Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bush Telegraph - The Princess Myth

Source Kick ass Princess Fiona

I had the briefest of exchanges with a bride buying a dress this week on the subject of Princesses.  A lot of non wedding industry readers may think that the interior of  Miss Bush is Princess Land,  the shop sprinkled with illusional glitter and delusional fairy dust.

My discussion  was more market research on my behalf - "would you like to be treated like a princess?" My bride - I would say late 20s/early 30s, London resident and business owner, marrying in cool and auspicious venue - said emphatically 'no'.

Reading around the princess fallacy I have found an interesting piece from a parenting blog - where the author, rather predictably,  is suggesting a parent counteracts the pervasive culture of the Disney Princess by posing six questions.( The subsequent arguments about the blog post discuss the facts regarding children and the influence it has on them - for those with small kids in your life)

Why do princesses always have to be rich?
Why do princesses always look alike?
Why do princesses always have to be pretty?
Don't you think princesses get bored waiting around all the time?
Why don't princesses ever learn how to do anything?
The constant assertion  that wedding dress shops 'make you feel like a Princess' - or ought to - and you should 'jolly well be one' adds to the anxiety for a lot of brides coming in for the first time to try a dress.
I would like to add the grown up questions the the Princess Myth questions
Why do princesses always have to be chaste?
Why do princesses have to be childless?
Why do princesses only have to marry just one prince?
Why do princesses have to be young?
Why do princesses have to be thin?
Why do princesses have to be heterosexual?
"The whole princess myth reinforces very specific ideas of femininity, passivity, body image,  as well as the desire to get married above and beyond any other desire" Source
Another bride that I met this week was torturing herself with worry about finding and buying a dress - believing that the above criteria are applied by us - either overtly or covertly!
Jane Shepherdson of Whistles hosted a recent fashion dinner honouring feminism ( Link to the Guardian coverage here ) which is very timely for me. and I have also been gripped by an overtly feminist and very funny blog Vagenda - (link here) The F word of feminism is rarely used in wedding world - the Guardian article states -
 "she (Jane Shepherdson) is also making a point: fashion is led by and driven by women, and yet feminism is rarely mentioned. This is an industry full of women who are passionate about their careers, as well as about clothes: how nice, to celebrate that."
Exchange fashion for wedding and there is the wedding industry. I have been ruminating on the role of the wedding dress shop, the expectations of the customer and the philosophy of the staff and it never occured to me to articulate and debunk the Princess Myth before.
I do not expect you to be a Princess and I will not treat you as such.  I do not expect you to conform to any of the above questions and I do believe that your wedding and dress is only part of your life. I want to help you feel beautiful and confident not make you Belle or Ariel.  It is possible to have wedding style and feminist substance...


  1. I recommend The Paper Bag Princess for all little girls to counter all the saccharine stories. When the princess eventually fights her way through to rescue her prince he says "Well you don't look much like a Princess". To which she retorts "Well you don't behave much like a Prince" and leaves him in the dragon's lair! Fabulous...

    1. That sounds bloody cool - will buy immediately for 4 yr old niece! x

  2. Awesome! I think the problem I may have had with that other shop I visited, was that they expected me to want to be a princess, and treated me as such, and made me look like a bit of an overgrown princess, but that isn't me at all, and I don't think they 'got' my humour. It was all very awkward. I want to look awesome, but I will always be more like Arya (Game of Thrones) in attitude, than any princess - Stick 'em with the pointy end! :)

    1. I am pleased you like the post - I was a tad worried about hitting the publish button and my mate has suggested that a good PR might have had a more chirpy ending to the piece. I do expect all of us to have dreams and visions about who are our heroines and how we want to look - just not all the same one. Will get back to dresses, brides and pictures very soon. ;) xxx

  3. Emma, this is why you are the thinking, feminist, fashion-forward bride's choice. Loved it.
    I hate that women are still sold the myth of being treated like a princess for a day when it comes to weddings. I don't want princess for a day (though I do want to look and feel beautiful and comfortable and radiant and like ME), I want respect and nurturing and joy every bloody day, thank you very much!
    Keep up the good work. Hx


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