Royal wedding paraphernalia

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If I'd have known their faces were done in mushrooms, I wouldn't have ordered the royal couple special!

I’m not the first one to point out that royal wedding fever has risen to a dangerous high, much higher than spring fever and just under fatal Scarlet fever. I’m all for rooting on the future King and Queen of England–the couple seems clear-headed and committed and Kate Middleton is unfailingly graceful and lovely–but some people are going a little overboard. Like the plumber who got the royal couple tattooed on his two front teeth (what happens if, God forbid, they break up? Will the plumber incite a bar fight to knock out the offending partner?)

A spitting image...just don't spit it out or Kate will end you

I found the site Kate Middleton For The Win last night and snorted out my tea laughing at the pictures. While I assume that Ms. Middleton is a charitable, warm-hearted person, the captions of her imagined thoughts are hilarious (all of which have something to do with her being better than the rest of us commoners–the commoners who will remain commoners, that is). My friend told me her favorite picture on the site is a caption where Kate is thinking “Shouldn’t my face be on all the jellybeans?” This friend, who lives in London, thought it was funny because there are, in fact, jelly beans with Kate Middleton’s face on them. Besides eating the royal couple in small, sugary bites you can also drink out of them, send your letters with them, keep your hands warm with them, and even pick your nose with them.

Hopefully neither partner will get cold feet, what with two billion tuning in tomorrow morning to see their nuptial celebration. If they do, though, I’m sure there are Royal Couple socks for that.

Kate Middleton has a different perspective on life now

Who’s your favorite princess?

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Kate hopes you'll pick her as your favorite

It’s princess week at The Gloss, just as it is here at DIY dilettante (I guess I wasn’t too original in my theme selection this week). In honor of the royal wedding, they’ve featured slideshows of the the most awesome royal mistresses throughout history and the similar fashion sense of Princess Di and Kate Middleton. They also created a slideshow of their favorite princesses, from Cleopatra to The Lion King’s Nala to Princess Leia of Star Wars. Who would you choose?

Disney’s dead mothers

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Disney loves the evil stepmother

When Snow White enters the Dwarves’ house she is shocked by the messiness.  Saddened, she utters, “Maybe they have no mothers.”  This being the case, the Dwarves are in good company at Disney. Snow White herself does not have a mother (only an evil step-mother), and neither do the princesses Cinderella, Ariel of “The Little Mermaid,” Belle of “Beauty and the Beast,” Jasmine of “Aladdin,” or Pocahontas.

I started looking into this topic for a Women and Gender Studies course in college and found some interesting research. In 2003, researchers coded twenty-six classic Disney films for their portrayal of families. They found that mothers are often marginalized and that love at first sight is a very prevalent theme. Love at first sight occurs in eighteen of the twenty-six films, and Mulan is the only “princess” who develops a friendly relationship first with the man she later falls in love with (and that only happens because she disguises herself as a man–heterosexuality is the unquestioned norm in Disney). Only five of the twenty-six films showed mothers as both primary caregivers and protectors, these films being “Dumbo,” “Bambi,” “101 Dalmatians,” “The Lion King,” and “Tarzan.” Interestingly, or perhaps startlingly, this means that only animal mothers are depicted as being strong influences in their children’s lives while human mothers, when they are present, are somehow flawed.

Tiana, the first Disney princess who'

Disney seemed to take note of these and other criticisms when it came out with 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Tiana, the eponymous princess, garnered excitement for being the first black Disney princess, but she is also the first princess with a living mother and a dead father. But how far has Disney really come? Tiana spends much of the movie as a green frog, a fact that was widely lambasted, and her dream of opening a restaurant is based on her dead father’s dream–thus, even though he’s deceased, her father is arguably a stronger influence on Tiana’s future than her living mother.

As I mentioned yesterday, Disney princesses are the primary idols for young girls in American society. These princesses, though, are forever inscribed within the male hierarchy, as they lack female role models themselves and are only saved from their often pitiable conditions by kisses from princes. What does it do to our daughters to continually expose them to the themes of impotent motherhood and male saviors?

How to be a princess

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What you’ll need: royal bloodline and/or royal boyfriend, tiara

Songlist: I Wanna Be Your Lover by Prince, ABBA’s Dancing Queen

Further reading: Knit Your Own Royal Wedding, Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries

The American Dream, as marketed to little girls

Ah, the irony of American girlhood. We are born into a capitalist democracy without need for actual princesses, yet our only role models are fictional Disney princesses. Cinderella and Belle, a maid and a bookish daughter of a poor inventor, respectively, are our paragons of upward mobility. The American Dream is strong in the hearts of young girls: we believe in the possibility of wild prosperity and success, just so long as the right prince falls in love with us.

I had a princess birthday party when I turned 6. My friends wore their princess dresses (we all had them), we watched “Sleeping Beauty,” and we played the board game Pretty Pretty Princess. The princess impulse continued through junior high: at 13 I wore my mother’s lovely, poofy-shouldered bridesmaid’s dress for Halloween and had a raging crush on Prince William.

When I confessed this crush to a friend, she sneered. You’re a commoner, she told me. And you’re American. Prince William has to marry a royal British girl (she was almost right). I was devastated at this news, but kept up hope: didn’t Disney movies teach me that love could overcome obstacles? A kinder friend of mine assured me that if things didn’t work out with Wills he would propose marriage: his family is from Palau and he is something like tenth in line for the Palauan throne.

My future Prince Charming

That friend and I have fallen out of touch (and Facebook tells me he’s got a seven-year-old daughter), Prince William is getting married on Friday, and Prince Harry is a royal cad, but maybe all hope is not yet lost. The Gloss has a helpful guide to still-eligible princes of the world and I must say that Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum looks like a real catch. He’s the next Emir of Dubai and he’s a poet. Now that I think about it, Jasmine is the only Disney princess with a tiger for a best friend. So long American Dream, hello Arabian Dream.