A princess holding an embroidery hoop sits in a small room with her tutor. Just outside the door, a roguish young man holding a pair of swords whispers to the princess.
Tutor: After you’ve completed your fifth stitch, you may enquire –
Rogue: Pst! Princess! Ask for a washroom break, and you can sneak out to fence.
Princess: I’m in the middle of an embroidery etiquette lesson.
Rogue: That’s why you have to be sneaky.
Princess: But I like embroidery etiquette.
The tutor is staring at the princess, looking stern, while the princess looks defensive.
Tutor: Princess, who are you talking to?
Princess: A friend who wants me to sneak out, but I told him no.
The princess sags her shoulders as she stands, looking glum.
Tutor: How many times have we covered this? You are a princess. It’s your duty to sneak off from your girly lessons to learn weaponry.
Princess: Yes, ma’am.
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Comments on Proper Behavior
LOL … I didn’t see that coming, but I love it!
Great one, Bunny and Chris!
I’d love to see a fictional princess win a story by being a princess. By knowing statecraft and being feminine. Those have value too.
Yes, I’d love to see that, too. Instead of wielding a weapon, she makes the right allies and shows her skill at ruling a country well.
If I remember rightly, ‘The Decoy Princess’ by Dawn Cook/Kim Harrison has a protagonist who needs to use her diplomatic skills and court contacts as well as her fighting abilities to succeed.
Sophia The First is generally about this, even if its a kids show.
Even the villains are often dealt with by compassion or allying with the right person
There was a VN game called the 7 princess problem, and you can pick different backgrounds (one of which is a sheltered princess)
Fashion, etiquette, and grace matter a great deal in staying alive. You can play a character who never learns combat and do well, but if you want the best endings social skills are a must if you want to foster world peace, or even get certain romances.
The Princess is not only expected to learn swordfighting, but to do it by sneaking away from embroidery lesson…
Must be an interesting history behind that tradition.
Although this is no Game of Thrones fan comic, it would be hilarious if Sansa and Arya grew up in this country. The shoe would literally be on the other foot.
Actually, I could imagine Arya raising her daughters this way.
Actually I think Arya, if she ever had daughters, would just straight-up teach them weaponry. Why bother having to sneak?
Funny twist. A princess whose tutor tells her it’s her duty to sneak out? Never thought I’d see that. Good one again!
It teaches stealth, and you never know when you’ll need to be able to sneak away.
I’m not entirely sure this is on topic, though I believe this question is related. Are we allowed to use swear words in comments? I’ve wanted to write some comments with some swear words, but I’m unsure whether that would violate the comment policy. Thanks in advance.
We don’t completely ban swears, but we advise using them with with caution, as we prefer to keep the comments PG unless there’s a compelling to do otherwise.
Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.
I love this. I am a very masculine woman who never did like girly things growing up, and I hate this trope. If it isn’t for me, then who is it for?
It also never helps that the princesses never sacrifice anything for focus on weaponry. This trope doesn’t produce butch princesses who don’t fit within their gender paradigm. It produces flawlessly feminine princesses who despise the feminine… which is just bizarre.
That’s a good point.
It’s one thing to say ‘the princess can protect herself in an emergency’ and ‘she’s skilled in several fighting techniques.’ In that case, the princess can still look feminine and she can also still have a lot of feminine skills. A princess focused on weaponry, on the hand, should not be a petite feminine girl, she should have a certain amount of muscles. If she despises the feminine, she should have adapted something more practical to wear and fought those who want to force her into a feminine role.
Possibly it’s for the slightly futch (a category in between butch and femme) girls who are closeted and don’t want to admit they defy gender tropes, or for shallow feminism brownie points.
Shallow as in the writer WANTS to create a gender defying character but can only go so far because respectability politics.
Thus the so-called gender busting “not like other girls” still has to have long hair and be slender without large muscles.
just wanted to say thank you for calling out the ‘without large muscles’ point. shows the ultimate hypocrisy in how this gets presented 9 times out of 10 (or 10 out of 10).
I saw the first twist coming, that she actually likes embroidery etiquette.
I did NOT see the second twist coming, that her tutor wants her to sneak out for fencing! :D
Great comic. Shows how a subversion can become the new cliché. We’re at a point where princesses rebelling against gender norms and wanting to swordfight is the norm. Just like dragons being misunderstood instead of evil.
But as other commenters have pointed out, this new cliché isn’t actually freeing, it still posits that there is exactly one right way to be a girl and if you’re too feminine or too masculine, you’re doing it wrong. That’s still hurtful.
I want more stories with diverse characters and the message that finding your true self is worthwhile regardless of how similar or dissimilar it is to other people’s expectations of you.
yes, yes, except after you complete your weapons training having impressed the swordsmaster beyond any other student ever has, because you’re really such a BAMF and you go out to fight *for real*, your duty as a female protagonist is to completely suck at it and have to be rescued by the Farmboy(TM) who has never had a swordfighting lesson in his life. that’s realistic, right?
“Mind if I sneak off from the weaponry lessons to learn embroidery?”