Disney princesses

To me, there is something deeply creepy about the selling of princessdom to little girls.

It’s not as if I have a problem with little kids having an active fantasy life, because I don’t. Having a fantasy life that’s molded and shaped by Disney Inc. — well, it’s not exactly using your imagination after a point, is it?

And I certainly liked stories about princesses when I was a kid. Ozma, the lost Princess of Oz, was a favorite book character. So was Shirley Temple’s “The Little Princess.” But I liked stories about people who did stuff better than I liked pretending to be a princess.

Some parents are just going along with the overwhelming corporate Disney marketing, and haven’t given it much thought. Some of them, if they’re not all that creative, aren’t too imaginative about how to stimulate their kid’s fantasy lives, and it’s Disney to the rescue!

For a lot of parents, it just seems harmless. But I don’t think it is. It really does cultivate a certain kind of cute, pouty passivity in girls, whether you mean for it to happen or not.

I do wish parents would stop and think before they fork over their cash to this gender-ghettoed pink marketing behemoth. (Wear princess costumes as a kid, make your parents take you to Disney World, grow up to find your prince and get married in a Disney Princess wedding gown at the wedding pavilion at Disney World. Corporate synergy! Vertical integration!)

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Disney princesses

  1. uh, wasn’t there a book and a whole lot of discussion of this in the 70s or 80s? it just wasn’t all about disney?

  2. Planting the seeds of narcissism……. Everything pink and purple!!!! Puke!!!!
    I have 2 nieces that are steeped in the princess world.
    Fortunately, the 8 years old is moving away from that and asked for a telescope for Christmas ( and not a pink one!) I actually saw her wear a BLUE outfit recently. So I think some can grow out of it.
    The 3 year old’s “Princess” attitudes are totally generated by her parents. The amounts of pink princess rubbish that is purchased for her really disturbs me. It went as far as her mother insisting that her little girl was asking for a pink shotgun so she may go deer hunting with her father.
    A little bit of the princess thing goes a long way. I hope parents use it judiciously.

  3. What I found scary is how pervasive the marketing is. I can’t walk in any large public place without seeing nothing but little girls in pink and shades of purple.

    One of my great-neices will wear nothing but those colors. Absolutely nothing.

    Fortunately, her younger cousin just demands dresses only, colors can vary.

    When out with my family over the holidays, it was impossible to keep an eye on the older grand-neice as every other girl around her size and age was dressed in the exact same colors. They all look alike.

  4. I once came across some nice angel figurines at a yard sale, and displayed them in my house. Somehow, people decided that I now “collected” angels, and from then on in, I was inundated with the critters for every possible occasion. (Many of them were pretty tacky, too.)

    I wonder how much of this is kids expressing a mild interest that’s fanned into a roaring flame by Disney. Whatever, I’m a curmudgeon — somebody has to grumble.

  5. I couldn’t agree more about the commodification angle.

    In our house we have a 4.5 yo who is totally into fairies, princesses and mermaids and while she’s only seen a few minutes of THAT Nazi Sympathizer’s genre’s, it still seeps in through peers at school.

    Most (ALL) of our dressup (trademarked) clothes have come as handmedowns, so we’ve limited it that way.

    Anecdotally until 200?ish years ago, the boy color was pink and girl blue.

    I ‘never’ bought her pink until after about 2 years in, when I saw the writing on the wall and gave up. If she likes her dresses / outfits enough to get dressed herself, that’s one less battle in daily barrage of limits testing.

    Don’t get me started on kids and cell phones (says the last the anti-cell phone luddite)

  6. “Oh, no! It’s all my fault!” says Beauty/ Mulan/ Ariel. Probably more.
    There’s always “Zena, Warrior Princess,” if they really want to play…

  7. They drive me crazy and yet my 6yo eats them up. My problem with all this is first off the message to little girls that you are not complete until you have your man. Second is a little more personal in that my daughter is Hispanic and I would love for there to be a positive image or any image other than Dora in the media that looks like her. But sadly she’s one of the others and we won’t see that.

  8. I hate those princess bitches and I can’t get away from them.
    It’s not my fault, either. God knows, I tried to reason my daughter away from from them when she was in preschool (3.5yo) and *every* other little girl in her school was fairly coated in Princess Kitsch. She’s now in 1st grade and it hasn’t let up one bit.

    As much as I hate the Princess barrage, I know I cannot shield her from it. I let her have her wands and tiaras. I let her have the occasional ballerina dress (she calls them princess dresses and that’s okay by me). I’ve allowed her one Disney Princess dress for Halloween (and I bought it used so I wouldn’t be throwing money at Corporate Beelzebub). I try to keep it as open-ended and generic as possible, knowing she’s getting all the brainwashing from her peers at school.

    As long as she was determined to immerse herself in the Helpless Disney Princess slime, I made it my goal to expose to her to “strong” princesses. Her favorite princess now are Princess Leia (she doesn’t take crap from Darth Vader and she can kick butt) and Princess Diana because she is a Goddess and she is Wonder Woman who kicks butt and saves the world all the time. When my daughter gets all whiny, we explain that she’s behaving like one of those wussy Disney Princesses. C’mon! What would Wonder Woman do?

    Goddess forbid my daughter grow up to believe that style trumps substance.

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