I was a blonde princess
Editorials and columns often allow a writer to push boundaries more than a typical news story. A piece of writing can be one-sided and it can be opinionated.
A column that appeared in the Northeast Avalon Times newspaper last week was just that.
The column, headlined “Pathetic in Pink,” was written by author Robin McGrath and had some choice words concerning blonde haired, blue-eyed princesses who wear pink.
Normally, I would turn the other cheek. But because it hit so close to home, I want to address it here.
I was born blonde. In fact, I am still naturally a shade of dirty blonde, although my hair colour changes with the seasons.
I am also what some may refer to as a former princess. In 2004, I was Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador. The dress I wore for the pageant was pink.
At my first event, I wore a pink sweater. For Halloween, I went trickor-treating at the Janeway dressed like a princess in a pink puffy tulle ball gown.
The only thing preventing me from being the target of the article is that I have brown eyes. But I have a sister who was born blonde, has blue eyes and once held the title of Miss Carbonear.
I have another sister who is a brunette with hazel eyes and was Miss Newfoundland and Labrador. She currently runs two successful pageants for young girls — with all hair colours — ages eight to 12 and 13 to 18. She also managed a pageant for young children from birth to age five this past September.
We are what some may call a pageant family, but in no way do we consider ourselves entitled, like the article suggests.
“I want to… squash their sense of superiority,” McGrath wrote.
Not once in my life have I felt like anyone owed me anything. I ’ve worked hard for what I have, including my car, my education and my job.
Several media outlets have reported that the editor and publisher of the paper has said the intent of the article was misunderstood and that the article was a commentary was about princess culture and modern parenting.
“Little girls don’t have the money to buy pink princess outfits or fairy wings, or pink, battery-powered Barbie convertibles,” McGrath writes.
Reading this, I felt like the months I spent being a role model for little girls, dressing in pink tulle, wearing a crown and taking part in all sorts of public events was for nothing — by the way, I used to own a battery-powered Barbie Jeep.
I felt like I was being torn down by a woman with a personal vendetta against Princess Diana, who, by the way, is someone I grew up idolizing because my mom thought she was such a wonderful person. I still cry lis- tening to “Candle in the Wind.”
McGrath called the People’s Princess a “suicidal, bulimic, pitiful, manipulative neurotic.”
Regardless of its intent to be hyperbole, it has been taken at face value by many readers.
But then I realized, little girls — and little boys — have a will and a right to like whatever they choose, regardless of the hurtful words in this article.
I am not a parent, but I am an aunt. I have a nephew who owns a purple Hello Kitty doll and a pink Care Bear. He picked them out himself. He also plays with trains and trucks.
As a former “princess,” I am proud to say I was a role model to those blonde haired, blue-eyed little girls, the brunettes with hazel eyes, the red heads with green eyes and many others in between.
I appreciate that experience every day, and know that I have made a little child’s face light up when they told their parents they met a real live princess.
I recall hearing a child tell me when I wore pink how I was their favourite princess because it was their favourite colour.
It’s not all fun, games and entitlement. In fact, I was scrutinized more than most girls my age — I was 18 and living on campus at Memorial University. I was under a microscope at different events and had to ensure I was on my best behaviour at all times.
So what’s wrong with wearing pink? Nothing. What is the issue with being blonde-haired and blue-eyed? Nothing. And what about admiring a princess? I may be biased, but I don’t see an issue with it.
To those young girls out there who think they need to fit into some kind of mould, have pride in your hair and eye colour and don’t be ashamed of liking pink, blue, or, as my dad would say, sky-blue pink.
And as Lady Gaga, who is also blonde on occasion, would say, you were born that way, so embrace it and don’t let others bring you down.