Some of what it says is so awful that I hope it is meant as a joke, but my 7 year old daughter (who is obsessed with all things pink, sparkly, and "princess-like", definitely does not see it as anything other than explicit how-to instructions. In 6 years of trick-or-treating at halloween, she has dressed as a princess 3 times (and Hannah Montana once, which is basically the same thing). So this is serious stuff for her.
I will just type a few specific sentences and phrases that I have found in the limited reading I have done in this book.
Every girl has an inner princess - you just need to find her.So this book applies to every girl, no exceptions. Tomboys, you aren't looking hard enough.
...there's more to being a princess than traipsing around in tiaras. You also need to know how to behave like one...It is not about being born into a royal family of some sort... it is about behaving in specific ways. And since every girl has an inner princess, every girl (and woman, presumably) should behave in these ways.
The first step to becoming a princess is to be helpful... polite... and kind to everyone. A true princess never loses her temper... goes off in a huff... or makes a fuss.Can you imagine a book telling boys that they have to be helpful and kind to everyone? Me neither... Boys are important. They are allowed to make a fuss on occasion. But a good princess must be groomed into taking orders from her father and husband, and giving orders (kindly) to children and servants.
Remember to keep clean! You can only sparkle if you're spotless.Another double standard. Boys aren't only allowed to be dirty sometimes, but it is expected of them. Boys play in the mud, they play sports, grass stains on boys are an accepted part of life. Girls, however, must sparkle.
But there is a limit on how feminine a girl is allowed to look before it crosses a line. We wouldn't want to be too sparkly, lest the princess be mistaken for a prostitute. The Madonna/whore dichotomy is alive and well in children's literature.
Don't cake yourself in make-up. It can be very unattractive.
As a true princess, you need to be graceful at all times, from the turn of your head to the sweet of your curtsey. That means no tripping, no falling, no slouching, no plodding.Great advice! It would be horrible for a princess to slouch on occasion... or trip and fall. That would be so unladylike... And again, advice that would never be given to a boy. Boys can't be graceful... that would be a little...
...try not to eat too much, or too fast.Eating disorders. Let's start them early. Because there is nothing worse than a fat princess.
...the rule is quite simple: princesses don't run.... After all, you have to give the prince of your dreams a chance to rescue you.Seriously?!? How are you supposed to play if you can't even run? I guess a good princess doesn't need to play sports or a good game of tag, but what does she do for fun other than kissing random frogs in the hopes that one will someday turn into a prince? And what do princesses need rescuing from, exactly? According to the book, things like hairy spiders and fire breathing dragons.
So, princesses (and by princesses I mean all women and girls out there, cause we all have inner princesses, remember), if you see a spider, don't kill it yourself, wait for a prince to come rescue you. And if you see a fire-breathing dragon, do not run away. If you run, how are you going to meet prince charming? Sure, if he isn't on time, the dragon might burn or eat you, but at least you know you died doing everything you could to meet a prince, right?
Thanks mom! (BTW, your other gifts were wonderful and very appreciated, even the purple tartan tights! Who knew I would ever wear tights?). And no, the book has not been banned in our house, we are reading it critically, and I am trying to turn it into a joke about how ridiculous these standards are, whether or not it was meant that way.