The Contemporary Princess

May 4, 2012 14 Comments

I have a guilty pleasure to confess: Fairy-tales are still my favorite kind of stories. Ever since I was a little girl and my mom’s family introduced me to a red-headed young girl who dreams of life on land and has the voice of an angel. After that, infatuation with this girl living fairy-tale world, and also a princess, set in; everything from the songs to the clothing, or so I am told. Naturally, I have no memory of that. It isn’t just the dashing hero who travels through fire and thorns to bestow a kiss on his love in the only hope of saving her (although that kind of heroics don’t ruin the effect) or the pretty music but the world in which it takes us into that captures us as a viewer. Really it is a lot more than that.

THE CONTEMPORARY PRINCESS. Talking about the change in the modern fairy tales and princesses. All text is © Rissi JC

There is a magical quality to the world we journey to, and a glimpse of a world we’ll never know. Today that world is more than just a girl with a pretty face and a guy who arrives in time to rescue her. No, indeed, according to our culture, the girl can disarm the bandits, reject what she knows is the poisoned apple and take back her kingdom all while still managing to look pretty as a picture. Talk about, all in a day’s work, huh?

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Female empowerment is just one taboo pc subject that continues to get attention. So then, the question, if we don’t want to present the woman as the “weaker” sex; why do we still love it when at the end credits, the guy still rescues the girl?

Or most of the time that adage proves true…  

Happily-ever-after has been getting a facelift of sorts. It seems like we cannot look at upcoming box office listings without seeing headlines about the next fairy-tale re-telling. It’s a trend that I’m obsessing over. Ten years ago a little movie no one thought anything off appeared on the big-screen. It was The Princess Diaries. It tells from story of the 21st century teen Mia Thermopalis who is not just a social leper but also learns she’s actually a real-life princess. Vaguely do I remember when first I saw it. It was Christmas and my parents had bought it for Liz and I. Since we were celebrating, but it wasn’t Christmas day and my dad was late getting home from work, we watched it. Needless to say, we were about to die with anticipation because we’d been promised that we could watch the movie; and after all, it was about a princess! What more could any young girl wish for?   

More recently, I saw Mirror Mirror in which Snow (the princess) is a delicate beauty unafraid of defending herself. In this depiction, writers capture a nearly perfect female (princess) protagonist. She’s pretty, from the inside out, has class, knows how to defend herself. Both Mia and Snow are strong characters albeit very different. Neither one is a bad influence as young women. Any female protagonist today presents as a woman who may not need a man but there’s always love in the end.

Confidant, strong and career is the modern woman today. It isn’t wrong to be independent so long as we learn to accept and ask for help when and if we need it. I actually believe it to be something “good” when young women embrace this. Today’s world almost demands that we, as a modern young lady, be of an independent mind. My upbringing gives me a perspective in which I try (notice the emphasis) to see things as a girl who is not of the world but must survive in it. Being true to ourselves is not always easy.  

Adapting in a world that may intimidate or ridicule us because we believe things should happen in the “proper” order (Biblical) or we have a conviction to stay home isn’t an easy decision. But God doesn’t promise us that. Christ sees in us a precious child no matter what we chose, and our Father is the King of Kings. Let’s see Hollywood top that – that’s no fairy-tale. 

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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14 Comments

  • Alexandra May 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Awesome post, as always. I couldn't agree more. Although I do like a spunky heroine (can't stand Princess Buttercup in the scene with the ROUS's…I just want to scream "It's OK to pick up the sword and STAB the stupid thing before he kills Westley!" :-)), this whole reimagined princess/heroine thing can really get annoying. Anyway, fantastic post!

  • Rissi May 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you so much, Alexandra.

    I always like the "spunky heroine" no matter if she is stereotyped or not – if the girl is simply screaming in the back-ground, it can get really annoying! Yelling at them, "DO SOMETHING!" sometimes does seem appropriate. That is fact. ;-)

    I am so glad you stopped in to share your opinions: thanks!

  • Rachel Danielle May 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    If you must confess then so shall I: fairy tales are my favorite too! I have seen the Princess Diaries, but not Mirror Mirror yet. And I do agree:sometimes you want to shout at princess characters to "DO something." We ought to be princesses that DO something, not just waiting around for Prince Charming to come. We should realize we already have a REAL Prince- our Heavenly Prince, and head out on our at adventures at his side!

  • Rissi May 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Aren't they always so fun!? I just love 'em. The trend seems to be bringing them back; there is a current #1 hit show, two new shows that are works-in-progress but are re-tellings of a fairytale, and there are several movies invading the box office. I am so excited. =D

    The Princess Diaries is awesome. I haven't watched it in years but I so enjoy it.

    It saddens me to know that there are girls in the world who become "desperate" to be just married and say "yes" to the first guy who asks – I look at this time in my life as something to celebrate not be depressed. I want to be as ready as I can be to become a wife – and that means taking this time to grow in a relationship with Christ.

    Thanks for stopping in, Rachel – I am glad you did!

  • Jeanine (Wayfaring Girl) May 5, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Fairy tales are and always will be to me––brilliance. And I'm always happy when they come back "into style". There is much inherently they speak to in our lives but I wont get all philosophical on you haha…I just love this post and as much as I love the girl kicking a*%, well, I still love when that prince rides up to save her too. I'll have a mixture of both, please :)) And keep 'em coming along.

    Jeanine :)

  • Rissi May 5, 2012 at 3:24 am

    YAY! Jeanine is baaack! It was great to see your name here again. Looking forward to your blogs and thoughts again. =)

    Right there with you, Jeanine – I think fairy-tales are wonderful, and have more to them than just a pretty girl and Prince. I think Mirror Mirror captured a great balance. There were flaws, yes, but overall, Snow was as classy as she was able to defend herself and yet, they portrayed her as a girl who could still be rescued by(use the help of) the prince. Fun movie.

    I cannot wait for all of the awesome new shows and movies up-coming that are based on fairy-tales; they all sound and look really interesting.

    Lovely to "chat" with you again. =)

  • AnnaKate May 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    What a lovely post. All of this is so true, and something my mom and I have actually been talking about a good bit lately. As I've gotten older, I'd tried to make sure I have a good grasp on my beliefs, and this is something I've spent a lot of thought on.

    Femininity is a tricky issue when it comes to discussing independence, but I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. I personally believe that while marriage is a beautiful thing and it is NOT wrong at all to dream about it, we can carry it to far. We need to be secure in our identity in Christ far before we begin seeking our soul mate. The secret to finding the meaning of biblical femininity is not in our relationship to men but in our relationship to God!

    Again, fantastic post. Would you mind if I linked back to it at some point on my blog? I really want to share this with my readers. =)

    Thanks, Rissi!

  • Ella May 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I think that Girls need to let guys act as gentlemen.
    Just because a guy helps you doesn't mean he thinks your inferior.
    also all girls should act as ladys.
    Thanks again!

  • Rissi May 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    AnnaKate – aw! Thank you. I appreciate your kind words. This post kind of came out of nowhere. I wrote it up Thurs. and wanted something that I could post the following day, so I went for this. =)

    I don't disagree with that because I know some girls who are being raised in the mind-set that they'll marry (or they are simply "desperate" to be married once they finish their education because that is how they were raised) and be a homemaker. I have no issue with that if that is what you choose but I also think that we should be able to be independent thinkers without becoming women who "hate" men or think that we don't need them as a helpmate. That is not how God intended things to be.

    I agree with you: We should be sure of who we are in Christ – that is what I want this time in my life to be about. I want to be as sure as I can about my spiritual relationship before I even consider if I should start a relationship with someone because in the end, the former is more important.

    Like anyone else, I have thought about being married or what the guy will be like that I'll someday speak the words "I Do" to, but I still have much to learn. =)

    Link: Absolutely you may. I don't mind that at all so long as it is linked back. Thank you for asking, and I am honored that you'd want to share this.

    Ella – thank you. I really appreciate you reading it. =)

    Women do need to let the man be a gentleman but today so many think they are "super girl" and don't need the help of anyone – especially if they think it makes them look weak. That is such a cliche. Acting like a lady has become rare but it worries me how far we've come from that. I don't think we should still be dressing in bonnets and petticoats but I do think we could benefit from remembering the manners that were from such an era.

    Great thoughts all! =)

  • Gwendolyn Gage May 6, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Great post, Rissi! A woman trying to prove she can do anything a man can do (while performing the role of wife/mother/homemaker) is only setting herself up for unhappiness and frustration.

  • Rissi May 6, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Thank you, Gwendolyn!

    I totally agree with you: We cannot do everything a man can, nor should we strive to.

    So glad you stopped by! =)

  • Charity May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I think that a lot of movies try and have it both ways — a strong woman but also one that must be rescued. That just doesn't work, at least not for me. I remember being excited when Maid Marion rode out into battle in the new "Robin Hood," thinking how incredible it would be if she got the bad guy — and then Robin had to come in and save her. If she isn't going to be strong on the battlefield, don't put her there!

    I love the fact that there are so many strong women in fantasy and film now. But the men should become even MORE amazing as a result — if she is that cool, how cool does the guy who wins over her heart need to be?

    I can't do everything myself, and I don't want to. Admitting that doesn't make me weak, it reveals that I am aware of the gender roles that God gave us for a reason.

  • Rissi May 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hollywood does try to do it both ways – unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), they usually fail.

    I don't think it is so much "bad" if a strong woman needs help (or rescue) in the end so much as it is if she cannot accept it. Most see the "rescue" as romantic and therefore, they "need" that as a "warm, fuzzy" feeling to close out what has been a good story. (That moment that we can gush and sigh over is always popular in film.)

    Excellent point, Charity: How cool does the guy get to be if the girl is such a great character? That bears thought. =)

    Accepting help does not make us weak – it is important to recognize that. If we don't, then we'll end up being very miserable. God intended otherwise.

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