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The Contemporary Princess


I have a guilty pleasure to confess: Fairy-tales are still my favorite kind of stories. They have been ever since I was a little girl and my mom’s family introduced me to a red-headed young girl who dreamt of life on land and had the voice of an angel. After that, I was infatuated with this girl who was not just a beautiful figure in a fairy-tale world but a princess – 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. There is a magical quality to the world we journey to that gives its viewer a glimpse of a world we will never know. Today that world is more than just a girl with a pretty face and a guy who arrives in the knick of 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?

Female empowerment is just one taboo pc subject that has been gaining momentum ever since the 1900’s and the birth of the suffragette movement. So then, the question, if we do not 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…

Sometimes, they are just kissing in the rain, an open-ended acceptance that the girl who met the boy has indeed “accepted” him.

Happily-ever-after has been getting a facelift of sorts. It seems like we cannot page through the TV guide, pursue our favorite film database web page or look at upcoming box office listings without seeing headlines about the next fairy-tale re-telling about to invade our entertainment lives. It is a trend that I am obsessing over (in a healthy way, of course). 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 is 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 with my aunt’s family, it wasn’t Christmas day and my dad was late getting home from work needless to say, us girls were about to die with anticipation because we had been promised that we could watch the movie for the FIRST TIME that very night and we were ecstatic – after all, it was about a princess! What more could any young girl wish for? 

More recently, I saw Mirror Mirror in the theaters in which Snow (the princess) is a delicate beauty who is not afraid of defending herself against the people who would see her kingdom stolen from her. In this depiction, writers captured a nearly perfect female (princess) protagonist. She was pretty, from the inside out (as much as any Hollywood heroine can be), had class, knew how to defend herself and was, all-around extraordinary. Both Mia and Snow were strong characters albeit very different. Neither one are bad influences as young women. Any female protagonist today is presented as a woman who may not need a man but they are always in love with their male counterpart, a soul mate by story’s end. Mia’s story may be more uncertain as to whether or not she’ll say “I do” to her perfect guy but he is there as her ideal. Confidant, strong and career-minded 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, forward-thinking young lady be of an independent mind. Being raised by a different approach about things like dating and other “worldly” pursuits has given me a perspective in which I try (notice the emphasis) to see things from the perception of a girl who is not of the world but must survive in it. Being true to ourselves is not always easy. We whine about the things we hate about ourselves, boast about the talents we may have been blessed with and often forget that healthy pride and outright boasting are on opposite sides of a spectrum.

Adapting in a world that may intimidate or ridicule us because we believe things should happen in the “proper” order (Biblical) or perhaps we are convicted to stay home to raise our children is not an easy decision but God didn’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 is no fairy-tale. 
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Rissi
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14 comments:

  1. 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!

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  2. 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!

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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!

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  5. 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 :)

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  6. 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. =)

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  7. 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!

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  8. 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!

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  9. 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! =)

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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! =)

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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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    ReplyDelete

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