In writing The Year of Dan Palace, I couldn’t help but include a scene that has Dan sitting in a restaurant across the table from a teenage girl and her father. The teenage girl is wearing a shirt that says “Princess” in sparkles across her chest. (The scene goes on to illustrate the curious practice of wearing a shirt with writing across the breasts when not welcoming sets of eyes on the breasts, but for now I want to focus on the word “Princess.”)
A year or two ago, I heard a woman say on some show or other, “Every woman is a princess and should be treated as such.”
I don’t know anyone, personally, who would say this kind of thing, but then again, I don’t know a lot of people. If TV is even a semi-accurate reflection of modern society, I’m sure there are those out there who really do twitter from behind glossed, pouting lips that they have an inner princess who needs feeding.
“Princess” is a misnomer for some of today’s girls and women who believe, for whatever reason, their vaginas entitle them to automatic privileges and special treatment. If you’ve ever seen the show “Bridezillas” on the WE channel, you’ve witnessed a few prime examples of this recent (and, with any luck, fast-passing) behavioral trend.
These girl-women yell at their bridesmaids, insult their future husbands, stomp and flail and pout, and use as an excuse that it is their day. (1. Note: a wedding is not the woman’s day, but a celebration of the union between two people. 2. A little secret someone should let the men in on is that a woman who behaves that way over a wedding will continue to behave that way until the divorce is final.)
To be fair, some of the women featured on “Bridezillas” are simply picky and detail oriented, and for what they’re paying, they should be. But many others are selfish and cruel, and their behavior obviously has little to do with isolated wedding-day expectations and a lot to do with this new insistence that sporting a set of breasts gives a girl-woman full license to be an asshole. [I really try not to swear in my blogs, but this is the most fitting word to use, here.] And if being concerned with planning the perfect event is what brings out the evil in the Bridezilla girls, what’s the excuse used by the girls on shows like the “Real World,” the “Bad Girls Club,” “Big Brother,” “Jersey Shores,” and the rest?
A talk show I watched last year or the year before centered around this idea of being proud of what I find to be reprehensible and socially unacceptable behavior, and the woman being interviewed—who was not at all embarrassed to put herself out there as a speaker for all bitchy princesses—named as one of the rules of princess-dom a guideline that went something like this: “When a princess is walking on the sidewalk, she never moves for someone else.”
What happens when one princess gets in the way of another?
Princess bitches are so popular right now, as is bad male behavior (overblown arrogance, superiority complexes, fighting), that I hate to think of how this is affecting the behavior of the teenagers watching it, or influencing their idea of what it means to be “cool.” The idea that cruelty and meanness is “cool” is about as surprising to me as it was when I found out today’s high school girls are having sex because they want to be popular. When I was in high school, the last thing that made girls popular was having sex. (I mean, I’m sure it made them popular with boys who wanted to have sex, but that was about it.)
What I find most disappointing about these self-proclaimed princesses is that they’re ruining things for real women who for decades have been working toward being taken seriously and treated as equals to men. These days, the loudest female voice comes from those whose only interest seems to be living on a cloud-high pedestal with a whip in one hand and a pink-colored drink in the other, which they’ll greedily slurp from in between snide remarks. (And they neither poured—nor paid for—that drink, make no mistake.)
Diana, the most famous of princesses known to our generation, might have had her own small neuroses, but when she wasn’t lamenting her marriage to a man who never loved her or suffering from bulimia, she was helping clear mine fields and visiting underprivileged nations and dealing graciously with the public. She was not chest-bumping people on sidewalks, baring her teeth at society, or insisting she was the most important person ever in all of existence. Princess Diana had what today’s spoiled little girls with their false sense of entitlement are severely lacking: class.