The latest story running over at Erstwhile has spawned some interesting comments –
Namely, some commenters, such as Kali, are upset that other commenters think that the princesses should be punished for essentially committing premeditated murder-by-proxy. Note the justifications involved: these women aren’t free! Wouldn’t you strike out!
It displays a stunning ignorance of – or perhaps disdain for – cultures other than our current Western female-oriented one. Against what standard would medieval princesses be comparing their fates? Nobility would be treated essentially the same. The merchants’ daughters? The peasants, serfs, and slaves? Indeed, even royal males’ fates included being bought, sold, and bred like cattle – Henry VIII had to proclaim himself the head of his own church in order to gain the power to choose his own women!
So, in fact, these princesses had some of the most advantaged lives of their contemporaries, when the idea that women could do anything a man could do would have gotten you branded as an out-and-out lunatic. But imagine the twelve of them found their situation intolerable somehow. How does instigating the murder of eligible bachelors become excusable? They may not have “freedom” – but no royals have full freedom; even today, they are public figures with responsibilities to others that bind them from birth. Murdering a handful of princes does nothing to improve their situation, practically (getting married gave a woman a chance to run her own household; even though their roles were restrained, women have never been without power!) or even theoretically – those princes had done nothing to deserve death. Inventing imaginary reasons why the princes were horrible people and the princesses are somehow therefore justified in engaging in Murder-By-Government is exactly the kind of thinking that excuses things like, oh, I don’t know, how about false rape accusations that ruin men’s lives? False domestic violence and sexual abuse accusations in family court? Hey, a man’s life is ruined, but at least a woman got what she wanted! And a woman not getting what she wants (no matter how ridiculous, as putting modern “liberated” women into a fairytale would be) is enough to excuse whatever she does. Up to and including serial murder.
Disgusting. No matter how the world treats you, there is no excuse for premeditated murder of strangers. How is the fact that someone has taken something important from you – even as important as your “freedom” (yeah, tell the serfs about how tough you have it as a princess, girls) – in any way a mitigating factor if you turn around and deprive someone else of their life?