The Disney princesses (all of them) are big in our house. They are in just about every make believe my daughter concocts, and next to BoBo (her best friend lovey) is about the only thing she plays with. She knows all the stories, has seen most of the feature films, owns dresses her size that she can dress up in. She is about the identical copy of just about every 4 year old girl we know.
I don’t remember how it started, but I know it wasn’t because of me. My daughter one day decided her favorite color was no longer green, it was pink. Then it just hit like a Tsunami. I take every opportunity to tell her that it’s no picnic being cooped up in the castle all the time, being nitpicked for your behavior and that the clothes were really uncomfortable. She already knows that it sucks to be forced to marry someone (thank you Jasmine) and often works this into her drama play. The princesses run away together and never get married. At the same time, she says that when she grows up, she and her best friend, Alice, are going to be Princesses. I tell her that in order to do that you will both need to marry Princes and live somewhere far far away. She seemed fine with that.
I ponder a lot as to what the fascination is with being a princess. Sure, who doesn’t secretly want to be rich and beautiful. Still, I think it’s more than that. I think small children are attracted to magical things. Our modern world is so damn drab and boring. Mom’s dress in mom jeans and drive mini-vans, and everything is brown, gray, or tan. There is no sparkle, no drama, no ta-da! I personally would prefer to live in a world of fairies, intricate ballgowns, unicorns, breathtaking castles, lavish balls, wizards etc. Wouldn’t you?
I began to ponder even more yesterday when I saw this on Facebook:
There were over 34,000 likes and 6,000 comments. The comments were a mix of hatred for Disney and people who loved Disney and were sad to have their icons trashed in this way.
How do I feel? I think the captions are exaggerating quite a bit. I would love to know if they were written by a man or a woman. Was this person a parent of an actual little girl? Do they realize that many of these stories are in the public domain and not even cooked up by Disney? Does George Takei know any of this? Does he have a daughter?
I am no starry-eyed Disnophile either. I feel these ladies are too sexualized – they weren’t this sexy in the films. The coy head tilts and eye batting can get pretty disgusting. This was even more apparent on the princess section on Disney.com. The giggling and breathy pauses were more Marilyn Monroe than Disney princess, and they made me want to throw up. I think I even said, “this is awful!” out loud when Melody and I were trying to find some entertainment value there. She didn’t disagree.
Disney princesses, in the mind of a small girl also are changeable to whatever she wants them to be. In our house they like to do yoga and their favorite music is disco. They save each other from peril, they trade dresses, and never talk about men.
What would I do without the princesses? Cinderella is the model of a good work ethic – maintaining your good humor, hopes, and dreams through spite and drudgery. (I still cheer for her when she gets away from those bitches). Belle loves books, thought the hottest guy in town was boring, and was willing to sacrifice herself to save a sick parent. Sleeping beauty was in love with the guy who sang with her in the woods, even though she didn’t know he was a prince. Jasmine fell in love with a pauper, even though she had all the money in the world. Snow White was super nice to animals and adopted seven little ugly working class guys and took such good care of them that they fought for her life. And Ariel, who I almost like best of all, dreamed of places far away and forbidden and risked everything to be something different (she wanted to be human BEFORE she met the guy). And they didn’t even show Rapunzel or Tiana because they would be too hard to criticize in their current Disney form. Wait until they get a load of Merida from BRAVE.
These are all classic romantic stories of love, sacrifice, and following your dreams. That is why my daughter (and I) love them. I hear that the girls are going to grow out of Princesses and start loving horses and skateboards. Yes, they do move on from princess play. However, I am in no rush. I have never stopped wanting to dress up fancy, ride horses, dance with handsome men, and hang out in castles, and I never thought any of the things in those captions.