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.


Sonali said...

Terri, what a great post!

Reading about Walt Disney and and the Disney princesses took me down memory lane and reminded me of my childhood days. Back to the times when i used to listen to my mum read me Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast. Those princesses where my escape then and now my escapes are the romances that i read.

I also totally disagree with the article that reading these books give us an unrealistic perspective. In my opinion reading romances gives us an escape and brings us joy when we when we read about those happy endings.

My favorite princess would have to be Cinderella because despite all the unhappiness in her life while growing up she found her soul-mate and her happy ending.

scarlet wilson said...

Ohh, It's got to be Ariel, the mermaid and not just because she can swim underwater!
She was the first truly "rebellious" disney princess and for that I applaud her!

Desere said...

What a fun delightfully different post loved it !

Stories of princesses and princes are the most facinating once ever, I myself I am fan of Beauty and the Beast, it is my very favorite one reason being it holds a life lesson of nothing is always what is seems (dont judge a book by its cover) and also is shows that true love comes in every kind of form !

Your prise sounds so lovely and I thank you for the chance to win,again thank you so much for a really lovely post I had such fun reading it remembering all the wonderful tales I read as a child!


Jo's Daughter said...

I'm crazy about Beauty and the Beast's Belle.

She loves to read, like me. She has brown hair, like me. She doesn't care about a person's exterior & she's close to her family... What's not to like or admire about that :D

Saw the movie only yesterday & the songs are also very nice.

Pat Cochran said...

I love the Beauty and the Beast theme,
but my favorite version is the one CBS showed back in the 1980s. Daughter and
I watched it together, we loved Vincent!

Pat Cochran

ev said...

Cinderella is and always has been my favorite- every since childhood. I collect Cindy stuff. Being a step-child myself, I understood her pain and what she was going through at the time.

But after seeing, Tangled last summer, I have to add Rapunzel to that short list. I loved her spunk, her desire to escape and even more so, her willingness to give up something so important for love.

And the scholars who write that drivel wouldn't know a good story, or real love, if it smacked them up the backside of their head. Morons.

chey said...

My favourite princess is Cinderella because I loved the music.

Lolarific said...

My favorite Princess would have to be a tie between Ariel and Belle. My son loves both of them too. He loves all the Disney movies but loves the princess ones' because "i wike goils mommy". I love Ariel because she fights for what she wants. I think she sends an empowering message out. And Belle sees the inner beauty in Beast. What's not to admire about someone with a beautiful heart?

I'm hoping to take my children to Disney next year during the Star Wars weekends so my oldest can do all the fun Star Wars things while his younger brother is busy hunting down pretty "goils".

Michele L. said...

What a fun post! I love all the Disney movies. I especially like the old ones because they had so much innocence, charm and magic to them. My favorite was Snow White and the seven dwarfs.

As for my favorite princess it has to be Cinderella. I felt so sorry for her with all the abuse she endured from the wicked mother and step sisters. I even loved all the movies that came out over the years with the real ladies playing Cinderella. It is juat a timeless story!

Alison said...

Belle, defintely - everything you said, of course, but don't forget she loves books. What a great role-model for young readers!

CrystalGB said...

Belle is my favorite. She sees past all the bad to the good inside the beast. Sigh....

Laurie G said...

My favorite princess is real life princess Kate. What a beautiful example of a commoner and her prince!

In fairy tales it's Belle for me. Love her goodness, kindness, her caring for everyone, her self sacrifice for her dad, her ability to see beyond one's visual exterior and see their true heart and soul!

Loved that she was an avid reader too! An excellent role model for young students.

Hope you have a fantastic time at Disney World. I love Disney at night...the light parade, Cinderella's Castle with the fireworks brightening the sky!!!

Terri Brisbin said...

Thanks to everyone who posted. My own Prince Charming selected the winner ...........


Email your mailing info to me at

Terri B

Laurie G said...

Thank you! I was without computer access for several days. I will send you an e-mail.