Fairy tales and domesticity are anathema to feminism. Indeed, the former’s just propaganda for the oppression of the latter. Girls naturally prefer the rigors of astronauts and executives to the luxuries of princesses or the sanctuary of the home.
The image of the princess in Western culture looks a lot like the expression of an evolutionary impulse: the ultimate realization of womanhood by bagging the single most desirable male in the gene pool and retiring to a life of ease, wealth and family.
That young women might desire this is unfathomable to feminism. Like the rest of patriarchy, it’s a trick the guys played on the women at some point, from which we’ve yet to recover. Yet somehow women remain far more interested in the British royal family, particularly in women marrying into it, than men.
Naturally female writers adapt their princess fantasies to feminist language. Meghan Markle–black, feminist, black–gives them cover to indulge their fascination.
At least that’s what I think after reading this post in the Daily Beast by a female senior editor.
Activist with a decades-long track record of advocating for women and girls. Coupled with one of the most visible and desirable men in the world. Designers want to dress her. Adoring crowds gather to catch a glimpse of her. A woman for kids to look up to, settling comfortably into her role as pleasant figurehead on the world stage. These are things that Ivanka Trump wants to be. These are things Meghan Markle actually is.
How dare Ivanka claim to be the princess!
Ivanka wanted to be a princess, a denizen of photo-ops and collectible dishes Middle America can order from Parade magazine, like Princess Diana. A person beloved and celebrated like royalty, and immune to the critical eye of the political media. Problem is, there’s no “princess” position in the executive branch.
And, alas, none at the Daily Beast. Women here work for a living I tell you. Like Ms Markle, whose decades of achievement will eventually become legend:
Markle first publicly advocated for women and girls when she was just 11 years old, when she started a letter-writing campaign against an ad that suggested only women perform housework. The campaign got the attention of NickNews. Per the AFP, her role as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada took her to Rwanda and fostered her advocacy for children in other developing countries. She’s written about global stigma around menstruation, and spoken at the UN for International Women’s Day in 2015. During that talk, the self-described feminist said “Women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there, and in some cases, where this is not available, they need to create their own table.”
Ivanka as the failed feminist doesn’t get to be princess. Markle has put in her time. Like in Beauty and the Beast she’s rewarded for loving the homely face of feminism with the handsome prince of domestic luxury.
In contrast [to dowdy old Ivanka], Markle is the fashion industry’s newest muse, in much the same way the Middleton sisters were nearly seven years ago. According, again, to the Times’ Vanessa Friedman, Marklemania has already started. Every outfit she wears inspires crazed levels of imitation. Magazines are already using Markle as a peg in style headlines. The coat she wore during her official engagement announcement crashed its brand’s website. Markle, Friedman notes, will “unquestionably be the most desired guest for any brand” at London Fashion Week this winter.
Every day features a new Markle wedding dress fanfic piece written with the help of a bevy of designers and speculation. Will she pick Jenny Packham? Oscar de la Renta? She’s already described her perfect dress, says ABC (she actually didn’t describe anything specific at all). Whatever Markle picks, people will go apeshit over it.
“Whatever it is”? You mean, if she walks naked, like a royal figure in a familiar fairy tale, people will enthuse nonetheless?
There’s something uniquely 2017 fever-dreamy about the divergence of Ivanka and Markle’s fates. Markle, a working actress who once held a briefcase on Deal Or No Deal, gets to retire from the thornier parts of politics and into a life of a princess. Meanwhile Ivanka, the telegenic heiress of the man behind The Art of the Deal has found herself queen of the frogs.
Not “fever-dreamy”, just dreamy. One little girl’s dream, like every girl’s dream, to be whisked away…