Sunday, May 08, 2016

Kidstalk: There's No Such Thing as a Pirate Princess

I have two toddlers, so I watch a lot of kids' TV. Some of it just flies right over my head. Others actually trigger thoughts and analysis that I know are way too deep for childrens' television. I feel compelled to share.

There's an overuse of the word "princess" in entertainment for girls. I'm not even arguing that point. It's just a given. But I think Jake and the Neverland Pirates really crosses the line from pandering to flat-out ridiculous with its "pirate princess."

In case you haven't seen the show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates is about a bunch of kids in Peter Pan's Neverland who are pirate-like, except for the murder and stealing and burning villages. They wave around wooden swords and say "yo ho." And they occasionally run into pirates, including a woman called the Pirate Princess. She's exactly what it says on the tin, a pirate who's a "princess of all pirates."

Here's the problem: there's no such thing as a "pirate princess." It's just not possible. First of all, a princess is by definition the daughter of a ruler of a country. Pirates aren't a nation. They're a group, technically criminals. The term "pirate princess" makes about as much sense as a "bank robber princess." You can be a pirate, and you can be a princess who's turned to piracy, but you can't be a pirate princess. You especially can't be a pirate princess without a pirate king or pirate queen. It's just another ridiculous way to work the term "princess" into the show to attract girls.

I don't even really understand the obsession with princesses, anyway. Why aren't we showing girls queens, women with real power? I figure the attraction of being a princess is having all the perks of monarchy (like money and jewelry and gowns and people waiting on you) without the negatives of having to run a country. It's undeserved fame and fortune. It's why the Kardashians are popular right now.

But no pirate princesses.