Onward Christian Princesses

What Women Really Think
Oct. 7 2010 12:15 PM

Onward Christian Princesses


Evangelicals, perpetually and endearingly behind the curve when it comes to pop culture, are going gaga for princesses. The latest evidence is My Princess Bible , a new book from Christian publisher Tyndale House that tells the story of 19 Biblical women with Disney-style illustrations. It’s a stretch: The women the book classifies as "princesses" include Rahab, a prostitute who bravely hid spies in her home for a higher cause, and Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman active in the founding of the early church.

My Princess Bible is only the latest entry into the Christian princess pantheon. This summer, the wildly popular (and generally adorable) VeggieTales series of evangelical kids DVDs came out with Sweetpea Beauty, its first DVD targeted especially for young girls. Christian publisher Thomas Nelson offers a full-text Princess Bible , with a  pink cover, sparkly binding and a bejeweled clasp. There’s Sheila Walsh’s children’s book series Gigi, God’s Little Princess , whose illustrations seem to imitate Hilary Knight’s classic drawings of that New York princess, Eloise . And adult women can turn to the His Princess series, whose latest entry , published in March, features "love letters" written in the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Meanwhile, some corners of mainstream American culture have been experiencing a refreshing princess backlash lately: In the Nation a few years ago, Barbara Ehrenreich called Disney princesses a "sorry bunch of wusses," and cheekily encouraged right-thinking parents to "make a holiday bonfire out of all that plastic and tulle." A study in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology asked whether seeing images of skinny, glamorous princesses hurt young girls’ self-esteem. (The results suggested not, but that didn’t stop many media outlets from repeating the question .) We can anticipate another critical moment when Peggy Orenstein, who has written thoughtfully about the trend for the New York Times magazine, publishes Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture in January.

Many feminist critiques of the princess craze won’t faze conservatives, of course. And to be fair to evangelicals, royal metaphors are a natural fit with religious imagery focused on God as king. Most of the "God’s princess" products-including the new My Princess Bible -ultimately focus on God’s unconditional love for his children. So for now, it’s onward Christian princesses.

Ruth Graham is a writer in New Hampshire.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads


See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 1:38 PM Mad About Modi
 Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.

Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 12:42 PM How to Save Broken Mayonnaise
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 11:55 AM The Justice Department Is Cracking Down on Sales of Spyware Used in Stalking
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.