Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Ever After - Happiness & the Royal Wedding

Nick Duerden, a Guardian UK reporter (and twenty-first century dad) is upset over the message being sent to his daughter by the upcoming Royal Wedding.

His daughter is in her princess phase, when she spends her free time reading about princesses, dressing like a princess, watching movies about princesses, etc. He appears to be waiting it out for her to grow into a sane phase. Unfortunately, her princess phase is coinciding with the Royal Wedding.

Why do girls think that becoming a princess will help them to live happily ever after? The unhappy life and tragic death of Princess Diana and the high rate of divorce in the British royal family alone is evidence that marrying into royalty does not lead to happiness. Other royal families don't seem to have better marital track records.

The most frightening part of the article was when Duerden discussed an American woman who runs a very pricey princess camp for American pre-teen girls. Her students might be better off taking an American etiquette course to help them in the American business world (for starters, we handle a knife and fork differently than a European). Their chances that they will have to support themselves are much higher than their chances of marrying into royalty. After watching Fergie fall into major debt, these girls would be better off if they got decent jobs and found a fiscally responsible partner. I was raised to believe (possibly erroneously) that as American citizen, I don't curtsy to royalty; I find it very disturbing that these pre-teens are being taught to do so.

In fact, even these princess camp attendees face a possible future of poverty. According to the many publications on the non-profit Wiser Women's website:

a large number of American women have not saved enough for retirement, are postponing retirement, and face lives of poverty after they stop working. Many of these women lacked the financial knowledge and impulse control needed to build up retirement savings and to keep themselves out of debt. They had expected their husbands to provide them with financial security.

Why do women pay to attend princess camps? Should parents support their daughters' princess phase, or try to cut it short? Please comment.

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