Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Tiara Fetish

So after noticing the number of books and tumblr posts about tiaras, castles, fairytale cartoons and anything else princess related I could help feeling curious or wanting to write a post...


I always had a thing against tiaras. When I was little I thought they looked pretty, but they were uncomfortable to wear and after playing dress-ups a few times the little diamantes would all fall out and the paint would lose its shine. I didn't like the idea of people wearing tiaras to debutante balls or weddings because I thought that only royals should wear tiaras on those days. Lately after the discovery of Courtney Love's 'Live Through This' album, Louis Vuitton's SS2012 runway show, the TV show 'Once upon A Time' and a few other things had me wanting to change my Tumblr name to 'Tiara Fetish', but I decided not to; it was probably already taken.

I think the biggest problem I had with tiaras was the people who chose to wear them. While occasionally someone nice and deserving of a tiara wears one to a formal and looks lovely, there are often cases where some nasty, spoiled girl turns up with a tiara and looks ridiculous. If someone were to act like a princess (the good kind), they should be allowed to dress like one. I still think this way, but I have no problem with somebody wearing a tiara in an ironic sense. For example somebody like Courtney Love wearing a short lacy dress, chunky shoes and a messy mop of hair looks pretty awesome in a tiara, even if she's no princess.

I think it actually started when I started going on Tumblr more often. I was adding and seeing more and more pictures of the likes of Princess Diana, fashion photo shoots with antiquated chairs fit to be thrones and the Disney cartoon GIF's. There were so many beautiful pictures that looked so regal. I couldn't help but start thinking that tiaras and jewelled hair clips were needed in the world...



Recent releases such as 'The Selection' by Kiera Cass and 'Throne of Glass' by Sarah J. Maas (which I'm still reading)  are very different stories that involve a possibility of becoming a princess, a beautiful castle and beautiful gowns. But, this royal element isn't exactly new to the world of YA. Last year 'Eve' by Anna Carey was released and before that there was the 'Wicked Lovely' Series by Melissa Marr (which featured several faerie courts with their own kings and queens) and 'Spellbound' by Cara Lynn Schultz (in which the character is a princess in her past life) are all books that feature royalty of some form. I'm interested in the messages that are coming across regarding royalty in these books and I think I'd like to read more stories that have kingdoms somewhere within.

Some of these stories use royalty to teach us about assumptions and stereotypes. Many people assume that royals (princes, princesses, kings and queens) are rich, beautiful and smart authority figures that have no restrictions and no problems. A lot of the time we also assume that they are a bit snobby. What these novels teach us about royals is that royals don't always have the easy lives we think they do. They have obligations, they have to make important decisions and they often live a very sheltered (and lonely) life because of fears of terrorism and such. Put the so-called perfect-at-everything person you know in real life in the place of the royals and BAM! They don't have it as easy as you think they do.

In the case of 'Eve' by Anna Carey, Royalty means Authority. In 'Eve' the main character is taught to obey the rules made by the King and she does this happily until she finds out that the king is not the saint everyone makes him out to be. So the book makes you ask: Should I question my authority figure? Are the rules there to protect me or benefit them?

In the 'Wicked Lovely' Series Royalty represents Obligation. In these books the character's position in the court/kingdom makes a big difference on the decisions they make. The position they are in is very important to them and they live their life around it. To me, I think this "position" is equal to a person's career or family/relationship role. People who are dedicated to their job and/or certain people in their life are very careful about decisions that regard those aspects of their life and they tend to put those things first.



I think it's fun to dress up like a princess and it would be cool to be treated like one, but I don't think I'd like all that responsibility. Royals have a lot of important decisions to make, they have to juggle their personal life with their obligations and they have a reputation to uphold. Being a princess not only means being dressed perfectly, but acting perfectly in the public eye as well... I'm definitely interested in reading more books with castles and crowns in them and am considering purchasing a tiara for any future costume parties (if any). And, as for Prince Charming? If I meet one of those, I hope he isn't an actual prince, because dating someone that popular would be an absolute nightmare!

What's your take on Tiaras? Do you like books that have a royal family somewhere within?

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