My daughter was called names three times on Saturday. Actually, she was called one name by three different people. And that name was ‘Princess’.

Every time I hear the term I cringe — and not just because I’m a republican and the idea of inherited titles strikes me as absurd and offensive. I don’t call my daughter princess because once you get beyond the tiara, big hair and the sparkly dresses, there’s not much left.

Princesses rarely act, but are acted upon. Their lives are scripted out before them and their identity is permanently linked to a man or, at the very least, patriarchal institutions. They lack spontaneity and are confined to a life of being looked at from within a gilded cage.

Princesses in popular culture are either boringly passive or have an overbearing sense of entitlement.

Of course when people call my daughter a ‘Princess’, they mean it as a term of endearment. It’s supposed to send the message that she’s special or ought to be treated in a special way. But once girls hit puberty, the term loses its gloss.

It’s not for nothing that the phrase ‘Suck it up princess’ is thrown at anyone — woman or man —who’s perceived to be work-shy or weak. It’s a rather unsubtle way of telling someone to get over themselves.

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