Friday, September 21, 2012

Of Princes and Princesses

When I was a little girl I like to pretend I was a prince. It wasn't so much that I wanted to be a boy, no, I just wanted to be a prince. Other times I pretended that I was a princess. In my mind I knew that boys were princes and girls were princesses, but sometimes it seemed like they were just two different jobs. When I was a prince I was still a girl, I just thought of myself as more of a warrior. To me that was the job of a prince and a girl could be a prince too. In fact, I often wanted to be a prince even though I really enjoyed being called Princess El. Even to this day my immediate reaction is to think of myself as a prince. Princes seemed so cool and suave. Princesses seemed so cute and kind. As someone who has been called a cute little sweetie for most of her life, cool was the biggest thing I wanted to be seen as.
I would sing along with songs and change the pronouns so I could be singing about a guy instead. As I got older I sang the regular pronouns, but in my head I was still singing to a man, just using feminine pronouns.
In my daydreams of being a rockstar I still got all the men, even when I used "she" and not "he."
I thought nothing of referring to myself by male pronouns in songs because I was still a girl inside and out, the fact that I used "he" didn't seem to matter as much to me.
Like I said, Prince and Princess were just different jobs.

When I was younger I read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede.

 The main character Cimorene is a princess who isn't very "princess like." She's tall with jet black curly hair, she wants to learn fencing and magic and latin, not etiquette. I loved her to pieces. In my mind a princess should be able to wield a sword, when I played I certainly did. This is where more of the prince mentality came in. To me there were princesses, warrior princesses, and princes. Sometimes i was a warrior princess but this conjoured a more barabric image in my head and I was anything but barbaric. I wanted to be classy, smooth, respected. Again, that image was a prince and, when I played, princes could be girls.

Back to Cimorene in "Dealing with Dragons." Cimorene become the princess of a female dragon named Kazul. Kazul later becomes the king of dragons. Cimorene at first thinks she means she will become queen of dragons but Kazul corrects her. In the dragon world, gender does not mean diddly when it comes to kings and queens because they are actually jobs to be filled. She even informs Cimorene that there hasn't been a Queen of Dragons for many years because not many Dragons enjoy the job.
This was a novel concept to me and I didn't even recognize my own playtime staring me straight in the face.
In fact, dragons choose their own gender once they reach a certain age, which reminded me of the show Lloyd in Space.

In the Season three ninth episode "Neither Boy nor Girl" we are introduced to the character Zoit. Zoit is esentially a purple blob with no distinguishing female or male features.

The one in the dress is Zoit, and no, that's not an indication of his/her gender or gender preference.

Zoit's people only choose their gender upon their thirteenth birthday but before they are told this Lloyd and his friends go crazy trying to figure out what Zoit is. The problem is Zoit likes comic books AND shopping. Zoit has stickers of robots AND unicorns on his/her notebook.
The rest of the episode the girls try to push Zoit into being a girl and the boys try to push Zoit into being a boy. They realize that it's wrong to do that and, on Zoit's birthday, give gifts indicating their support if he/she chooses the opposite gender from them.
How truly interesting that Disney broached the subject of choosing ones gender or gender fluidity by giving us this character. Being free from gender sterotypes Zoit is free to choose their own interests and identify as they choose.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating raising your children as not having a gender because for humans I believe gender is inherent, no matter what your sex is. If you identify as a woman, you're a woman. If you identify as a man, you're a man. If you identify ad neither or a mix of the two, good for you. I find that a bit confusing seeing as how I'm cisgendered but if it's what you are then more power to you. I don't believe gender is a social construct, but there still seems to be a push for pink loving, innocent, unicorn and rainbow obsessing princesses and blue based, fighting, rough, dragon obsessed princes.
I think it's fine if a girl is a "pink" girl.
I myself have always been a "blue" girl. I say this because I have my moments where I love stereotypical manly persuits, but I also indulge in my femininty and "girly" interests and persuits.

So whatever gender you are, do not feel burdened by the title of prince and princess. If you are a girl that feels you are a boy prince, that's fine. If you're like me, a female prince, that's lovely too.
The same goes for boys. Play in the ways that make you happy.

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