Saturday, March 14, 2015

No princesses here

Disney Princesses. Just shoot me now.

If you want to separate the princesses from the Cinderellas, or the girls from the women, the homestead is an excellent place to do it. For some reason, this week has had me thinking a lot about the women's liberation movement and whether or not it is DOA -- Dead On Arrival -- due to the persistence of princesses in our world.

This last week featured a lot of princesses in my life.  I have a friend whose 4 year-old daughter is positively obsessed with being a princess in every way (and she is encouraged by mom, believe me). I had a coworker give me a scene-by-scene description of the movie "Frozen," (featuring princesses, once again) because I asked him what it was about.  

And I saw Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' video for their "Blurred Lines"song.

You are probably asking 1) how the video, which features three naked women fawning over and being fawned over by Williams and Thicke, is about princesses, and 2) how in the hell all this relates to homesteading.

Just stay with me.

It all ties in, you see, because the idea behind the women's liberation movement is the concept of not being a princess -- not waiting and hoping your prince will notice you and deem you worthy to be with him.  Both the women's liberation and the homesteading movements are, believe it or not, about BEING CINDERELLA (not the princess, but the girl in dirty clothes tending the coal fire) and becoming empowered to be self-sufficient and using your skills to support yourself and/or care for your family.

Could you shoot me again, if you haven't already?

Cinderella was a homesteader, even though her sisters were wanna-be princesses -- the same kind that are in the "Blurred Lines" video -- pouting, strutting, preening, all in the hopes of being noticed by some important guy (except of course, that Cindi's sisters were allowed to have clothes). Cinderella was the one who made everything happen.  She was the one who kept the fire going, cooked dinner, cleaned up and probably took care of the vegetable garden and bartering for goods in the town square.

In short, Cinderella rocked.  Until she became a princess, of course, at which point I'm sure her days were filled with pedicures, pretty dresses and parties.  Or naked music videos. Who knows? 

When the women's liberation movement began in earnest, we were all pretty committed about the idea of not being princesses -- not waiting around for Prince Charming to complete us and take us off to his castle, where we'd be waited on hand and foot forever.  We wanted to do things ourselves. We toted the 5-gallon water bottle to the water cooler in the office ourselves, instead of asking one of the guys to do it for us.  We fixed our own plumbing.  We opened our own doors, unless we were carrying something heavy.

And when the back-to-the-land movement hit full stride, we got out there and planted, weeded and harvested along with the guys. (Plus then spent days in the kitchen preserving it all --usually sans guys.)

So you would think that this next generation of women would be even more bad-ass than we were.  But many, many aren't. Instead, they are shedding their clothes in music videos, hoping to be noticed by the Important Pop Stars.  Or they are living on their own, but they are crying crisis and drama at every turn, hoping someone will rescue them financially or in other ways.  Or they are teaching their daughters to dress in pink and never get dirty. It makes me angry, because all women -- especially those that will come after us -- pay the price when this becomes acceptable. We are not taken as seriously, not paid as well, and not respected as we should be.

And you can't blame an old crone like me for wondering what in the hell happened. Was being a princess just easier?  Is being a drama queen more profitable than pulling your own freight? 

Real woman, real work. A No-Princess Zone.
It's OK for any woman (or any man for that matter) to want to feel beautiful or glamorous sometimes.  And it's OK to sometimes accept that we may not be able to do some of the heavy lifting our male counterparts do. But maybe Cinderella would be wise to re-evaluate putting on that glass slipper because, let's face it, it's damn hard to work in the garden or the kitchen or be an asphalt laborer, a doctor, or anything else that makes a difference in the world  wearing that kind of footwear.

If before I reach Great Age, I could see a world with more empowered, active Cinderelles and less princesses, it would make me so happy.  Can we all just be the bad-ass women we are capable of, instead of drama-seeking, strutting, pink princesses? Please?


  1. You know another real problem here is men. I think a lot of men are still looking for a princess so they are the A and wife/girlfriend is B. They would rather be dominant than have a partnership. Then there are the guys who seek ambitious and mobile women to financially take care of them. I see the latter very often in my industry. I also know the first issue well as my sister struggles with it. She is very successful and doesn't NEED anything which I think sometimes, frankly, scares guys off. I really think this is a tremendously difficult time to be a woman because our society tells women they should be about four different women in one. It's not right but I think a lot of women put on the princess facade because they feel it's what men are looking for. It's such a difficult topic and I do wonder what the future will hold in this area. It seems the culture of being "kept" is eroding and I'm not sure what that will mean for the reality of relationships. I used to think I'd like to be "kept" lasted about four minutes! I'm not able to keep my mouth shut long enough. very interesting post!
    And God I hate that song! It finally went away and now it's back thanks to the lawsuit!

    1. You are right, it IS very difficult. Women are still judged on looks much more than men (perhaps this is why being a princess is still popular), but men are expected to be successful in order to attract a mate, which is its own kind of prison if you think about it -- although at least success is a condition that doesn't fade with middle age! But better for any woman, like your sister, to manage her own career success, because it provides security that cannot be taken away. Good for her!

  2. PS-I loved the original Disney princesses when I was little and my parents (despite being Republican WASPs) never made me feel wrong about that. gender "rules" are a topic I care a lot about because at their core they really are bullshit projections. Men can make tea and women can mow lawns and the world keeps spinning!

    1. Good for your parents! I was also given a lot of lattitude when I was little -- I was encouraged to play with Legos, GI Joe, Lincoln Logs as well as Barbies. Letting your kids dream without restriction is priceless. I bought a Barbie for my son when he was young, but all he ever used her for was driving around with Ken, both naked,and crashing their Barbie Corvette into walls. It wasn't pretty.

  3. I came of age in the women's liberation movement in the 70's and was practically a card carrying member. My family all called me 'the women's libber'. I am disappointed when I see women newscasters today. They wear tight, sleeveless spandex dresses that come up halfway to their thighs and sport 4" heels. I have no problem with a woman newscaster looking feminine, but they are dressed overtly sexually.

    I have heard this is called "third wave feminism". It seems like a step backwards to me.

    My mother (who was a princess) always encouraged us to get an education and not be dependent on anyone. It was good advice and served us well.

    1. Amen to that, Molly. I agree with you on the newscasters as well, let's face it, if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you have to tone down the short cocktail dresses and high heels, or people will not be paying attention to what you are saying, just how you look! I agree that you can look feminine and attractive without exposing as much as some do.