When you flip through a history book, it becomes clear pretty early on that men take up the majority of the pages. From kings to generals to philosophers to inventors you’re going to find twenty men to every one woman you read about. Does that mean that women accomplished less than men? Of course not! While most societies have narrowed women’s opportunities throughout the ages, there have been plenty who have accomplished amazing things in the same arenas as men. Rejected Princesses seeks to tell their stories, collecting 100 stories of women from all parts of the world and all eras in one intriguing tome. This is not to say that every woman in this book is a paragon of virtue. There are reasons why many have been found unsuitable for the “princess treatment” that Disney has given characters like Rapunzel, Snow White and Mulan. Still, just as we read of Napoleon Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson and learn from their lives, both the good and the bad, we can learn from these women as well.
Rejected Princesses started out simply as a fun project that its creator Jason Porath did in his spare time. After a conversation with coworkers at DreamWorks on women who would never get their own blockbuster movie, Porath wrote a Facebook post asking friends for their ideas on who would make the most inappropriate “princess”. While many of the entries were funny, some of the women mentioned were actually quite compelling. Porath sketched some doodles of these women to share with his friends and the rest, as they say, is history. Porath started the Rejected Princesses website, posting illustrations and articles on noteworthy women, each entry throughly researched with sources cited. The website was met with a great deal of enthusiasm, and to this day many of the women who Porath features on the site are found through suggestions and references provided by readers. Porath continues to write new entries on history’s unsung heroes (and villains) and has a blog, Modern Worthies, on which he posts articles on impressive contemporary women changing the world today.
While everyone should be educated on women’s history, it is critical to Porath that the unvarnished truth (as far as historical records allow) be told about these women. This means that not all content on the website or in the Rejected Princesses book might be deemed appropriate for children. To help with this issue, the book is separated into five different maturity levels, ranging from women who were clearly heroes with bright, virtuous stories, to those woman who were downright wicked. There are also icons indicating sensitive topics within each story such as violence, sex or self-harm. While this is not a book that should be put in the hands of young children to read freely, many of the stories are quite beneficial and entertaining. I believe Rejected Princesses would make an excellent bedtime story book, with one or two entries being chosen by the parent to read each night.
My sister and I have been doing just that. I find Rejected Princesses to be an enjoyable read before going to bed, the sort of book you get through bit by bit then go back and re-read your favorite parts. The candid and humorous narrative makes every entry memorable and makes learning fun. This is a book for all people. No matter your age, gender or race, you’re sure to find a woman in here who reminds you of yourself or someone you love. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s one that I will treasure in my own literary collection for many years to come.
You can order your own copy of Rejected Princesses today!