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  #21  
Old 12 January 2013, 02:41 AM
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This is the second time today I've seen the term "Mary Sue" - would someone mind telling me what it means please? Thanks .
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  #22  
Old 12 January 2013, 02:44 AM
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Wikipedia on Mary Sue.
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  #23  
Old 12 January 2013, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Side note, but those books made me gag. Ayla was such an overly perfect super awesomeness Mary Sue- I kept expecting to see that she'd invented the jet engine and started cloning dinosaurs.
I appreciated what the author was trying to do, even if Ayla eventually got bothersome. I remember enjoying the first book, but I stopped reading the series after the second or third.
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  #24  
Old 12 January 2013, 03:01 AM
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I felt the same way about Ayla in the second book. The first one was enjoyable, but I couldn't make it too far into the second.
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  #25  
Old 12 January 2013, 12:03 PM
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I liked Princess films, but I never much cared for the main princess in any film. I always loved the animal and/or funny sidekicks. They were always my favourite characters. It only struck me as an adult that they were almost always male, which is sad. I believe the funny one in Finding Nemo is a girl, though (never watched it) and I suppose the fairies in Sleeping Beauty are funny. Oh, and the wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast, but she wasn't a main sidekick.

I don't mind girls liking the princesses at all - most of them actually have personalities! That was a rarity for me growing up and being a fantasy book fan. Many people really struggled, and still struggle, to write women and girls as being more than just the woman or the girl, and all the hangups the writer have with them in general. Sometimes, with Disney, the personality is tacked on. For example, a lot of people love Belle because she's bookish but she rarely gets to use that and it never becomes a big thing about her, especially. I'd loved for her to have been genre savvy due to her bookishness! Or to have discovered who the beast was from a genealogy book. However, I dislike the princess idea - I don't like telling people they're special. That sounds mean to say to a child, but really, you're not special. You're not a princess. Princesses aren't especially special. The reason being, everybody is special in that everybody is unique and not everybody gets rewarded for that by being given wealth, power and a perfect mate. Your reward is that you get to be you, good and hard as you can be you. I don't think that's a harsh thing for a child! Though perhaps I should never write children's stories ...

I realise, a good 'Princesss' (she isn't) is Sarah from The Labyrinth. She at first believes all the Princess stuff, right down to her stepmother being an evil stepmother, and she even has a Princess dress at one time, but her quest is to save her brother and her reward is that she gets to save her brother. She learns life lessons, but it's not that she has to be an adult, as she accepts that occasionally she might need her childish things, but that she can't live in her own world constantly, and that some things are more important than possessions. That's a fantastic moral! Also, her personality and experience is present throughout the film and is used, like she uses (unlike Belle) her bookishness to save the day a few times, and is quick thinking sometimes, though that doesn't always get her anywhere.

Last edited by Twankydillo; 12 January 2013 at 12:21 PM. Reason: I keep editing this, I'll stop now ...
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  #26  
Old 12 January 2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
I never wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be a queen. Queens had power and could boss people around.
Exactly my feelings. When this whole princess trend started a few years ago, with even adult women claiming they were/wanted to be princess, that was my feeling, almost word for word.

As for the wishing to be someone else, in my teens I didn't wish my parents were dead exactly but was discovered and moved to America to star in a tv show were I played a charactor who was orhpaned a discovered a rich uncle. She inhertied the money, graduated high school early, got at least one degree before she became some sort of Bond like charactor who lead a team of men (all good looking of course). She got other degrees in various subjects.

Whatever happened though she/me* was in charge in most suitation though. And she was very clever.

Oh and she could cook. She would cook for the men in her life (there were very few women). This was her one traditional femine trait, she didn't care for fashion, didn't want children, didn't marry and she shared a house with some of the men but they did the cleaning. She was always cooking for them. When they weren't on duty, they were supposed to be a bit more democratic in their lives, but she was bossy.

*Were the charator left off and me, the actress started blured a bit.

Last edited by Dasla; 12 January 2013 at 12:43 PM.
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  #27  
Old 12 January 2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twankydillo View Post
I liked Princess films, but I never much cared for the main princess in any film. I always loved the animal and/or funny sidekicks. They were always my favourite characters. It only struck me as an adult that they were almost always male, which is sad. I believe the funny one in Finding Nemo is a girl, though (never watched it) and I suppose the fairies in Sleeping Beauty are funny. Oh, and the wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast, but she wasn't a main sidekick.
Yes, Dory's the funny character, while Marlin is the straight man. Though Finding Nemo isn't a princess movie, and there's only three other female characters with speaking roles (Marlin's wife, who's only in on scene at the beginning, and the starfish and damselfish in the aquarium). The deep-sea anglerfish is also female (has to be, due to the nature of the fish) but has no speaking parts.
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  #28  
Old 12 January 2013, 04:29 PM
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I had a princess phase, but it was back when the whole 'princess' thing was a little less commercial. I'm trying to analyze why I was always cast as the princess in my mind, and part of it was just about being the protagonist in my own stories. I read a lot, especially fairy tales and fantasy, so the idea of the hidden, undiscovered princess (though, to be fair, sometimes I was a sorceress or a goddess or a mermaid) was how I knew how to write books in my head. 'Queen' was for grown-ups, so as a five year old it was natural to be the child version of that. Plus, I liked dresses and castles. They were fun to draw.

At the same time, my princess characters always got to do the fun stuff. I had toy swords, I rescued princes, I was smart and self-sufficient. Being the protagonist would be pretty boring if you spent the entire game trapped in a tower waiting to be rescued. I had one princess character who was a paleontologist.

Looking back, it's worth questioning why I felt the need to add 'princess' to so many of my games. It had nothing to do with being passive (and rarely had anything to do with princes. I worked alone), but I think it was shorthand for 'special'. I played plenty of games where I didn't have to be the princess, but sometimes I wanted the whole package. Princesses got to have fun, and they were pretty, had cool castles and everyone loved them. At the time, I was poor and unpopular, so 'princess' was just the opposite of everything I felt like in day-to-day life.

ETA: Going back to the whole storytelling thing, does it seem more common for female protagonists to have to be royal in some way to be allowed to take part in the whole 'hero's journey' thing? I'm trying to think of examples, because there really aren't enough to begin with, but is there ever a farm girl protagonist who's allowed to be awesome without being a hidden princess of some sort?
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  #29  
Old 12 January 2013, 04:57 PM
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My niece in now in the princess phase, but only if she can be princess while carrying a pink tool belt with pink (and functioning) saw, hammer, screw driver ...
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  #30  
Old 12 January 2013, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
is there ever a farm girl protagonist who's allowed to be awesome without being a hidden princess of some sort?
Dorothy Gale and Alice (in Wonderland) come to mind. Of course, Alice tends to be rather passive.
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  #31  
Old 12 January 2013, 06:26 PM
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In most of the fairy tales, farm girls just have terrible event after terrible event happen to them, then their faith and piousness are rewarded by getting to marry a king and the happy ending happens in one paragraph after pages and pages of misery.

In the "woman married to a beast" stories, they get to go be awesome and rescue their cursed, actually-a-sexy-guy husbands, but only after they break their promise not to look at him at night and in doing so cause the husband to be stolen away by an ogre or goblin woman or something like that.

In traditional fairy tales, women don't really get to be very active in their own lives. They just react to terrible things happening to them. Unless you are The Discreet Princess. Then you're awesome.
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  #32  
Old 12 January 2013, 07:07 PM
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I tend to be a little self-righteous about my "non brainwashed" childhood and the variety of roles I was allowed to play. My list was a lot like Cervus' and Dasla's: Robin Hood, pirates, cowboys, spies, (best slumber party EVAH - 10 girls all pretending we were spies for U.N.C.L.E.), plus a variety of animals; horses being at the top of the list. But on thinking about it, I realize we were all influenced by the media of the day, which tended not to have many female characters of interest at all, except for adult dramas. What few Disney princesses there were at the time seemed to just sleep and cry a lot. Plus, in the 1950s and 60s, liking Disney characters beyond the age of 7 would have branded you as babyish.

I does seem to me that many adults are just as infatuated with the Disney Princess trope as the children. So if the adults around you love Belle or Jasmine and respond enthusiastically when you show any interest in these characters, you're going to jump on that bandwagon pretty quick. For instance; there is a teacher at my school who is enamored with the Disney Princess brand. She even had her wedding at The Castle. What little girl is going to admit to liking pirates, when her beloved kindergarten teacher wants her to be Snow White?
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  #33  
Old 12 January 2013, 08:09 PM
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Huh. I know I grew up a few decades ago, but I did grow up at the birth of a lot of these Disney princesses.

If I played with "princesses", they got up and did stuff. Being a "princess" just meant being a person with just enough power to have authority, but also having an adult to hold all the responsibility so she could run off and slay dragons and wizards without the kingdom going into panic mode with the ruler gone.

...I might have been inspired the greatest princess of all time, the Paper Bag Princess.
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  #34  
Old 12 January 2013, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut View Post

I does seem to me that many adults are just as infatuated with the Disney Princess trope as the children. So if the adults around you love Belle or Jasmine and respond enthusiastically when you show any interest in these characters, you're going to jump on that bandwagon pretty quick.
I wonder if this is, in some cases any way, a reaction to the way the mothers (and possibly father of course) were raised? I know back when I was a young mother full of ideals and taking my lead from what was going on around me it was very important to dress a girl similarly to the way you would dress a boy, make sure she was offered trucks and play tools and a doctors kit (under no circumstances a nurse's kit) - that sort of thing. Is it possible women raised that way are going in the other direction and giving their daughters the pretty pink "girlie" childhood they didn't have?
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  #35  
Old 13 January 2013, 02:47 AM
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... the greatest princess of all time, the Paper Bag Princess.
Agreed. She rocks.
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  #36  
Old 13 January 2013, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Sue View Post
I wonder if this is, in some cases any way, a reaction to the way the mothers (and possibly father of course) were raised? I know back when I was a young mother full of ideals and taking my lead from what was going on around me it was very important to dress a girl similarly to the way you would dress a boy, make sure she was offered trucks and play tools and a doctors kit (under no circumstances a nurse's kit) - that sort of thing. Is it possible women raised that way are going in the other direction and giving their daughters the pretty pink "girlie" childhood they didn't have?
I don't know, but I am interested in finding out.
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  #37  
Old 13 January 2013, 04:35 AM
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When we were discussing the jobs we wanted when we grew up and how much school they required, two girls said they didn't need to go to school or have a job because they were going to be princesses. I asked if their fathers and mothers were kings and queens and they said no, and I said that they would have to marry a prince then, and that Princess Kate, who was a real-life princess who married Prince William, met him in school and had a job too. So they needed to go to school and have jobs, or where would they find princes if there were any?
I feel no guilt about bursting that bubble. They're almost 8 and they'll never be princesses anyway. They certainly don't need to spend any more time thinking someone will take care of them for the rest of their life

ETA: I don't think it's a backlash. Almost everything marketed to girls is pink or purple now. I remember a video of a very frustrated little girl who didn't like pink or purple in a toy store.
C, one of my students from last year, was always decked out in purple, it was her favourite. Her little sister was always in pink. So I went over to her and asked if pink was her favourite colour and she looked at me in an almost pissed-off way and stated, "I like blue."
i redeemed myself by telling her green is my favourite colour.

Last edited by Latiam; 13 January 2013 at 04:44 AM.
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  #38  
Old 13 January 2013, 06:24 AM
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Reading through this has got a line from Dragon Age stuck in my head. Alistar "Yes, but she's more 'ooh, pretty colors' than 'muahaha, I am Princess Stabbity! Stab, stab, kill!"

If I ever have a daughter and she has a princess phase, I hope she's Princess Stabbity.
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  #39  
Old 13 January 2013, 06:28 AM
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I had similar problems after the first CotCB book, I still read them repeatedly, but mostly just skimming for the sex scenes, because I was a pre-teen and all that. Even in the first book though, I just couldn't deal with the the back and forth between strength and courage, all the way to fully submitting and deriding herself. The messages were really confusing.
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  #40  
Old 13 January 2013, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latiam View Post
When we were discussing the jobs we wanted when we grew up and how much school they required, two girls said they didn't need to go to school or have a job because they were going to be princesses. I asked if their fathers and mothers were kings and queens and they said no, and I said that they would have to marry a prince then, and that Princess Kate, who was a real-life princess who married Prince William, met him in school and had a job too. So they needed to go to school and have jobs, or where would they find princes if there were any?
I feel no guilt about bursting that bubble. They're almost 8 and they'll never be princesses anyway. They certainly don't need to spend any more time thinking someone will take care of them for the rest of their life.
I love the way you handled this.
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