Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Disney Princesses; Sex Objects or Role Models?

I happen to have a niece who is in love with Disney princesses and everything about them. She loves them so much that come Halloween I am pretty sure the little miss will be hoping to dress up just like one of her favorite princesses. My sister never pushed her daughter towards loving princess everything but the girl did end up gravitating towards the pretty images and the pink and purple colours and fancy outfits.

It is eye candy for the little ones and someone has done a very good job of marketing these princesses to all of our young girls. You can pretty much find any item with a Disney princess on it at the shops. Good job Disney marketing; you have captured the hearts of young girls and the wallets of their parents.

Now, my husband is anti Disney and his main reason is that he grew up in Florida and Disney World was over exposed for him because it was right there in his back yard. Our family will never end up at Disney Land or Disney World, at least not with him coming along.

He found this little picture of the main Disney princesses on one of the social book marking sites that he reads daily. Of course I don't have a problem with little girls enjoying fun and fancy images and make believe but I do have an issue behind the images when you really dissect the whole Disney princesses and the messages behind them.

Of course I would never dress up my daughter as a sexy nurse or intentionally dress her up as Snow White knowing that her 'burgeoning sexuality' is such a threat it could get her murdered. What do YOU think about Disney princesses and the message they give our girls?

10 comments:

Candice said...

You know what, I never gave much thought to the whole princess thing and I just found it annoying that it was on every single product that you can give your kids. I guess when you think about it it does do a diservice to our little girls by getting them to think that their role models are these tiny waisted fake girls who give up their lives to get a man. big ugh from the peanut gallery

October 28, 2009 at 5:31 PM  
April said...

I have 2 daughters (one is 7 and the other is 4). They both love the Disney princesses, Hannah Montana (and all the other "tween" stars on the Disney channel). Unless I saw some majorly drastic changes in the way these stars dressed or acted (like when Britney went all crazy and changed her look), I won't stop my girls from watching these shows. Luckily, I'm a very strong woman and I teach them to be the same. I think it depends on whether the parents allow these characters (whether they be the cartoon characters or the live actors) to be vital role models or just entertainment. My girls know that the shows they watch are "pretend" and that cartoon characters aren't real at all and it is not how real people live.

October 28, 2009 at 6:04 PM  
Auntie Glyn said...

I remember teasing our then three four old niece Sophie by asking, "What's the Princess's job? How does she buy groceries? Does she drive a car?" To which she responded with a blank stare, but maybe she was thinking, "the Prince takes care of her."

Disney sure has done a great job at marketing Princesses to girls, and also as heros like Batman and Spiderman to boys. You can buy everything from toothpaste to wallpaper to backpacks with those trademarked images. This is why it's SO important to be aware of the rampant of gender (and race and class) stereotyping these images portray. Sure, it's over the head of a four year old, but it's the kind of topic I've seen grade six and seven students get really into.

October 28, 2009 at 7:17 PM  
Koo & Poppet said...

One thing I'm really not into is Barbie. Good God woman, grow some nipples and relax your feet!!

October 28, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Angella said...

I never pushed "Princess" stuff on Emily but she loves them, as well as all things pink and purple. See her sing along with, "How do you know" from Enchanted is pretty dang sweet.

As for the captions above...meh. I think the person who created it woke up on the wrong side of the bed and possibly discovered urine on their corn flakes.

Those same plot lines could apply to nearly every romantic comedy/romance novel from the past century. *Grins*

October 28, 2009 at 8:06 PM  
Nat said...

I was one of those parents who refused to buy my daughter anything princess or disney (or watch tv until she was well on her way to 3 years old) but guess what? She found out about them eventually and now does gravitate at times only to Disney stuff. At this point I don't see it doing her any harm and at the age of 4 I don't think it is influencing her view of women and how they should act. She does however think that the princess gets married to her brother! I actually never in a million years thought I would be saying this but I can't wait to take her to Disneyland and let her get caught up in the magic of it all.As long as parents you reinforce the "magical" part of it and that they are make believe and not real women. Good marketing, yes but harmful? I don't think so.

October 28, 2009 at 10:07 PM  
Mama in the City said...

Great discussion ladies! It seems that there is a place for fantasy and imagination and that you are all for exploring that with your kidlets. I am enjoying reading your comments and also hearing from new readers too.

October 29, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Tracey said...

I actually DO think it will directly effect your daughters perception of what women do. How can it not. They are not able to differeniate between reality and fairytale. They believe these princesses really do exist at disneyworld and really live there. The way that I see it is it is your job as a parent, and especially a mother, to ensure that your daughter is surrounded by positive role models and images to help shape her self esteem later down the road. Letting them dwell in fairytale IS a natural part of childhood BUT there needs to be clear boundaries and it mothers who need to do that.

October 29, 2009 at 5:40 PM  
Sarah Hannaford-Mcgregor said...

Yep, definitely over the head of a four year old, Glyn. I know she doesn't think that the Prince takes care of the Princess--we've had this discussion already. I have absolutely no problem letting her enjoy this kind of pretend play. In my opinion people overthink this...little girls will always like playing with dolls. Heck, my two year old son likes to play with them too. I like what April said above...it's up to the parents to allow these characters to be role models or just entertainment.

And I'm sure that when our kids are teens we'll be thinking "wasn't it so much easier when they just loved playing with princesses and barbies!"

October 29, 2009 at 9:05 PM  
Sarah Hannaford-Mcgregor said...

Just so you know Sophie decided to be a cat this Halloween...no princess costume this year!

October 29, 2009 at 9:10 PM  

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