Barefoot in High Heels

The Anti-Princess Diaries

Posted on: August 21, 2008

This one might get me into some trouble.  I know it’s not necessarily the most popular opinion.  And I play along nicely (usually) when the topic comes up with people who are big fans of the “happily-ever-after.”

I’m not a big fan of Disney.  Especially the whole Disney princess thing and the huge marketing machine that it has become.   Now wait — don’t get too upset with me.  I can hear it already . . . “Oh, but the creativity!  Oh, but the childlike wonder that Disney represents!.  Oh, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!  Oh, who DOESn’t want to live a fairy tale life?”     Well, me.  And hopefully, my daughters, too.

Let’s deconstruct some of these “fairy tales,” shall we??  “The Little Mermaid,” for one.  Sure, Ariel is spunky and tenacious and optimistic and a wide-eyed dreamer.  Good for her.  But doesn’t it bother you that she gives up her voice in order to get close to the prince, who she supposedly LOVES (but only because she spied him from afar)?   And then the prince falls in love with her even though they can’t really communicate?!  She acts like an idiot and combs her hair with her fork and can’t SPEAK, but of course it’s all charming and cute. 

Cinderella, of course, has a similar story.  How is it that the prince falls in love with her but again, without speaking?  He doesn’t even know her name, he’s just astounded by her beauty and grace (and perhaps she can waltz with the best of ’em).    And don’t even get me STARTED on Snow White.  I have to admit, that I didn’t really recall the story from my youth.  But when we received a gift of Disney Princess stories for my daughter, I was quite shocked to read that the dwarves let her stay at their home because she says she will cook and clean for them!  Then, after she eats the poison apple, she “dies” and the dwarves keep her sort of enshrined because she’s too beautiful, even in death.  Quite disturbing, no?   And of course, the kiss of the prince miraculously wakes her up and they live happily ever after.   *sigh*  how sickening sweet.

But of course, there’s my “other side”  — this “duality” about me.  Don’t get me wrong — I am a sucker for a good love story.  I am a girly girl.  I really like Disney music.  I actually enjoyed The Little Mermaid when I saw it at the theater back in early high school when it debuted.  I LOVE Beauty and the Beast (but of course, Belle is a different type of princess — she READS, she’s intelligent, she doesn’t fall for the big muscular guy, and I also like the fact that she’s a brunette! hee hee).   And since I have two little girls, I might be eating all these words someday.  I might be the mom hosting a big princess birthday party, and my girls might really want the Disney Princess dress-up clothes.  In fact, I can see it happening someday.  But when they’re a bit older and it’s something they start asking for, I will begrudgingly read these princess stories and play along.  Now, though, they’re so young, and I for one will certainly NOT be pushing these princess “ideals” to them. 

So there.  I’ve said it.  I feel much better now that I’ve put it out there.  I feel so good I might even start singing a little tune with the birds and mice and woodland creatures.  I’m sure that my “Prince Charming” would REALLY appreciate it!

10 Responses to "The Anti-Princess Diaries"

Glad I’m not the only one disturbed by the princess stories for all the same reasons that you discuss. Of course, I don’t have girls, so don’t have to deal with Disney Princess peer pressure at the preschooler level, LOL! I love Disney (well, Disney World) but not necessarily all the commercialism that goes along with it. I just like going to the theme park! And I love Mickey.

Oh, how right you are! It always bothers me that all those Disney princess stories usually start out with the mother dying. You mentioned Snow White — I find that one really disturbing — especially the GLASS COFFIN part. Creepy.

But, my friend, never underestimate the power of Disney marketing. You cannot escape it. The brainwashing of your child will most likely happen at one point or another. Someone told me once that they’d slap a Disney princess ad on the Easter Bunny’s bottom if they could. I wouldn’t doubt it. I wouldn’t doubt it for a second.

My oldest started her Disney addiction at 2 when we rented our very first Disney video, The Little Mermaid that she watched over and over and over and over…. We even did the whole Mermaid theme for her 3rd birthday party and everyone bought her Mermaid merchandise . I even named my next child Eric lol j/k I liked the name. 17 years later I do not participate in character branding. I try to dissuade my 2 younger children 5 and 6 from wanting any character merchandise or apparel, it all just sickens me.
Although I lost a recent battle over a Bratz backpack ughhhhh

I can’t stand the Disney marketing machine. And not just princesses, but Miley Cyrus and the like. (Does anyone really think she is talented, anyway?)

I never go into the Disney store–it’s sensory overload in there. I don’t buy any character clothing. It’s just too much!

Ha! I have been saying that for years!!!
However, now that I am thinner and prettier, they don’t bother me as much because maybe I could be a princess, too. Just kidding!
I do wonder how much the kids pick up on, because I, too, watched all of them when I was young and don’t remember a lot about them other than the songs. So, are they are merely offensive as opposed to damaging?? Who knows? The product branding is insanely over the top, though, for sure!

This reminds me so much of my best friend! She always hated Disney when we were younger but LOVED Beauty & the Beast because Belle READS. My favorite was always the Lion King and Dumbo. I wasn’t much into the princesses. My daughter, however, loves them. She loves Ariel, she loves Belle, she loves them all. I try not to get in her way too much… whatever she loves I let her love (except for those Bratz dolls… I put an end to that)… but I try to make sure she knows how intelligent and worthy she is.

Yeah, Belle stands out from the rest. And Jasmine seems to have a head on her shoulders. But – good point Michelle – what’s the deal with the lack of mothers?

Have you read Princess Bubble? Just saw the author on CNN.

Thanks for this article! I’ve written my own piece on why we don’t allow Disney into our home.

Sweden being the most progressive country in terms of women’s rights and gender issues, I’m dying of curiosity as to whether the Princess Disease has hit there. Does anyone out there know about Swedish retail culture? For instance, are their “girls’ backpacks” pink and sparkle-drenched?

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