The Unbearable Banishment: damn you, Disney princesses! damn you all to hell!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

damn you, Disney princesses! damn you all to hell!

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

love that Mulan and Pocahontas are on the list... for me, it was waiting out a brief "barbie"/cheerleader phase with my daughter. just kept putting strong females in front of her (literature, film, etc)...

when she was old enough? XENA! never needed rescue! probably not a great message, but big ol' campy fun!

February 21, 2009 at 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're preaching to the choir here, brother. Mind you, I was pretty clueless about the whole Disney princess resurgence thing (and the accompanying marketing machine) until Ann and K came into my life.

What is difficult for me is the whole contradiction thing of putting on an air of "excitement" whilst choking back the bile rising from my stomach.

Have I mentioned how I hate commercialism, consumerism?

You forgot to add Disney princess bedsheets and comforters to your list.

K is graduating to the next level now. Dora is behind her, she's still a bit engaged with the princess thing, but she and her Mom are out getting new "High School Musical" themed running shoes today.

If I had a time machine I would go back and kill Walt Disney.

February 21, 2009 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your daughters and their endless fascination with these princesses cause me more stress than I can even voice.

February 21, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: I wish Disney would invent a militant lesbian Princess. That’d shakeup the status quo!

Rob: It’s the same in this household. Out with the Princesses, in with Miley Cyrus.

whrr: You are mistaken. The fascination is not “endless.” It is a phase. If you are being raised in a Western household, it’s almost a natural progression.

February 21, 2009 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news, I spent all of last week at Toy Fair and the Princesses are slowly being replaced by the next Disney marketing jugernaut - Fairies. Tink (Tinkerbell) and her pixie pals are going to be the next big thing and they are more girl power than passive princess.

February 22, 2009 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

Have I mentioned that Disney is pure evil? Sorry that your girls have gotten sucked in, but there's really no defense against the Disney marketing juggernaut.

February 23, 2009 at 6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I unthinkingly played into this horror show with my nieces, buying them Disney princess DVDs because they liked them. Now that I have a daughter of my own I fear the "princess mentality." Even some of her infant clothes (she's just 3 months old) have sayings like "Pretty Princess" and "Little Princess" and that sort of junk. Why do we as a society want little girls to want to be princesses? If she picks one, I hope it's Mulan or Belle (at least she likes to read)!

February 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was five The Little Mermaid hit cinemas and from then on I was obsessed with it and anything Disney.

However, I've still managed to grow up, go to University and get into a profession which is dominated by men.

Every little girl wants to be a princess or a fairy, but the same little girls want to be Doctors and veterinarians. Everyone grows up and everyone realises that Disney is not real.

What's wrong with allowing your girls to indulge their princess fantasies, whilst teaching them about the real world?

June 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM  

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