghan Markle became a Princess from being an ordinary person by marry a Prince. ” I want to marry a Prince when I grow up, Mama.” is where she landed.
“Show me a real Princess” she says. I show her real Indian Princesses on the computer. She says “They look nothing like the ones in my book!” I show her Princesses Kate and Charlotte. ” They look like regular people, Mama” she says. “They are regular people” I say to her. “There is nothing special about them. They eat food, they take a bath, they go to school and when they grow up they have to do the work that Princesses and Queens do, and you will choose what you want to do.”
” So, are the Disney Princesses real, the ones I met in Disney World?” she asks, sounding a little deflated. “No, they are actors playing the role of the Princess” I tell her, gently.
In most stories, not all, the Princess and Prince have a Royal wedding and live happily together. They overcome challenges to be able to get to the happy ending. The enemy is vanquished.
At school, and home, my daughter, is learning, to speak up about the problems/ differences and to solve problems and differences. Truth is many sided and always written by the victor to portray their own actions in good light, and nothing is at it seems. How about the Princess tales start reflecting this truth of life?
One can argue, parents can talk about this with their children when they read those books to their children so the books are useful in pointing out what is the wrong way to deal with conflicts. Sure, is a good thing to do when children are young and do not read books on their own.
How about a second grader? Guess, they will have figured it out by now that what they are reading is not real….
Another can argue, do not buy those books, just get books you are comfortable with. Sure thing, can you imagine growing up without reading about Cinderella or Snow White, esp when your peers are busy emulating them! That is a tough sell.
Some might argue, Indian Kings , Queens, Princesses and Princes are great characters displaying bravery, loyalty and wit. Why give up history and such inspiration? A good question. Maybe, we draw a line and keep the Disney Princesses/ Grimm Tales out of the loop.
Brings me to a bigger question, in a modern world, do we need Royals? They served a purpose, to protect the boundaries of their land. Now we have countries, the International law and the National governments etc to do the needful, so why do we carry on swooning at mention of Royals…..Unless, of course, it a Kingdom, still!
I do not subscribe to the Royal ideology. Their greed destroyed many cultures, identity of many, calling people different than themselves, barbarians, and calling others civilizations backwards. Racism was rampant in their behavior! Do I want to teach my daughter these values?
How can one idolize such people, is beyond me! And one can not deny they are the ancestors of current Royals….
In a world, where we need compassion and respect for all living creatures, there is no need for Royals who want to be treated Special because of their birth lineage.
To me, the Real [royal in Spanish] people are the everyday folks, the unsung heroes, who are busy toiling at being compassionate and respectful to all living creatures. They are inspiring, they need to be emulated so we can have peace. Not folks, whose past ancestors created hell on Earth for many living creatures!
What is your stand on this? Do we say No together?