Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Problem With Disney Princesses

Warning: "Disney meets social issues" topic ahead!

It's almost Princess day for little girls everywhere (better known as Halloween) and I find it interesting that this image is currently circulating the web right before multitudes of princess-ified trick-or-treat-ers arrive at the door. It's enough to give even the most pixie-dusted, pro-princess-patrons pause (Argh! Alliteration! You know it's going to be bad...)

From Cinematical:
... It's the classic Disney princesses roster -- Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, Jasmine, Ariel, Belle, and Cinderella. Above their smiling faces, however, are their basic characteristics and plot lines. When you boil it down to the basics, the story is enough to make anyone queasy. Snow White's hormones almost kill her, Aurora is married off in the crib for politics and saved years later with a kiss (or sex and slavery when Anne Rice has her say), Jasmine is a pretty girl saved by a street rat, Ariel gets to look pretty and say nothing, Belle works her sexuality, and Cinderella is saved because of her beauty.

And when you click on the picture for a full size to read the text it's even more blatant.

I don't happen to agree that the princesses are a completely lost cause but when you put things like this, it's easy to see why some begin to sound downright anti-(Disney)Princess.

To be fair, it's a little simplistic to summarize the ladies the way they have been in the image above, but nevertheless it's food for thought. But we can't blame it all on Disney. It's not like they haven't drawn daring darlings in the past (more alliteration - I can't help myself!). It IS, though, far harder to get a Mulan costume for Halloween than a Cinderella one.

Disney's Forgotten Princesses
by Mimi-Na

Speaking of Disney's Mulan, that's one lady I'd like on my team and there are other Disney heroines I wouldn't mind sharing the room with either but we rarely see them. Clearly Disney CAN drawn females of substance. Could it be they just don't know how to market them (at least for substantial profit)? Is it the WDC marketing moguls that force these few and their faults/flaws into regular view, or is it we, the people (a.k.a. consumers), that don't know how to embody dreams and happy endings without the puffy skirts and got-my-prince smiles? Will the much touted character of "Disney's Newest Princess" Tiana, break the trend?

What's more, will there ever be a politically-correct-yet-still-romantic way for those actively searching for their Prince Charmings and aiming for happily ever after, to get PC validation and reach this goal without being seen as a sell out?
The Non-Princess Club
by Mimi-Na
(which includes some actual princesses)

Caption reads: "Can I join? They said I wasn't pretty enough..."

I don't have a good answer. I'll admit I'm one of those who now has a negative reaction to the word 'princess' but I also think we're quick to point fingers (from both sides of the fence) and not sincerely consider our part in it all.

The only thing I can say with any certainty is that Mimi-Na from deviantArt titled her pieces well.
(Check her comments on her deviantArt pages - clicking on each image will send you there - for a full roster of names in each piece.)

*Puts away soap box and returns to her regularly scheduled blogging*
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