Not Every Girl Is A Princess And That’s Fine

not every girl is a princess

Ever since I was a child, I was told by acquaintances and strangers alike that all women are beautiful. “Every girl is a princess,” they promised.

That made me very happy. I thought princesses were great – they lived in castles and got to eat lots of cake! They also had one-dimensional personalities and a tendency to be ditzy dependent idiots, but I didn’t see that then.

I was more interested in their glamorous lifestyles than their pretty faces, so it never really occurred to me that being a princess was a privilege reserved for slim white girls with long hair and full lips.

not every girl is a princess

But as I grew older, I began realising that not every girl was as pretty as the next. And so did everyone else. There was the chubby girl in my class who got made fun of for resembling the Michelin man.

Then that lanky ginger was dubbed “braces” and the nickname stuck so well that everyone forgot her real name. I even experienced the taunting first hand during my awkward phase, in which I simultaneously sported a scraggly bob, acne and unflattering glasses.

How was it possible that some remained princesses, whilst others were suddenly confined to the lower rungs of the primary school social ladder? I was confused so I did what any smart little girl would do. I turned to magazines to seek some answers.

Becoming a Princess

Luckily for me they were filled with “helpful” advice for confused tweens like myself. Overflowing with glossy pictures of smiling models, they regurgitated those childhood whispers – “every girl is a princess”. Or she can be, if she buys this tinted moisturizer and that volumising mascara. And if she eats more salad.

They dangled the ideal of being a beautiful princess in front of my face. “Just one more step and you’ll be beautiful!” they cheered me on. I had always wanted to be a princess, albeit more literally – I wanted to live in a cottage in the woods like Snow White, despite my distaste for insects, solitude and darkness.

beautiful 1

Even so, the princess label appealed to me and before long I started following the magazines’ advice. I started wearing makeup when I was twelve, which seems normal nowadays but definitely wasn’t in the small town I lived in.

I felt betrayed. Why did I constantly have to worry about my outward appearance? Why was being a princess such hard work if every girl was one?

Makeup and Supermodels

Skip forward a decade and I still harbour similar feelings. Why did everyone lie to me? Why do they keep doing it? And, most importantly, why aren’t we calling their bullshit?

The media gets away with insane flip-flopping. On the one hand, they insist that every woman is beautiful. On the other hand, they keep bombarding us with advice on how to mould our bodies and faces to fit the sculpture of the ideal woman, as prescribed by them.

That makes no sense whatsoever! Either we are all beautiful in our diversity or there is one beauty ideal, which only a very limited number of women can actually adhere to.

beautiful 3

The glamazons who grace magazine covers are statistical anomalies, not faithful representations of modern beauty. Of course we can manipulate our looks to an extent – that’s why the giant beauty industry insists on making us believe that we can all become beautiful.

It’s possible, they say. But only if we use their products and devote all our time to transfiguring into pathetic Victoria’s Secret angel caricatures. Yet the truth is that most of us will never resemble supermodels.

Inside, Outside

When it comes to inner characteristics like intelligence we – and everyone around us – seem to be willing to confess our shortcomings. We all recognise and accept that not everyone can be the next Nikola Tesla. In fact, most of us readily admit to many less desirable traits such as impatience, jealousy or cowardice.

The funny thing is that lying about our character would be much easier than pretending that we can all be beautiful. A passerby can clearly see that you are short and cross-eyed, so telling them that you are a Miss World finalist will be met with ridicule.

im a princess tina fey

But they have no idea that you cannot tell a joke to save your life and might believe you are a stand-up comedian until proven otherwise. So why doesn’t the media prompt us to work on our character instead?

It’s simple – because they cannot capitalise on making us beautiful on the inside. They can only advertise so many workshops and self-help books before people realise that they all amount to the same thing.

Beautifying serums are a whole other story. Maybe putting snake venom on our faces will finally make us beautiful? Maybe that newly reformulated caviar cream with 24k gold flakes will?

Mission Impossible

The sad truth is that even if we were to invest all of our time and resources into being beautiful, we could not succeed in complying with the ridiculously unattainable beauty standard created by the media. As Cindy Crawford once said: “Even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford in the morning.”

In other words, even the women whose physical form we are told to aspire to have to be made up and Photoshopped almost beyond recognition to look like “princesses”. No one can embody the current beauty trend without hard work, assistance and digital alterations.

beautiful 4

That’s exactly the point. If the ideal were attainable, women would not be willing to throw away ridiculous amounts of money in vain attempts to get a tiny step closer to achieving a goal they can never reach.

Calling Their Bluff

Stunning physical beauty, just like incredibly high intellect, is a privilege given to a chosen few. The sooner we stop pretending that everyone can be physically flawless, the better.

There are so many amazing qualities for women to aspire to – independence, wisdom or courage to name a few – that shining a spotlight on physical beauty alone is awfully limiting.

beautiful 6

It’s just not true that “every girl is a princess” – not in the superficial physical sense, anyway. As unfair as it seems, some women will always be more Ursula than Ariel. Internal beauty is another matter altogether, because not even a heart of gold can save your face from being deeply asymmetrical.

The sooner we realise that the universality of female beauty is just a convenient lie repeated to us by profit-making businesses and well-meaning aunties, the sooner we will get rid of our feelings of inadequacy and finally make space for the things that really matter in life.

Instead of concentrating on their appearance, maybe we should tell little girls something else – like “every girl is worthy of love and respect, regardless of what she looks like”.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know – as always I’d love to hear your opinions and have an open discussion in the comments below!

  • This is a wonderful post – so relevant. Thanks for sharing xo

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting Kirsti!! That means a lot to me 😀 Really glad you enjoyed the post <3

  • Sabrina Barbante

    Great post. As an activist in feminist groups such as “I am wonderful” (Against gender stereotypes) I’ve been reflecting and discussing about this issues. I always say that the first mistake in female education is telling little girls they can be princesses, instead of being queens. Princess are those who are perfect in complying rules (aesthetics and personality features). Queens set the rules of their life, queens learn how to be at the very center of their perception of beauty, relations and happiness.

    • That’s a wonderful perspective. I never realized that princesses are indeed always seconds… nice one!

      • Sabrina Barbante

        😉

  • Maria Salomonsen

    Very well written.
    /Maria @ http://momentumtravels.com

  • It’s so true. But I’d also add that we’ve become the enemy – sometimes turning on other women and judging them. Women in the public eye who look bad in a photo for example.

    Or this recent Taylor Swift spat with Kim K – so many women ready to judge Taylor on social media. I really think women need to stand together too.

    • I totally agree!! A very good point and one I will definitely address in another post in the future. Girl power is a real thing and should be celebrated <3 When it comes to celebrities I think we all too often forget they're people too, which is sad to see!!

  • it’s true. what I don’t like is when women judge other women for their looks. Recently I saw a great dance show. a woman behind me criticized the dancers’ bottoms instead of complimenting their dancing skill. we’re all brainwashed by media what look is acceptable and what is not unfortunately. I’m ok with my body but when I was younger I too wanted to be slimmer. now I just want to be fit and healthy

  • The Solivagant Soul

    I personally think that conditioning little girls into thinking that they ate supposed to become princeses will turn them into girls who want to be princesses while they are small, the kardashians when they are teens and Jennifer Lopez when they are on their 30s. In general, it’s a way of creating a generation with such little self steem that they will always keep on consuming the last product. Or the best make up. Or that amazing drink. The good part about it is that for those of us who have never been a princess, once the struggle was overcome, those expectations forced us to grow a personality and over time, nothing can beat that.

    • What a wonderful comment!! I definitely agree – low self esteem is very dangerous and not enough is being done to ensure girls grow up to be confident young women.

      There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, as long as we understand that it’s not the be-all and end-all of life. There are other more important qualities we should be pursuing!

      Once we understand that, we’ll be free to spend less time worrying about our weight/hair/skin and focus one becoming well rounded individuals <3

  • Hayley Rubery

    Girl I LOVE this post so much! We’re all beautiful regardless of how we look – it’s about how we feel inside, confidence is a beautiful thing when we let it shine! And FYI girl YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL OKAY! <3

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

    • Thanks so much Hayley!!! Nice to have the endorsement of a kickass blogger such as yourself 😀 <3 And yes, confidence is definitely beautiful – something we should celebrate a lot more than we currently do as a society!!

  • Totally agree! I hated the whole “princess” idea when I was a kid. Never had much interest in either clothes, or Barbie dolls. A woman can be beautiful without having to follow antiquated stereotypes about what is and what is not feminine. We are more than what a glossy magazine would have us be. If you want to be a princess that’s fine. But if you don’t, then that should be fine too. Enough with the rules already 😉