The world waited with bated breath for the news of another royal birth. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana came into the world with more rights to the throne than previous princesses but never before has a royal princess, by birth, faced such a media onslaught right away.
In 2015, despite the long push for equality, the media continues to feel justified in constantly critiquing what she will wear and what she does. She will be subject to the same or even greater level of scrutiny than her mother and her famous grandmother, Princess Diana. I am not aware of any media concerned about Prince George's fashion sense or whether he will be a fashion icon.
The media are unlikely to question Prince William's fashion sense unless he was to wear something totally outrageous. Media fascination is with the fashion sense of princesses and Hollywood's female "royalty." Witness the Oscars and the feeding frenzy following to determine which Hollywood leading lady had the best gown.
The birth of a "real princess" will no doubt fuel the current craze about princesses currently marketed to little girls. Everywhere princess toys, dolls and movies are being fed to little girls creating a desire that is hard for parents to resist. Princesses are often focused on fashion and marriage. While neither marriage or a good fashion sense are undesirable, this total focus can leave young girls with a distorted image of real life today.
The founders of GoldieBlox, a pink construction toy for girls, have marketed constructive toys for girls which engage other parts of their brains trying to encourage understanding that being a princess is not enough. Certainly the princess concentration can plants girls back into the era of dependence and does not prepare them for the real world that we live in today. Nor does it encourage them to use the full extent of their brains and talents. Women need to be prepared to support themselves and face the possibility of a single and happy life too. Marriage is not the only option in our modern world. Even with marriage, most couples need two incomes to thrive.
Against this backdrop is the recently published book by Jill Lepore entitled "The Secret History of Wonder Woman." Wonder Woman was created in the 1940's and was a reflection of the struggle of women to obtain equal rights. Wonder Woman was an appealing character because she did not espouse violence nor behave like many of the male super heroes. Yet she also evolved through the years reflecting the continuing setbacks and attempts by women to gain a foothold outside of their roles as house wives and mothers following the years of the second World War when women had by necessity engaged in the work force.
Throughout the 60's and 70's she was re-imagined and used by the feminist movement as an icon to promote the cause. She fought against the idea that women should be dependent upon a man for their livelihood and happiness. After all in the real world there are not many prince's waiting to scoop up and pamper princesses.
We do have some comic book super heroines today such as bat girl and captain marvel but none with the cache of Wonder Woman. Movies have featured hard-hitting heroines although many carry a gun and engage in the same behaviours as the male heroes. Is this really the image that we want where toughness and violence by women heroines is applauded?
It is time for a modern version of wonder woman who does not have to carry a gun but can achieve results through feminine strengths. She can be tough without guns and violence because she knows who she is and what she wants to do in the world. She may chose to have a partner but is not dependent upon a man to achieve her goals. Yes she also has courage to take on the system. She can appear in stylish outfits or jeans to signify that super heroines can dress for the occasion. Someone to rival the current princesses. She might even be a princess who is forging a life for herself and helping others along the way, not waiting for a prince. If you have the talent and means, there is a great opportunity to create a modern wonder woman to recapture the hearts and minds of young girls and women.