In this age of equality, are princess books still relevant? I stared at my Messenger Inbox, face contorted in such horror it would make Stephen King cry. What had I done to incite my friend Susan Brownrigg? Had I not liked her Tweets enough? Or maybe she was holding a grudge over something I’d said in a critique group back in 2017? Critique can do strange things to the mind.
But when I delved deeper, I realised Susan wasn’t spamming me at all. Rather, she was presenting me with an opportunity. A chance to join the Gender Equality Collective’s* Twitter debate on the relevance of the princess in today’s children’s books.
I won’t lie, I was a bit apprehensive joining in. My book wasn’t even published yet and, according to these guys, it was already potentially irrelevant. Plus, I’d just spent fifty quid on a Princess BMX banner which if I say so myself is totally swag. Was I now going to have to bin it along with the several thousand princess books my publisher Chicken House were holding in a warehouse?
But my overactive writer mind had had me worrying for nothing. The Gender Collective guys didn’t make me cry once with their mean accusations. In fact, there were no accusations at all: no princess bashing, no debut author ambush or telling me to get on my bike, no drama whatsoever. (Which on some levels was slightly disappointing because – as you can tell – I’m currently digging the dramatic.) Instead, what did happen was rather awesome when these lovely peeps later listed Princess BMX in their Best Books List.
I’ll let the Gender Collective explain:
Welcome to GEC Best Books 2019, we’re glad you’re here. Compiled by our GEC Community of parents, teachers, authors (and kids!), here is our round up of the absolute best books out there for Smashing Stereotypes.
Turns out we were in agreement all along. While it’s most definitely time to move on from the traditional fairy tale trope of the helpless princess waiting for prince charming, there’s a new generation of princesses smashing stereotypes. And Princess BMX, the feisty funny girl who prefers to hang out on the half-pipe rather than go to the ball, is delighted to be among them.
*The Gender Equality Collective is a community of change which seeks to tackle gender imbalance and smash harmful stereotypes. Find out more and join me in signing their Gender Charter here.