School's 'You Are Not A Princess' Ads Give Girls Much-Needed Real Talk


Metastasized princess culture is responsible for all manner of social ills — the wedding-industrial complex, Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire? (strong timely cultural reference), and holiday jewelry ads, to name a few. Probably land mines. Now, one ad campaign is aiming to stop The Princess Problem at the source: by telling girls that their lives aren’t going to be all birds doing their hair and bland princes with brushes on the shoulders of their suit jackets. But that’s not the most refreshing part: the entity behind the ads is a Catholic school.

Kentucky’s Mercy Academy, an all-girls college prep school, is urging prospective students to “prepare for real life” and “learn how to rescue yourself.” AdWeek calls this cool and refreshing, a progressive break from the sort of rhetoric a person might expect from a religious academy (although, nitpick: I was a practicing Catholic from the time my parents baptized me until I was in my mid-twenties, and I never remember emerging from CCD thinking, oh man, this religion is REALLY SETTING ME UP to be taken care of by a man who’s gonna spoil me! But I digress.).

Is “You are not a princess” jarring? Sure. Fun-spoiling? Maybe. But telling girls that fairy tales aren’t real isn’t nearly as jarring and fun-spoiling as the realization that no human being’s hair will ever be as fabulous as Ariel’s hair was under the sea, nor will anyone’s swept-aside bangs ever make that perfect gravity-defying side-wave so many of the princesses sport. Most little girls with princess dreams realize on their own that Mickey is a lying sack of mouse shit. But for those who don’t, or haven’t by the time they’re starting to think about high school, this ad campaign is a helpful reminder.


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