Former Nike, Inc. executive Andy Mooney was appointed chairman of The Walt Disney Company's Disney Consumer Products division in the late 1990s. While attending the company's first Disney on Ice show, Mooney realized that several young girls attending were dressed in princess attire that was not authentic Disney products. "They were generic princess products they’d appended to a Halloween costume," Mooney told The New York Times. Concerned by this, Mooney addressed the company the following morning and encouraged them to commence work on a legitimate Disney Princess franchise.
ORDDU: Sometimes I think the topic of princesses is over-analyzed to the point where it loses it's point. For those who enjoy the princesses, let them enjoy the princesses. For those who enjoy pirates, let them enjoy the pirates.
ORGOCH: An' fer those of us who enjoys frogs, let's go on a frog hunt!!
I think this is the main reason why Rapunzel became my favorite Disney Princess after Ariel was for the longest time. I gotta say Disney did give her lots of different talents, just look at all the stuff she does in her tower! The girl charts stars and paints all over her walls. As far as the way she's marketted however, I guess is the same as the rest?
The main idea I'm getting from the OP is that little girls now are trying to emulate the princesses based purely off of looks and not what the personalities and characters portray? Or is it that is what Disney marketting is telling them? Well, I remember I was about 7 years old when The Little Mermaid came out to theaters and in my backyard pool my friends and I would always play Little Mermaid. It was just purely because of our fascination with mermaids and the popularity of the film, and she was and still is the most prominent mermaid figure in most people's minds. I do remember we'd fight over who would get to be Ariel and one friend would try to force the other to be Sebastian or Flounder, but then I got to remind everyone that Ariel has six sisters to choose from as well, and then we all played peacefully.=) Our playing had nothing to do with how "pretty" we were pretending to be, I remember it was more of who could swim the fastest and we'd pretend there were sharks chasing us, and we'd go exploring to find more "human" objects like Ariel did and basically try to make up stories about the object and what a mermaid (or Scuttle) might think the object was called and what it did.
I guess my point is that while I do agree that Disney markets the princesses in a very "pretty pretty princess" kind of way, I think little girls themselves can still use their imaginations when they dress up or just play pretend. Unless the world has changed that drastically, I guess I wouldn't know for sure because I'm not a mom but I would hope little girls aren't just obsessing on makeup and hair.
And, more of the "modern" princesses are less "damsel in distress" and more "I am woman, hear me roar" types.
Belle will always be one of my favorites because she was smart and defied the status quo by being "peculiar".
Peter Pan: "You know, your hair is on fire."
Me: "Yes. It happened after a recent trip to Neverland."
Peter Pan: "Well, you can dunk your head in the pond behind us, if you want."
Lost Child of Neverland since 1996. ~Favorite Hero: Peter Pan. Favorite Villian:Malificent.Favorite Ride: The Haunted Mansion.~
I think you bring up some great points, but my thought process varies slightly.
I don't think it's Disney's responsibility to teach our kids how to imagine, or how to view their heroes/idols. That's all in their upbringing. If they decide they love a character for their looks, that's not necessarily because Disney told them to. Values should be taught at home. While I agree offering such imaginative and creative things such as the storybook store are really great ideas, the fact is that Disney is a business looking for a profit in an increasingly vain society, and they have to provide what sells.
A very well thought out post that brings up some very valid points, though! Thank you!
One of the best ideas I've heard in a long time!. I agree with needing to get kids to use imagination and not just fancy dresses and pirate outfits. I also agree that this will probably never happen. The princess dress up is HUGE for the money making and I don't think they would replace that cash cow! We can only hope!
Hopefully, your child will move on to other fandoms as she gets older. I remember briefly liking princesses when I was a child, but it was not at the extent that it is now. That might have been because there were more legend/history based princesses in the '90s. Around age eight I found Marvel Comics and wanted to become a spy.