When I was younger I always liked to imagine myself as a princess. Dresses were always the right form of attire, especially if they were poofy and would let me spin around the room in a whirl of tulle. I have to admit that while I don’t wish to be a royal (although if you happen to read this Prince Harry, I suppose I will accept your proposal of marriage), I still enjoy pretending I’m a princess sometimes, especially because wearing poofy dresses everyday is a lot easier since they make casual poofy dresses. Going along with the princess idea, I also have to admit that I have a fascination with American prom movies because they always have that one bitchy girl that wants to be prom queen, but then the quiet nerdy but very pretty girl (after her makeover, of course) who ends up becoming popular because she wins the heart of the extremely attractive popular male lead wins the crown. You know the story, even if the plot varies, the general gist is there. The problem is that the idea of the prom queen exists. It wasn’t only made up for movies.
Living in Toronto I’ve never heard of a single high school that crowned a prom queen, but I made many American friends at university who told me their schools had “prom royalty”. I know that movies create a certain stereotype about prom queens and reality isn’t always the same, but nevertheless, when that crown is won the recipient becomes some sort of celebrity. Yet, who really cares? It’s a piece of plastic or metal (probably depending on your school’s budget) that 10, heck, even 5 years down the line won’t make a difference. It’s a stupid little accessory that won’t get you through college/university or help you get a job or help you travel the world. It’s insignificant. Just like my paper crown. It’s something that can be broken, stolen, or thrown out. The same can be said about poofy dresses. Why should putting on a poofy dress make one feel like a princess? Why can’t we still feel like a princess dressed in all black, barefoot and with crazy wild eye makeup, instead of the elegant fresh face that society portrays is the ideal? I suppose I answered my own question . . . society and the media. We’re given a view of what a princess (or queen) should look like and anything that differs with that image is wrong. I believe I can safely say that is why in teen movies, and reality quite often as well, the prom court consists of people who are similar in appearance. After all, as long as a princess fits the description that society and media has set out, everything’s okay, right? Wrong.
When I was around twelve/thirteen, I read A Little Princess, which was an absolutely fantastic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. What I loved about the novel was that it made you realize that a princess is determined not by her looks, but by the person’s character. My favourite quote has to be:
“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
I think that little quote says a lot about how being a princess shouldn’t be defined by the way you look, but whether you are a good person inside; loyal, kindhearted, loving, trustworthy, helpful, caring, and so on. Beauty can be found in the inside, and that kind of beauty is so much more special because you don’t have to thank your genetics, instead you can applaud yourself for being a wonderful you.
Therefore, just because I may not be wearing a dress made from a “cloth of gold” and my crown isn’t filled with diamonds, and my hair and makeup doesn’t make me look like your typical royal girl, I like to think that the person inside is nothing but pure royalty because ultimately, just because you think that you fit a magazine description of a princess, doesn’t mean that you truly are a royal person. In the end, a royal person is a good person. A royal person isn’t determined by genetics or the size of one’s wallet: it’s determined by beauty of personality.