Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Of Princesses and Princes
I'm spending some time in Walt Disney World this week and I've been ooh-ing and ah-ing for days now. Over the fireworks. Over the rides. Over the characters. And it led to a discussion with my son that reminded me in many ways of discussions and comments others make about romance novels. My son's premise is that the world of Disney princesses give young girls an unrealistic view of love.
I've been thinking about that since he said it and realized that this is exactly what a lot of people think about romance novels. Over the last couple of months, there's been a huge brouhaha about an article published in the UK about the deleterious affects that reading romances can have on women. A scholarly article, it claimed that women could be addicted and have unrealistic expectations about true relationships.
But could those comments about the princesses be true? Do they mislead girls? Us? Well, I don't think so.
Let me point out what I think is the best of our favorite Disney princesses: Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" -- Hmmmm. A young woman sacrifices herself to save her father and ends up seeing the true man instead of the beast her captor has become -- thereby falling in love with him and saving them both.
In the other stories, young women fight injustice, prejudice, social and class differences, racial differences, dysfunctional families, their own weaknesses and sometimes even magical powers. They overcome obstacles, help others and even sing their way to the happy ending they earn.
And that's what happens in the romance novels I write and you read. We know the happy-ever-after is coming, but we follow, we become, we believe in the heroine's journey as she struggles to find her prince (charming, brooding, dangerous, sexy, handsome, rugged or whatever!). We hope for her along her way, we cheer her steps forward and share her hurt and disappointment when things go bad. And best of all, we are thrilled when that happy ending is in her grasp.
So POOH!!! (no pun intended!) on those naysayers who warn us off of Disney princesses or romance novels -- there's nothing wrong with little girls (or grown women) dreaming about princes who rise to the challenge and princesses who overcome the odds to attain their dreams.
While I'm in Disney World enjoying the make-believe and the dare-to-dream and reveling in storytelling at its best, I'm wondering who your favorite princess is? Clearly mine is Belle because I simply love 'beauty and the beast' stories (and I write them, too!). But who is your favorite one -- and why? I'm going to choose one winner from those who post and they will receive a special Disney princess souvenir (and include a signed book of my own, too!). I'll choose the winner on Friday, August 19 - so post away!
Terri is still celebrating the release of the third, and final, book in her STORM trilogy - MISTRESS OF THE STORM. Kensington has also released the novella that began the stories, A STORM OF LOVE, in digital formats. For more info about Terri, her current releases and her upcoming books and events, stop by her website.