Princesses Fighting Cancer

Mon, January 24, 2011

Changing the World

As a mother of a daughter, I’ve long had ambivalent feelings about princesses, especially how Disney princesses are marketed to our children.  Most little girls go through a phase where they latch on to one of the Disney gals — Ariel was a particular favorite for PunditGirl, even though I couldn’t bear the thought of a character being willing to totally abandon her family for some guy she’d just laid eyes on.   Clearly we had a lot of talks about that one.

Princesses are getting a lot of attention this week with the release of Peggy Orenstein’s new book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” a memoir that’s apparently about the culture of raising “girly-girls.”  I haven’t read it yet because I need a little break from “momoirs” for a while because my head is still spinning over this whole Tiger Mother thing.  But if we’re going to fight the Disney marketing machine and how the culture of  frills and flounces impacts our daughters, then we ought to focus on other princesses like “The Paper Bag Princess,”  “Princess Smartypants,” and “The Princess Knight,” just to name a few.  And let’s not forget my favorite non-princess princess Mulan — she’s not really a princess, she’s smarter than the boys and she saves China.  That’s some serious girl empowerment.

But there’s one other non-girly princess in particular that I am hoping you’ll all join me in focusing on –

This is the warrior Lego princess that sits on the desk of my friend Susan who is battling breast cancer for the fourth time in as many years.  But she’s not a girl who soley focuses on herself.  Aside from her family and her work, she’s also an advocate for other breast cancer patients.  Because of her generosity and selflessness, her friends in the blogosphere are trying to help her in her efforts to raise money to provide lymphedema sleeves to patients who can’t afford them (t hey are often not covered by insurance or Medicare).  Kristin stepped up, and then so did Amie and then Jessica and  Leticia and Marty and others.  Plus Amie created this rockin’ button with the princess warrior — head over to her place and grab one for yourself.

So how can I not support Susan in this?  You see, aside from Susan, I have another reason to support her efforts to raise money for others who battling breast cancer.  My best and closest friend in the world lost her battle with breast cancer four years ago.  I know she’d also want me to step up.  If she was still here, I know she would, too.

So, if you leave a comment to this post, I will donate $1 for every comment up to 500 left by Friday, January 28 to Crickett’s Answer who is partnering with LympheDivas to provide women with free lymphedema sleeves, something that helps ease the pain of  undergoing chemo treatment.  And,of course, you can always donate directly if you’d like to do that.

As Amie said at her place, I can’t make Susan’s cancer go away.  If I had one of those Harry Potter wands or Lucy’s flask from the Chronicles of Narnia, I would.  But I can show Susan that I stand with her in her fight and in her effort to help others.  It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

I hope you’ll join me in kicking cancer’s ass, once princess at a time.

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75 Responses to “Princesses Fighting Cancer”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Here’s a big thank you from yet another cancer, um, don’t want to say victim, that sounds so powerless…can’t yet shout out “survivor,” suffice it to say sufferer, I suppose. I’ve been through chemo, almost halfway through radiation, and everything has gone surprisingly well. I don’t quite believe the cancer-free part, yet, though. And when I hear about “fourth time” re-occurence, it makes me want to shout out for a Handsome Prine to come along and save me–save US–from this awful disease. (I actually have one who has taken care of me marvelously; sadly, he doesn’t have that magic wand either.)

    I take strength from Susan and all those wonderful women who have gone before, and shown us that princesses come in all stripes. My warrior princess self has been supported by an amazing army of family and friends, all who have propped me up and encouraged my own brave efforts.

    My daughter, now 18, loved princesses early only, but transformed quickly into the sports girl she still is. How fascinating, then, that she and her high school friends formed a silly band of Disney princesses one Halloween Eve that they still continue years later. What I know about her, despite the foray into princesshood, is her strong and powerful approach to life. Though beleaguered by a leg syndrome that was supposed to be cured by surgery (not one but two), she plays through pain every basketball game, diving for balls and showing composure throughout. She has worked through every challenge–including a recent broken nose and sickness of a friend–with bravery and grace, and I think we take inspiration from each other. So perhaps princesses do have their place, as long as they are not passive whiners.

    When people ask “How can you be so strong?” I look at her and say “How can I not?” And yet I fear totally hearing much worse news than I have to this point…

    I just thank all of you for helping support the fight.

  2. Kathy Says:

    I mean PRINCE

  3. Cheryl Mattis Says:

    For Susan and all the other warrior princesses (and princes too) who have faced the evil “c”

  4. Kate @ UpsideBackwards Says:

    Susan has such wonderful, caring, generous friends. I’m proud to be part of the Princess Army!

  5. Jennifer L Says:

    I love the whole idea of an army of princesses, helping out their fellow princesses in times of need. And as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, thank you.

  6. carosgram Says:

    Thanks for supporting Susan!

  7. ant Says:

    Thanks for doing this.

  8. Yvonne Keller Says:

    Thanks for doing this, and all your feminist mom comments. As a feminist academic now full-time mom, I really appreciate your perpective.

  9. mary beth volpini Says:

    you are all amazing….

  10. robin marty Says:

    I would like to add http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Pizza-Mary-Jane-Auch/dp/0823416836- princess and the pizza. Princess invents pizza to win a prince, then realizes she’d rather run a restaurant.

  11. Kristen Says:

    I love this, Joanne. xo

  12. Karianna Says:

    Excellent, as always. Thank you – and the others spreading the word!

  13. souphead Says:

    thank you for doing this.
    cancer sucks!

  14. GayleH Says:

    Thanks PunditMom!

  15. Lezzymom Says:

    Mulan is my favorite too! Thanks for doing this.

  16. Joan Says:

    Hi Joanne! I knew nothing about lymphedema sleeves, or this particular side effect of having breast cancer, until you posted the link to Susan’s blog several weeks ago. What an inspiration she is– I have thought about her many times since I read her blog. Thank you all for doing this. Joan R.

  17. Lindsay Says:

    Just joined the army. Personally, I think this world needs as many princesses as it can get! :)

  18. WordyDoodles Says:

    I’m so glad you’re doing this and as usual, riveted by your blogging and inspired to get going on my own again. The Lego princess is pretty much the greatest. And this cause rocks– will post it on FB. xo

  19. aimee Says:

    Wonderful! The button is up on my site!!

  20. Lisse Says:

    I can’t add much more than what’s already been said, so in honor of WhyMommy…

    “Go, Susan, GO!”

  21. Cyndi Says:

    I love all 3 princess books you listed — am using them to battle against the “Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses” book that my 3-year-old daughter brought home from the library this week. Blech.

    I’m friends with Marty and added the button to my site — you rock for making this gift!

  22. Amy Says:

    Thanks for doing this. I’m kind of anti-princess, and kind of anti-warrior, but princess-warriors somehow seem okay :)

  23. Kim Tracy Prince Says:

    Oh my gosh, I wish I had discovered this days ago so I could have spread the word a little bit farther. Go princesses!

  24. Tamela Says:

    We need an extension and I made the deadline if you count PST. Love you highlight of Mulan. We need that Princess. I LOVE MULAN and I have watched it many times even with no kids around. Power to you and all that you do for the women of the world. You are an angel. Now, about that extension. The women wire just a hold of this and we can rock this out.


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