GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ YA Author Meghann McVey: The New Generation of Princesses | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, March 3, 2018

YA Author Meghann McVey: The New Generation of Princesses

The New Generation of Princesses 

“Part of being a princess is doing what you have to.” [Faxon’s] view of princesses contrasted so sharply from that of the Portalis princesses who flounced around in pretty dresses and signed autographs, it hit me like a brick to the forehead. 
-Leah and Faxon in Rescuing the Prince

Rescuing the Prince is a Young Adult fantasy novel with a dash of romance. Leah, the protagonist, plays the face character Cinderella at Portalis Park, my fictional version of Disneyland. During the Fantasy Parade, a dragon carries off Leah’s boyfriend Gerry. 

While searching for him, Leah ventures to another world, where she is asked to impersonate the missing Princess Fiona.

Writing Rescuing the Prince, I had in mind Disney’s new generation of strong female main characters. The newer films and their protagonists reflect our times in which women are able to take charge of their own lives and change the world around them. And, the title of “princess” is not a requirement to make a difference. Just to name a few…

Elsa and Anna in Frozen
The love that saves the day was familial, not romantic? What??!?! There’s a challenge to one sacred cow of traditional storytelling. Not to mention, Arendelle is a Queendom so long as Elsa rules. Seems pretty progressive to me. I also like how Elsa doesn’t condone Anna’s love for Prince Hans. Her statement, “You can't marry a man you just met” is especially funny considering this is what many characters in classic Disney animated features did.

Tiana in Princess and the Frog
Tiana is one of my favorite Disney characters because she earns everything she has with hard work. And, she stands up to misogyny and racism in the pursuit of her dream. (Remember when the Fenner brothers tell her “a woman of her background” was “better off where she was”? It sure feels great when Tiana gets her restaurant and proves her naysayers wrong.) Faced with the ultimate temptation, Tiana does not take the magical way out. She chooses the path of love and righteousness. That’s strength.

Merida in Brave “I'll be shooting for my own hand!” I got the chills the first time I heard Merida say it (as I’m sure her mortified mother did). Merida is an intriguing character, with wild red hair that reflects her fierce independence. I remember the Disney marketers changed her image one year, causing great dismay among people who preferred her less made-over and princessified. I can’t blame them; one of Merida’s strongest characteristics, in my opinion, is her confidence in herself.

Moana in Moana
A chief’s daughter rather than a princess, Moana answers the call of her heart by undergoing a forbidden ocean voyage. On her venture into the unknown, she sails a double-hulled canoe by herself (pretty amazing in my view; I’m a liability in group-paddling canoes). Moana is tenacious, as well. Her first attempt to sail results in her nearly drowning and the destruction of her boat. She does not give up, however, and goes on to overcome pirates, obstacles in nature such as storms at sea, and having the mercurial god Maui as her traveling companion.
Princessified Marketing
Somewhat paradoxically, Disneyland (and Portalis Park) have made their face characters into stereotypical celebrities, wearing gorgeous clothes, signing autographs, and doing glamorous things like appearing in parades. This is often how the princesses are marketed, as well. For example, how many lunchboxes, backpacks, and doll playsets have you seen featuring well-known Disney princesses in extra fancy finery?

While Disney films have made admirable strides in progressive portrayals of its princesses, for whatever reason the marketing side is a few decades behind…or hasn’t found a good, simple angle from which to convey the concept of strong, independent girls and women.

Disney’s princessified marketing became a fun point of contrast in the Leah and Faxon scene that opens this blog post. I must also admit to poking fun at Disney’s “traditional” view of princesses more than a few times in the course of the book.

Who is your favorite princess, Disney or otherwise? 

Read Rescuing the Prince 
To purchase Rescuing the Prince (only 99 cents -- you know you want to!) There are ample chapters you can read, too!

by Meghann McVey
February 3, 2017
262 pages
During the afternoon fantasy parade, a dragon swooped down and carried off my boyfriend. I am not making this up.

So begins Leah’s adventures that lead her to another world. At home in California, Leah’s boyfriend Gerry is her rock and motivation. Now, trapped in another world without him, she must find her own courage. During her quest, Leah impersonates a missing princess, learns magic, and meets new friends and allies, including the shy, handsome Tolliver. But in the end, does she have what it takes to defeat Gerry’s fearsome captor, the Dragon Rider?

About the Author:
Meghann McVey grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in New Orleans. With her Master of Arts in English and work in commercial nuclear power since 2008, she is proof that degrees needn't dictate one's jobs. Among her many muses are Ray Bradbury, Walt Disney, and Japanese animation.

1 comment:

  1. Tiana is actually one of my favorite "princesses" as well.