Where Are All the Disney Princes?

Raising a houseful of princesses comes naturally to me. I’ve raised three of them. They are smart, girl-power-super-strong-and-independent, sparkly sprites who love to dress in fluffy pink things when they are small and sometimes even when they grow up (where the sparkles miraculously turn into jewels). They also love boy stuff. But at the end of the day, if they had to pick one thing in their heart of hearts, it would be a princess. But the other day, it occurred to me…where are all the princes?

Disney has capitalized on and profited from the innate desire of most young girls to be princesses, and you can choose your perfect match. Snow White or Ariel? Belle or (my favorite) Mulan? There are princes in all those movies and stories, too. Heroic princes. Princes who love the princesses and stand side-by side with them to face any challenge. Princes who often can ride horses, fight to the death, waltz (!), and sing love songs. But if you go to Disney, there are no prince costume stores. No prince makeover salons. No princes you line up to get your picture taken with.

Even generic holiday costume catalogs have avoided the entire prince category. Boys can be superheroes or serial killers, pirates or zombies…but no one seems to be enabling little boys to be princes.

This prince deficit is troubling to me for a couple of reasons. The primary one being I don’t want my little princesses to grow up and have to settle for a zombie. But there’s an even more troubling reason. Being a princess isn’t really just about dressing up; it’s a way of being in the world—a way of kindness, helping others, responsibility, honor, and faith in the power of love. How are boys learning these important lessons?

Ironically, we have real princes in real life who are pretty cool and any small boy should look up to: Prince William and Harry play a mean polo, fight for their countries, undertake humanitarian missions to dangerous places, AND get the girls and the yacht vacations…all while demonstrating highly appealing smartass senses of humor. The only question is, can they waltz?

It could have to do with our conflicted feelings about royalty and monarchies. We are a democracy, after all. But even so, one of the good things about monarchy, when it works, is that the best leaders take the long view, since their power comes from and depends on succession. Of course, not every prince or princess is perfect—nor is every person, for that matter. But it does seem like the world could use a few more princes these days. I know a few princesses who will be looking for a prince. And I sure hope they find him.

Disney, are you listening?


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5 Responses to Where Are All the Disney Princes?

  1. Donna in Delaware February 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Actually, we are a Republic with, supposedly, democratic principles, but I hear you. The princes are getting fewer and fewer. I am not specifically speaking of the ‘real thing’, but your average everyday kind of prince. The ones that help you around the house without being asked, remember to celebrate your anniversary and birthday, help underprivilege youth, work 9 to 5 and still volunteer his time to help worthy causes over the weekend, make you feel safe, comfortable and warm, etc., etc………………

    Where have they gone? Without sounding like I have a predjudice (forgive me people, but the truth is the truth here), a lot of them are with other princes. Some just don’t have the same upbringing as the young men of old (old school, but not too old school), others are off pursuing what is good for themselves and prefer to just “hook-up”, rather than be interested in a decent relationship. Then there are those few wonderful young princes, still about, (they are just hidden away for now) maybe a tad shy, and waiting to be found by those princessess who aren’t as shy. They have to be flushed out! Since we are all so busy, the princesses don’t have the time to devote to flushing them out. Yes, things have changed in that respect over the years, but never say “die” ladies. The princes are out there, although few and far between. They are just waiting for their princess to come looking for them! Good luck!

  2. Susanne February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I have a different opinion. I wanted to be a cowgirl when I was little. I wanted to have adventures. I still do. I never wanted to be a princess and still don’t. Plenty of girls want to be pampered and spoiled but don’t want to work for what they have. The boys today aren’t buying into it.

  3. Christina February 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Being a princess isn’t about being pampered, spoiled, and not working. To be a princess is about honor, courage, and kindness, and treating people with respect (common descent sort); that is what it means to be a true princess – to have a “gentlewomanly” (Noble) character. I think of that actress Audrey Hepburn, who was the daughter of a baroness and had the regal set of manner, had to hide during WWII, worked, but she had a noble character to go with it as evidenced by her humaniarian work. There are those who call themselves royalty, but lack the noble character to go with it. Futhermore, those who demand the be pampered and spoiled are imitations.

  4. Amanda February 24, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Working on raising a little prince right now! The day I saw him “defend the honor” of a little girl on the playground was the day I knew we were doing something right. As my mom puts it, “We need to raise our sons to be good husbands.” My translation: We need to raise our sons to be honorable, passionate, conscientious people.

  5. Prince Phillip February 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    I wouldn’t say the real princes are disappearing. That’s not entirely fair now is it? Boys, like my self still grow up to be charming young men. Charming young men who want nothing more then to find their princess.

    I do however agree that’s disturbing that there are no princes in stores, and apparently very few at the actual parks. My reasoning for this is that just as some parents are afraid that princess means “spoiled” and “pampered” many fathers fear that prince means “weak”, “feminine”, and “prissy”. They would much rather see their young boy grow into a strong fighting knight. Which is all well and good, but not all men are like that. Not all men turn out to be the most masculine, and not all the masculine men want to be “knights”. Some would rather be princes.

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