Podcast 49: Princess Culture and the Code of Chivalry

CinderellaScott explores “princess culture” with Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture as they discuss the icon of the princess in today’s media – from Barbie® and the Disney Princesses® to pink birthday cakes, boutique-edition Monopoly®, and beauty pageants for 5-year-olds – and consider how this emerging hyper-feminine image reflects (and distorts) the place of chivalry in today’s world.

Plus: A gathering of medieval sword-fighting enthusiasts at the Fechtschule America 2011 in Dallas, Texas, studies the combative side of medieval chivalry and the art of defense.

Quicklinks — Use the links below to learn more about the books and events mentioned in this podcast:

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Segment 1: Cinderella, Princesses, and the Code of Chivalry

PeggyOrensteinScott speaks with journalist and author Peggy Orenstein about her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Line of Today’s New Girlie-Girl Culture and how the hyper-feminine image of the princess in today’s world affects our understanding of relationships, gender roles, and the traditions of chivalry. Peggy’s insightful, wry, and ultimately pragmatic look at the commercialization of what was once a harmless little girls’ fantasy (every five-year-old plays at being a princess at some point … ) provides some interesting thoughts on the feminine ideal, dating expectations, and the subtly shifting intention behind chivalrous, gentlemanly manners.

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Segment 2: Fechtschule America 2011 – Chivalry On The Edge


Scott is joined by Scott Brown, organizer and director of the Fechtschule America 2011 Conference, a gathering of medieval sword-fighting experts, historical fencing masters, and others interested in learning the arts of combat from the Age of Chivalry. A Fechtschule is an old European tradition in which local and visiting instructors would host traveling scholars to offer focused combat training, present skillful displays, and hold specialized tournaments to amuse and entertain excited spectators. Keeping with this tradition, Fechtschule America is an annual gathering of sword combat and Western martial arts enthusiasts from all over the globe – a long weekend full of seminars, demonstrations, and competitions to advance the study of medieval fighting arts.

Learn more about the 2011 Fechtschule America at the event’s website. The event will be held March 25-27, 2011, at Lutheran High North; 1130 West 34th Street in Houston, Texas (77018). Admission fees, seminar schedules, and tournament rules can all be found on the website; all visitors are welcome, and tickets are available at the door.

Below: Watch the final bout of the longsword competition at the 2010 Fechtschule America Conference.

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Next Month: Scott’s guest will be Christian Tobler, author of several translations of medieval fighting texts, and director of the new instructional DVD, German Medieval Martial Arts: The Poleaxe, who will discuss the study and interpretation of historical fighting skills as a way of understanding the medieval ideal of chivalry.
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