Does Any Girl Need a Princess for Inspiration?

Disney (via Pixar) made a film called Brave.  I didn't see it but the trailer made the heroine look feisty and well, pretty normal (for Disney).  But no, Disney decided, in putting out the doll, to change that look.  Thinner, more skin, even her face looks different.  There's been a big outcry.

Here's a Tumblr piece from artist Matthew Bogarts that includes the two images, side-by-side.  His commentary is very good.

Along comes David Trumble, an artist/illustrator, came up with his own list of Disney "princesses" called World of Women including:
  • Princess Jane Goodall "Jungle Princess"
  • Princess Gloria Steinem "Trailblazer Princess"
Many of them wear glasses (gasp!) and have gray hair.  And, of course, it is satire which makes it work even better.

The blog, Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies, dedicated to children having a childhood, had a great thread called "Why Sexing Things Up for Kids is Stupid."


Questions you should be asking yourself (and your kids!) while taking this in: Would we ever see a man posed this way? Do any women you know in real life stand this way? Why is this the version of femininity that is taught by the mainstream to our kids?
The author, Melissa, (not me) says:  Does Batman help?
Also, you should take 18 minutes to listen to David’s Tedx talk. Listen with your tween/teen if you’ve got one.

But we are SO used to seeing women look like this, both in illustrated form for children and video games and in advertising. Do we even see it anymore?

She says (and rightly so):

Stop with the sexy for the kids. I mean really. It isn’t necessary. It isn’t healthy for them. And it isn’t needed to turn a profit. Do better.

Yes, really.  Parents have always taken their kids to movies and bought toys.  Why does making them sexy matter to sales?

I'm also with her about "everything in its own time."   Kids grow up incredibly fast - why can't they have a childhood?


Anonymous said…
The new design was pulled by Disney:

-- princess
Anonymous said…
They pulled the image from the website, but the doll and other "made over" merchandise will still be sold in stores. Over time, the new look will be seen as normal for the character, I'm sorry to say.
Patrick said…
Disney is still Disney. I hope this can be a lesson, esp. for younger children, about Disney's world in general.
Anonymous said…
I'm 58+ and grew up with three Disney princesses: Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Of course, with no VCR, I only saw the movies once, and had the 33 1/3 albums, so I knew the songs.

I saw Beauty and the Beast as a 30-something before having a child and immediately was struck by the mixed message: strong, smart girl buys into the "if you just love someone enough they can change" message. I was horrified, as I was learning that the message was not true at all (I divorced a man I thought I could "fix" at that point).

When my daughter was born 18 years ago, I became reacquainted with Disney and was thrilled to see her reject the princesses in favor of Tarzan's Jane and the wonderful Mulan. She did, however, adore Aerial, the purveyor of another awful message: "give up your most prized aspect of yourself and reject your family in favor of love."

We managed to get past the Disney marketing assault, but I see the children of younger friends and family completely caught up in it. I loved Brave. And my daughter posted "I wish I had seen this first with my mom," after viewing it in the theater. It saddens me to no end that Disney felt compelled to tart the character up. Our society keeps trying to go backwards when it comes to women. We must fight it.


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