Within the past few years, there has been a surge in the feminist movement. Both men and women have come together to, among other things, fight the trend of little girls and young women alike feeling inadequate and self-conscious about themselves and their abilities. Some say these insecurities are a result of oppression from the patriarchy. Some blame a lack of a support system during childhood. While these things may very well be contributing factors, I place the blame entirely on Cinderella. And no, I do not have a problem with her falling in love with a guy she has only met once, or even her needing to be saved by a man. However it happened, Cinderella was able to get her happy ending and I say, “Good for her.” For all we know, she didn’t even like the prince but she used her womanly wiles to manipulate him and seize the opportunity to get what she wanted. My problem with Cindy, and pretty much every Disney princess for that matter, is the castle.
Ask any little girl under the age of 5 what they want to be when they grow up, and over half will for sure say she wants to be a princess. That’s not a novel observation but let’s take a closer look into the mind of a toddler. Why is princess-hood so appealing? I will go ahead and put all you worried feminists at ease and reassure you that I do not think it is the royal romance. Three year olds don’t care about the Prince. So then what about power? Sure, young children don’t like to be told what to do but most are not ambitious enough to dream of world domination. So what are we left with? The only things left which differentiate a princess from the average Joe are the castle and the pretty dress. Personally, that that’s all I really care about anyway. Disney and other fairy tales have defined a princess as someone who lives in a place with stone turrets and a really big closet full of ball gowns. What’s not to love?
This is where we encounter the crux of the dilemma. Little girls waste their first few years planning how they will spend their lives in their very own castle, only to grow up and learn that there are actually a relatively small amount of inhabitable castles in the world. Unless you are a child of the Duchess of Cambridge, your odds of living in a palace are almost impossibly unachievable. The first dreams of little girls all over the world are crushed by a simple fact of real estate. I don’t know about you, but this was definitely the beginning of my anger at the world.
It’s a problem that can and should be easily fixed. And I’m not just being entitled. Yes, I want to live in a castle, but it doesn’t have to be anything too grand. I’m talking about a nice affordable one-bedroom castle with a single turret and just a small alligator in the moat. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask. After all, if living in a castle was more accessible, little girls wouldn’t have to have their very first aspirations crushed by societal norms. They get a little bit longer to believe that they can achieve anything to which they set their minds. And maybe this hope and childlike wonder that Disney princesses preach to children will stick around a little bit longer. That seems like a worthy cause to me. So stand for something bigger than yourself and join the fight for more castles. Do it for the children.