Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pretty, Pretty Princess (...or not)

When I was an undergrad, one of the courses I was enrolled in my senior year was Communications 490; Theory of Female Beauty with Terri Russ, the author of Bitchin’ Bodies.
This was, by far, one of the most enlightening and engrossing classes (wow... that makes me sound waaaay too sophisticated) I ever had the pleasure of taking. Remember my modified Barbie doll? Yeah, those were the kinds of assignments we had in this class.

Totally. bad. ass. (ahh... that's better)

The wonderfully talented and eloquent (when she wants to be at least) Mandy recently wrote an article for The Examiner about Disney Princess movies and the unrealistic expectations the films create about love and relationships (not to mention gender roles and socially accepted behavior). Her article reminded me of my favorite assignment I had in Female Beauty – our final project.

Professor Russ was a big fan of vague assignments (something I would later realize was the best way to do an assignment). So all she told us to do was a “project of our choice including a research paper and creative element.”

I know. I thought that, too. What the hell am I supposed to do?

Well, after much deliberating and many a stiff drink later, I decided to do my project on princesses and the myths that surround them. If you want to know more on the base of my study, I have actually posted the paper I wrote for the assignment over at Nothing Rhymes with Orange, today. I must warm you it is an academic paper, albeit an entertaining one. (It was just about 8 pages long, so anyone who reads the whole thing gets a cookie.)

As for my creative element, I modified the Pretty, Pretty Princess board game to reflect what I thought were the real requirements for being a princess. Rather than collect colored pieces of plastic jewelry, players will collect items such as:

A teacup which you must hold with your pinky out for the remainder of the game. Being a princess means you must have impeccable etiquette and table manners at all times. No one likes a sloppy princess.

Dancing tights that must be worn over your socks. Princesses are ALWAYS invited to the prince’s balls and other public affairs. This means you must learn to dance. After all, you don’t want to be “that princess” with two left feet do you?

A book to balance on the top of your head for the rest of the game. Slouching is absolutely unacceptable if you wish to be a princess. Poor posture signifies poor upbringing. Do not shame your parents

A piece of lace to tie around your mouth. When you wear this piece, you are not allowed to speak. Remember, you should not speak unless you are spoken to. Do not cause a ruckus and do not disgrace your family name.

Of course one cannot be a woman in power without a man, right? So don’t forget to pick up the prince’s engagement ring. Congratulations! You snagged the poor sap!

However, you must beware of the Queen of Hearts. After all, no one wants to be queen. She old, haggard, and used up from being a baby machine for all those years.

How to win the game? You must achieve all areas of princess training (Etiquette, Culture, Posture, and Silence) plus gain the Prince’s engagement ring – but do not become the queen – and you’ve won the game! Now as you balance the book on your head, carefully hold the teacup, don your dancing tights, and show off your obnoxious multi-billion dollar ring – all without saying a word – take a look in the mirror and see at the REAL Pretty, Pretty Princess you have become.

(By the way, I am only allowing my future daughter to play this version of the game. It's more fun anyway.)


carissajaded said...

That sounds like an AWESOME class. And the game you created is cool too!!! I would NEVER win pretty pretty princess... But I would like to try!!!

Organic Meatbag said...

Jeney, you are a totally bad-ass princess...don't ever, ever change a thing!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I always loved those classes that focused on gender roles. Have you read THE MAD WOMAN IN THE ATTIC? It is a cool reference for similar subject matter.

GingerMandy said...

you are such a pretty pretty princess that i love and just wanna squeeze! now where is my tiara?

thanks for the link too :)