Hey GirlMoguls – we recently told you about the treasury of Real Life Princesses – a new book series about real life queens and princesses. We got to ask a few questions about the series with the author Shirin Yin:
1. What do you think girls can learn about leadership from this series
Well, in a way these princesses leave us without excuses. Some of them came from times and cultures where the barriers against women being able to lead were enormous compared to those we still face today. When Artemisia was a child, girls were supposed to stay inside the house. Nur Jahan came from a culture where she was never supposed to even show her face. Even in Ancient Egypt, where women had many rights compared to other parts of the ancient world, and where there had been many powerful queens, Hatshepsut was the first queen to say “I’m doing the work, I should get the recognition” and declare herself Pharaoh.
2. These princesses were important because of who they, but they never would have gotten a chance to “shine” if they hadn’t been born to or married the “right” person – what can the modern girl take away from this?
Well, I’m not sure that’s quite true. It would be unfair to think that these girls had it easy—that their paths were greased just because they were princesses. No doubt there were many advantages to being a princess, not least their proximity to power, but, you also have to remember, for example, that of all the Ancient Greek princesses over hundreds if not thousands of years, Artemisia is the only one that we know of who found a way to learn how to sail a ship! She is the only one we know of who led a navy. And then, as the sole woman surrounded by a cohort of men, she outshone them, not only with her prowess, but with her courage and honesty. In fact, in Ancient Greece, as in many cultures, the higher your birth, the more secluded you often were.
So I think the point here is that each one of these princesses did what even other princesses had failed to do. The modern message is that whatever the limitations you face, however much or little is expected of you, however hard or easy your particular position in society makes it, you can do more than that. You can do what nobody might expect of you—and everything that you want and expect for yourself.
3. Do you have a favorite princess? If so, why
I think Qutlugh is my favorite princess because she betters the traditional fairy-tale. Here’s a princess who was beautiful—so beautiful that wars were fought over her. But better than that, she was wise—so wise that the people overturned tradition and asked her to stay on as their ruler. How fabulous then that what she is remembered for is neither her beauty nor her wisdom. Instead, she is remembered for her compassion, for proving time and again that there was room for mercy. I love that! In my opinion, beauty’s not a bad thing to have, wisdom’s even better, but the best thing, surely, is to be kind.
4. Do you think there are things girls can do – even when they’re “young” to get themselves ready for success, or greatness?
I’d say, pay attention. Look around you and think about you see. What is good? What is fair? Why are people doing the things they’re doing? And look inside you. What do you like? What interests you? It’s easiest to be successful when you are following a passion. And to be great, I think you need to know what you stand for.
5. Anything else you would like share or highlight?
For those of your readers who might not have heard of us before, I’d like to invite them to check us out at www.goosebottombooks.com. For those of your readers who are already fans, I’m happy to share the news that we are launching a new series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames, this October!