Geek Of The Week: Linda Rodriguez McRobbie Author of ‘Princesses Behaving Badly’
Who doesn’t like a bad girl? Especially one of noble birth!
In Linda Rodriguez McRobbie’s new book, Princesses Behaving Badly (which is now available for purchase),you get a whole collection of kick-ass and rebellious ladies that aren’t chasing Happily Ever After!
The book is compiled of mini-bios of real-life trouble-making princesses, divided up into several collections. My personal favorite is Schemers and Floozies. The book shows that there is way more to being a Princess than singing birds and Charming Princes, actually there is no mention of singing animals within this book. Sometimes you have to fight for your freedom, get back at your brother, and protect your land all while wearing a bra! No one said it was going to be easy, but then who wants to take the easy way out?
Every girl dreams of being a Princess, but really every girl should dream about being one of these real-life not so damsel in distress. Just try not to get your head chopped off!
I was able to catch up with the author, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie. Check out our interview with her about the book and the Princess Society below…
All Geek to Me: What made you decide to write this collection of histories about badly behaved princesses?
Linda Rodriguez McRobiie: Well, it was actually my wonderful editor at Quirk, Jason Rekulak, who came up with the idea and approached me about writing it. However, once I started doing the research, it was just astounding, uncovering these women whom history had largely forgotten.
LRM: I started writing and researching in November 2012 and the full manuscript was finished by the middle of February 2013. Without the British Library’s amazing holdings, my husband’s auxiliary support, my son’s nursery and babysitters, there’s no way I could have done it four months.
AGtM: Which princess is your personal favorite and/or stands out to you the most?
LRM: I have a few favorites, for sure, but I think “Princess” Caraboo, Caroline of Brunswick, and Clara Ward are tops on my personal list. I just love Caraboo’s imagination and gall; Caroline’s endearingly bizarre inappropriateness; and Clara Ward’s free-spiritedness. That said, I think being friends with any one of them would be exceptionally tiring…
AGtM: My personal favorite sections are Schemers and Floozies. I was wondering if you have a favorite section of princesses?
LRM: Ooh, Schemers and Floozies are both good times, although I think I’m more partial to maybe Survivors and Partiers. Survivors, because I think the stories there are a bit more complex, and Partiers because, well, they’re pretty fun.
AGtM: I very much enjoyed your introduction. I will admit that I have fell victim to the Disney Princess state of mind but I do consider myself a modern feminist suffering from a wee bit of Cinderella Syndrome. I completely agree with your statement that though the princess fad has given young girls a higher self esteem, it has some what poisoned them into a superficial reality. Do you believe there can be balance between being a princess and being a feminist?
LRM: I do hope so! Because I don’t want to lie here, but I do like me some sparkly dresses. And it would be pretty fantastic to go to a ball sometime…
Still, it’s a difficult nut to crack, largely because the whole ubiquitous Princess Industrial Complex is, in part, about valuing girls (well, also mostly about valuing their parents’ money). The problem, as I see it, is that it often values girls in the wrong ways, emphasizing physical appearance, possessions, polite, constricted behavior, and pretty, shiny things over creativity, forthrightness, and strength. And I realize that there are some princesses on the market who break that glittery mould. But I fear that that’s only half the story that girls get. For example, Merida from Disney/Pixar’s Brave – she’s a strong female character who, in the end, charts her own course and harnesses her own destiny, all while learning a few lessons along the way. So far so woman warrior, right?
Except that one of the most popular bits of merchandise accompanying the film was Mattel’s Merida doll, clad in the dress she hated in the film and accessorized with a hair comb. A hair comb. The Amazon.com product description says that the doll “portrays Merida’s spirit with fiery red hair” and she’s “dressed in a beautiful, sparkling dress inspired by the film.” So really, the takeaway from Brave is that Merida had great fashion sense and cool hair?
This is the long way of saying that I do think there can be a balance between being a princess and being a feminist, and that feminism essentially means having the right to choose what you want to be, whether that’s a stay-at-home-mom, senator, scientist, CEO or Cinderella. It’s just it seems that Princess, right now, is the only choice presented to young girls and that simply isn’t fair.
Perhaps some of the antidote is to talk about real life princesses (ahem, handily catalogued in my new book, Princesses Behaving Badly, buy now!). Because of course, some real life princesses were feminists themselves – just take a look at Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, or Clara Ward, or Sarah Winnemucca. These were women who weren’t just stick figures in sparkly dresses, they were flesh and blood, and they sometimes made bad decisions, but at least they made decisions.
Princess Behaving Badly is currently available for purchase. The book is perfect for the rebellious lady in your life and would be a lovely stocking stuffer. So pick up your copy now!
Thanks to author Linda Rodriguez McRobbie for putting together this collection and for the interview.