It's really relevant to many of the things I've been discussing here and thinking about lately, and he rightly points out that while all the Princesses get criticized for being passive and wanting nothing more than a man, that stereotype is only really true for the original three, and even then those Princesses, as well as others, have admirable qualities that really aren't bad for little girls to emulate (kindness, cheerfulness, etc.). He points out examples from Disney as well as other popular entertainment (Disney is so often the convenient scapegoat for culture-wide problems) and comes to an interesting, yet I think true, conclusion-the reason people are rubbed the wrong way by Princess culture is because, while boys may desire to be King, girls want to be Princesses and NOT Queens. Queens are virtually all evil, whereas Princesses are good. The image of a Princess indicates more youth and lack of responsibility than Queen, so it's more a wording choice that reflects the fact that culture values youth and women who don't hold all the power.
New Yorker Magazine-Feb 2014
Also, I've been thinking lately about this whole idea that passivity=BAD, especially when it comes to females. And obviously passivity and complacency can be negative, and people should be empowered to act and take a stand against evil; no one should be treated unfairly or taken advantage of. At the same time, we all have to accept and expect some level of unfairness and frustrations in life. But often, actually, if you're stuck in a horrible situation and being mistreated, although you may fantasize about telling off the Powers that Be and stalking off righteously victorious, most times that would not actually accomplish what you want it to.
I've been reading/watching two examples lately that reminded me that sometimes, passivity is actually a wise choice for the time being. I was reading a biography of Jackie Robinson this summer (I had quoted him a little while ago when he mentioned fairy tales in regards to his career); part of the reason his story is so inspirational is that, in addition to the rigorous activities of being a professional baseball player, he had to face racism throughout his whole life, yet he did so with great integrity. When he got accepted into the Dodgers organization, he was warned that no matter how awful the insults were, he couldn't lash out in anger. Really, the whole Civil Rights movement depended on blacks swallowing their unjust treatment and peacefully protesting-violence would have just made it worse (although no one can blame them for being angry and wanting to act out).
Yet no one is criticizing Jackie Robinson for being passive-he's a hero in the athletic world, and the Civil Rights movement.
Not quite as deep, but this summer I've also been rewatching through the show The Office (the American version). And one thing that impressed me about the characters (notably Jim and Pam) is how often their coworkers or bosses treat them unfairly, yet they don't argue the point or talk back, they just take it on most occasions. Sometimes they do stand up for themselves, but in most cases, arguing or insisting they were right wouldn't have done any good. And again, they're seen as the heroes of the show-pretty much the only normal people in the crazy world of the Office, and with them we can appreciate the humor or all the ridiculous situations around them, and hopefully find humor in our own ridiculous worlds.
Anyway, it just struck me that we can even be sexist in how we interpret passivity. If a woman is doing household chores under a domineering boss, she's a horrible example for children, yet when other people swallow their pride we recognize their inner strength and self control. Not that feminists have no reason for concern; many women today still are treated unfairly, and there are still many harmful gender stereotypes out there. But when we start to see passivity as only negative, or only negative if it's displayed in females, we can get into dangerous territory too. Wisdom is sometimes just knowing how to pick and choose your battles, yet our current brand of feminism that is a backlash against years of suppression would lead us to believe that wisdom is taking an aggressive, fighting stance. The goal is to find balance and not get too far into either extreme-passivity or aggression.