Disney Princess in the News

Check out this video from ABC’s program Good Morning America. (Sorry, it’s not up on youtube or google video yet, so a link is the best I can do.)

It’s the first segment that I’ve found from any television news source that covers the effects of, what this segment calls, “The Princess Effect.” What I find most interesting about it is that it seems like it’s a response to Peggy Orenstein’s New York Times article What’s Wrong With Cinderella (they even show a piece of a very short interview with her) and yet they come to a total opposite conclusion of what Orenstein says about the magnitude and effect of the Princess franchise on girls’ products and perceptions.

In fact, their take-away message is that “making too big a deal about any game your child is playing could be harmful”– in effect saying that “The Princess Effect” is no effect at all if parents don’t make a “big deal” out of it. Then again, the last line of the piece seem the most telling – “We should mention that Disney is a parent company of ABC.”

This segment, although at least addressing the issue, actually ends up skirting what their own sources and even images are telling the audience throughout. We see hot chocolate, dog bowls, costumes, pull-ups, and even toothpaste plastered with the faces of the Disney Princesses, and yet the segment concludes by simultaneously telling parents that they shouldn’t blow the issue out of proportion but that talking to their children about it will be “good practice” for more challenging problems that will arise in adolescence. Denial, reassurance, and fear all at the same time. Nice.

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3 Responses

  1. What a great clip! The segment covers a lot of issues I’ve been thinking about in my posts (http://princessproduction.wordpress.com/). Is Disney responsible for creating the Princess Effect? Or is it something already within the girls that Disney simply provides an outlet for? You make a great point by highlighting the “parent company” bit… it just shows how even when being critical, Disney self-promotes. All part of the business.

    On a related note, I’d really like some kind of study about how “harmful” princess play actually is. It would probably have to be longitudinal… maybe one is happening now and we’ll see the results in a few years.

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