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A Royal Pain

July 14, 2011
by

I’ve been a little absentee from the blog lately because I’ve been swamped at work and a little overloaded with familial drama.  AAAAAnd, I’ve been getting into lengthy email discussions with friends over certain ridiculous things. READ: this doozy

We really need a PSA campaign against this kind of stuff -and- a"dislike" button for the love of Zuckerberg!

Other people are talking about that in other places, so I’ll leave that alone (for the sake of my own sanity).  This week has been truly busy but a theme has emerged and like Bruce Wayne to the Batcave, I have fled here to bring some vigilante Becky justice to a dangerous element in our midst: princesses.

Okay, so I’m being facetious because princesses aren’t that threatening.  Or are they???

One of my more fem-feisty friends wrote to me this week in utter disbelief after finding this on a blog (I know, right?  People read other blogs?  For shame!):

In this Bible, the passages that include unicorns are in red

My girlfriend was appalled.  But not me.  No, I’m a good Becky who frequents the Christian book store and knows all about this little Bible.  First, it’s not really a Bible, it’s a devotional.  Second, it’s written by Dame Sheila Walsh of Women of Faith conference fame.  (Dame, if we good Baptist-types believed in bestowing any honor or titles upon our leaders, our our wimmin’).  And this isn’t Walsh’s first waltz in the children’s book department.  She also came up with these:

For your little gal with freckles and too much rouge

For your little guy, so your little gal will be totally jealous and feel bad about even attempting to wield a sword (or a trash can lid)

Now none of this is new, mind you.  The princess cult[ure] has been going strong for half a century thanks largely to Disney’s marketing department.  And perhaps the biggest insult here is not that Christian publishing and Christian teachers have caved into the worldly efforts to help women pursue frivolity, vanity or “conventional” standards of beauty (and relatively little else), but it’s that when we do it, it’s so obviously a pale imitation of the original.  We’ve essentially said here, “look!  That’s popular!  Let’s do THAT!”  We never bothered to examine why it was popular or if popular = good for young girls.  Nope.  We just took something we perceived as kinda harmless but tainted by Disney’s debauched gay pride parades and we sanitized it for a more “[Christian] family-friendly” audience.

Blech!

Yet, I cannot altogether dismiss the princess thing.  At a Beth Moore conference I once attended, Beth went on a rip about how we’re all princesses in the sense that we’re daughters of the King.  She focused on what it meant to be loved, cherished, and privileged through Christ.  And in her preaching, she called us all to be warriors fighting evil who would go out in the world as eager envoys of a coming kingdom (with that last bit brought to you by the folks and tracts at Lifeway).  She has a children’s book to that effect and it’s genuinely good.  It’s called A Parable About the King. (Wait, what?  Not about the princess???)

The book actually challenges the idea that girls should be spoiled or selfish and that they offer the world nothing except that which they can offer a man to look upon.  The story is a prodigal parable.  And it is about the king.  And for many women, this is an important message.  Beth Moore has been an outspoken advocate for and preacher to those victimized by abuse.  To these women, a parable may be the closest thing they’ve seen to a healthy relationship with God or anyone else.  So in that sense, princesses can be empowering.

And I’m all for the metaphor, but this pink blah blah and “crowns are for girls” mess sends the wrong message.  In his Narnia Chronicles, CS Lewis made ALL of his main characters royal (fighting royals, too), and they were kings and queens: children called to grow up into something.  Not prancing prisses learning to play infant into their pre-teens.  Besides, princess makes me think of this situation:

Is there ANY conversation in which that movie doesn’t apply, I ask you.

In the Bible, we’re told everyone casts their crowns at Christ’s feet.  Crowns, not pinked-up knock-off beauty pageant tiaras.  There’s something about this phenomenon that leaves out girls that like to play in the dirt.  Girls that read.  Girls that like to dress up as princesses, as pirates, or like my daughter, as anything orange.  We hear these messages in comments like, “she’s a total girl” or “he’s all boy.”  It’s deflating.  And it can be confusing for kids growing up within the Driscollian confines of gender expression.  Gender may be our God-given biology and while there are roles that cannot be transposed (I could never father children, for instance), much of the rest of it is mess we heap upon the young until they conform to our expectations.  So if you don’t like that ballet class, you’re not a real girl.  And if you do, then you’re not a real boy.  Thanks, princesses.

A couple days ago, our babysitter used “princess” as a term of endearment for our 3 year old daughter.  Our girl told me later she didn’t like it.  “I don’t wan be a pwincess,” were her exact words.  I asked her what she wanted to be and she responded, “Me.”  That’s a girl who knows her mind.  That’s a girl who knows she is loved.

Unlike these poor, unfortunate souls:

Should we help them? Yes, indeed.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 15, 2011 5:12 am

    I knew I could count on you.
    I have been in a feisty mood this week.

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