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.