Princess Culture: 2/23

Is daddy’s princess brave and good?

Young children, particularly girls, are prone to fall in love with fantasies, including the idea of being a princess. Princesses in children’s movies and stories embody an alluring and enduring ideal of the feminine as valued for her beauty, passive, and awaiting princely rescue. Since the damsel in distress is so far from the ideal for capable adult womanhood, princess culture is under attack by parents for fostering unhealthy notions of beauty, girls, and womanhood.

As a father, how do you feel about media portrayals of dads playing with their princess-obsessed kid? (Check out The Best and Worst Gender Representations in Super Bowl Commercials for examples.) How do you genuinely connect through your children’s fantasies about being a princess?

Do you have an unusual story about your child’s infatuation with princess culture?

How can we talk about princesses in ways that prepare our kids to make a conscious choice about how they view princess culture, it’s effects on relationships, conformity, femininity, equality, and agency, and the peer pressure that often surrounds these issues?

How do you talk to your boys about fantasy princesses and real girls? What are the ramifications of princess culture on our children’s future relationships?

Have you ever had a crush on a female protagonist in a Disney animated film? What non-Disney princesses, in your opinion, are underrated, and why?

What positive images of princesses do you draw on in books, fairy tales, movies for inspiring your own little princess?

The Good Life, in partnership with Dads & Families on The Good Men Project, is seeking your submissions for an upcoming series on Princess Culture. Email your essay or article to Justin Cascio at by Saturday, February 23 for consideration.

Upcoming themes of interest to parents, on Violence in Video Games and Princess Culture, will run on The Good Life beginning March 4.


Update:  The series on Princess Culture has run on The Good Life. Want to contribute to the conversation? Email your pitch to Justin Cascio at (Edited 5/15/13)


Read more Calls For Submissions.

About The Good Life @ GMP

"The Good Life" is asking men of the 21st century, What does your "good life" look like? Weekly themes, new content daily. Follow us here on The Good Men Project, on Twitter @GMPGoodLife, and Facebook.


  1. Teaching young girls to feel entitled and privileged, princess culture is toxic. From elaborate expensive weddings to the expectation a man will die for her and protect her….

  2. I tell my sons to stay away from princesses. Princess culture, in particular as defined by Walt Disney who generally defines the princess culture in America, is a confusing mix of contradictory messages that at the end of day is meant to do one thing-make oodles of money. Any pretense that the purveyors of princess culture are concerned with presenting princess culture as a benefit to culture at large is a just that a pretense.The companies that promote princess culture, my little Pony, Bratz,etc. have too much invested in keeping alive the princess myth to let it go.This follows a pattern whereby many unaware ego-driven women are always trying to have their cake and eat it to. For instance, women want to be seen as independent but want to keep all of the perks of chivalry.What is truly fascinating is that these women have no clue how much resentment, confusion and anger harboring these attitudes engenders in men.

  3. My daughter is 6 and advanced for her age in math and reading, and most everything else.

    She does get into the princess stuff, something I neither encourage nor discourage. I do find, however, that there is some princess stuff that isn’t so bad and I try to steer her in that direction. Also, the new My Little Pony has some good stuff.

    One thing I don’t encourage, however, is the idea that the princess holding the sword is somehow better than the one who does not. In other words, I don’t equate holding the sword with being brave.


  4. I’m not a parent yet but I have concerns about princess culture that have nothing to do with gender in addition to the standard feminist concerns. Is princess culture really healthy for a democratic society? Princess culture is based on a fantasy version of the Medieval Europe. Medieval Europe was a very hierarchical society. Its the antithesis of democratic values let alone feminist values.

  5. John Schtoll says:

    First of all, you start out with a premise that I believe (having been a boy at one time and kinda still am) that ‘particularly girls’ in your first sentence is wrong. Boys (or at least I did) had very strong fantasies about being a fighter pilot , in fact, all the way to the point of getting my pilots license at 20. Unfort , my eyes was good enough for private pilots license but not good enough for being a mil pilot.

    While my fantasy had a chance of being true, it was just a fantasy when I was a boy, nothing more. Most if not all boys have fantasies about things they have no chance of being, the knight in shining armor etc.

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