Unless you have a little girl in your life, you are probably unaware that the clever marketers at Disney have amassed a sizable fortune by bundling the Disney princesses together as though they were the Justice League of America and have been selling, selling, selling the hell out of them. Not only DVD’s but clothing, books, knick-knacks, costumes, foodstuffs, dinnerware etc. The list is ENDLESS.
My problem, aside from the predatory marketing to children, is the message that some of the old guard Princesses send to my daughters.
There is, believe it or not, a Princess hierarchy with Cinderella at the top of the food chain. Next in line is Sleeping Beauty with the others trailing behind in various ranks of importance.
The older, most popular, stories carry the exact same sad theme. That is to say, at the end of each story each princess is either in a comatose state (Sleeping Beauty), dead (Snow White) or is destine to a lifetime of slavery and cruelty (Cinderella) until what? Until some man walks into their lives and rescues them from their horrible fate. I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that redemption and happiness will only arrive when they are “saved” by a prince. It’s a lie.
I’ve observed that each little girl tends to gravitate towards one special princess who becomes her “favorite.” When she was going through this phase, 7-Year Old Daughter, without any encouragement or guidance from me, thank God almighty, favored Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine, who were not only the more self-reliant Princesses of the bunch, but were minorities to boot! She didn’t get all wrapped up in the 1950s lily white suburban princess dream. Mulan and Pocahontas reject marriage at the end of their movies for a greater good! Go 7-Year Old!
Last night, 2.5-Year Old Daughter asked me to read to her. I told her to go get some books. She came back with a arm full of Disney Princess books. So now it begins all over again.