There was an article in Saturday’s Guardian called The Princess Problem. Written by Nick Duerden, it’s about his uneasiness with his daughters’ fascination with all things, you know, pink and sparkly. Fair enough. But then part-way through, an author named Jerramy Fine pops up to tell him that girls grow up wanting to be princesses. She says, “It is something all girls feel at an instinctive level. They don’t continue to obsess us because Disney endlessly peddles it. They continue to obsess us because it is truly, deeply what all little girls want.”
I admit I didn’t read the article originally. I’m as bored of the whole pink/sparkly discussion as I am of anything Royal Wedding-related, but when my friend Alex tweeted about it, I read Fine’s comments – and her reply to Alex on Twitter: “you can’t deny that princess fixations existed well before Disney – for centuries in fact…” and have been thinking about them since.
All girls? It’s what ALL little girls want? I asked Harry if the girls in his class want to be princesses and he said yes, they do. All but one. So not “all” then. (And that was a pretty small survey – I think there’s ten girls in H’s class. When I started naming names, he wasn’t sure about a couple of others either.)
I was fascinated by Princess Diana, was glued to the TV on 29 July 1981, collected memorabilia and went to see the dress when it toured the country, but I don’t remember wanting to be a princess. I do however remember wanting to be the blonde one from Abba, Pamela Ewing and a Charlie’s Angel (I would’ve preferred to be Cheryl Ladd, but my sister was blonde so I got to be Kate Jackson).
About twenty years ago, I regularly looked after four children – two boys and two girls – and I don’t remember the girls wanting to be princesses. Before that I was a nanny (okay, a “Mother’s Help”) to a particularly “girly” girl, but I don’t remember her wanting to be a princess. I don’t remember my three female cousins being princess-obsessed. My aunty – who is quite the royalist – has never mentioned wanting to be a princess, nor, as far as I can recall, did my mum. I think if I’d asked my nan if she dreamed of being a princess she’d have laughed in my face. But maybe I’m just remembering it wrong.
So did YOU want to be a princess? Tell me. I’m dying to know.