Bioethics Blogs

The Pink Princess

So we (whether ‘we’ are British, or Australians, apparently) have a new princess. Only the most curmudgeonly among us can resist a small smile at the news, right? A small minority holds themselves aloof, dismissing the whole circus as an anachronism, but no one actually thinks there is a downside. Well, I do. I think in a small way (through no fault of her own, obviously) baby Charlotte will contribute to making the world a little worse.

It will be worse for little girls, again in a small way. It will contribute to the pinkification of their lives: the imposition of constraining models of femininity. The Sunday Telegraph writes that the birth signals “a new era of girl power”, but the effect will be disempowering, for the princess and for other girls who are, inevitably, shaped by the culture in which they live.

How will the new princess serve as a model for girls, and for those who mould their lives? The Telegraph predicts, all too accurately I fear, that “her every dress and every hairstyle is certain to be scrutinized”. We live in a world in which when a female secretary of state is involved in an official meeting, her dress and hairstyle is reported more extensively than what she said and did, but where so long as men conform to a narrow range of models, they need not fear such scrutiny. The princess – or more accurately the media fuss around her – is going to reinforce this culture.

Her role is circumscribed already: “she is going to bring so much glamour”.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.