Recently, I picked up a comic book at a school Book Fair called Princeless. While I have not had the time to finish reading it, the premise behind the book has me fascinated. From a princess of color, to the refreshing storyline which consists of the young girl saving herself and her sisters–it has all the elements that we are still lacking in today’s storytelling. I am not embarrassed to say that I semi-forced a 7-year-old boy to read a portion of the comic book and give me a summary of what he read. No worries, he was under my supervision and I am pretty sure I am making our society a favor. The result was remarkable.
Sexists, racists, and all of the -ists and -phobes are raised, not born. The little boy was obviously not as fascinated by the story as I was, because he is obviously still an innocent child. However, I loved seeing that to him the little girl was just a little girl–not a girl of color or not a boy. In the story, Princess Adrienne points out various “plot holes” in the bedtime story that her mother tells her: the beautiful fair-skinned, blonde princess gets rescued by a handsome prince and they get married the same day. We have a critical thinker as our protagonist, asking the questions we learn to ask until we are little too old to change our ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and being. My second grader, however, right away realized that Adrienne was right–he just needed to be exposed to this way of thinking.
Part of me tells me that it is going to take forever for our society to get to a time when we are all represented equally in the stories that are told. While this may not be the greatest issue to tackle in a world filled with poverty, starvation and violence, this is a very important issue. Along with education as an institution, the media is what helps us shape the ways we view our world.