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This blog is largely centered around gender roles and stereotypes, and how the recent rise of the Disney “Princess” culture has both affected and been affected by them. I am exploring how Disney and the “Princess” phenomenon has sought to shape the opinions and aspirations of youth.  In both girls’ entertainment and girls’ products, the “Princess” has become ubiquitous, and I seek to examine how this will affect their perceptions and choices in the future.

The change in the Disney Princess mode over the years is somewhat subtle, but nonetheless important in revealing how this type of mass culture has both reflected and helped to create the “Girl Power” movement. Cinderella’s desire to go to the ball is massively different than Belle’s struggle to continue her education, and Snow White’s physically unmoving body waiting for her prince to come is starkly different than Mulan’s active transformation in pursuit of her own destiny.

But these changes in gender roles and gender stereotypes must be recognized not only as tools for shaping the future, but also as a reflection of what the populace demands in their children’s entertainment. After all, who is Disney really marketing to? Yes, it is children’s entertainment and children’s size dress-up clothing, but the creators of these characters and stories are also parents, and it is parents who are paying for that DVD of Mulan 2 and that $60 Belle dress. And that, truly, is the art of what Disney offers in its wide range of Princess archetypes. A supposed “something for everyone” mold that, when it comes down to it, only offers their brand of “Princess” and their portrayal of girl power.

This blog focuses on various ways in which one of the most successful producers of young children’s entertainment has chosen to use that power to shape and influence youth under one umbrella term — Princess Propaganda.

4 Responses

  1. I don’t know if you have ever read this study of Sexualization of Girls (http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualizationrep.pdf), but I think it is interesting to note that females are affected by social constructs from birth until death. It analyzes sexualixation as a cause/effect event. It might be useful to check it out, especially because it talks about childhood toys. toys, t

  2. You might find this video interesting:

  3. Fascinating stuff. I’m delighted to have found your articles. I’m both a mystified parent of a “Princess” and a TV writer who has done much work for the Disney Channel. Thanks for the NYT article. It’s a topic I think about pretty much every day.

  4. “Girl power” is the most potent force on earth. Kingdoms rise and fall because of it. Dinosaur feminism from the 70’s and 80’s tried to throw the baby out with the bath. Thankfully post-feminism is here and the girls of today are so much smarter, self-assured and with it than their forebears. To be sure, they have them to thank, but they should now delight in the power of their femininity rather than try to strap a penis on. My daughter has the power of 10,0000 feminists from the 1970’s and she does it all with a smile.

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