National Princess Week, Oh My!


The following is cross-posted by Erin McNeil’s blog on Marketing, Media and Childhood, which is a great resource on limiting the ways with which media markets to children. This post is an example of how Disney is marketing to girls with the Princess craze. Erin has compiled an excellent list of the comments made on this topic, which is a popular one these past few weeks. 

Surely National Princess Week deserves to be the impetus for a reading list.

Photo: Rebecca Hains

 Rebecca Hains:  

…my point is this: The Disney Princess marketing machine is SO huge, so far-reaching, that it’s hard to avoid and even harder to resist. Parents sometimes blame themselves for their daughters’ princess obsessions, but who’s really to blame–the parents, or the billion-dollar industry that is invested in profiting by shaping little girls’ dreams?

 Peggy Orenstein:

Everyone loves Julie Andrews. It’s churlish not to. love Julie Andrews. Yet, as horrifying as it is, I must call her out. She betrays our trust and adoration when she disingenuously chirps:  ”Joining Disney and Target to create National Princess Week is an extension of my work—a moment in time for children to celebrate their individuality and let their inner sparkle shine.”

Lori Day: “We’re Not the Bad Guys, the Executives at Disney Are”

Why such backlash to the idea that there might be something detrimental about such a narrow definition of what it is to be female? We are amazed at the number of parents who assertively contradict the facts of history — saying there is nothing new here when this is not how it has always been. The angry push-back to the notion that a little bit of princess is OK, but that complete immersion in all things princess might not be the healthiest thing for girls, is at times breathtaking in its knee-jerk defensiveness and, dare we say, intellectual laziness.

Fortunately, there are a rising number of moms (and dads) who are beginning to think critically about this aspect of pop culture, about media literacy in general and about the emotional well-being of girls and their futures as young women.

Also, on how gender stereotyping limits boys and men, too.
Achilles Effect: 

Our culture teaches boys that physical strength and dominance are the most valuable traits a man can possess… In cartoons targeted to boys, action is often delivered in the form of violence, reinforcing the link between male heroism and physical dominance.

Finally, the latest news on the LEGO Friends controversy:
SPARK activists requested and were granted a meeting with three LEGO executives.

One of the most encouraging parts of the meeting with LEGO was that the individuals sitting around the table shared many of our concerns, and were able to see why SPARK sees the Friends as a problematic addition to the LEGO suite of products.

Read their report on the meeting. 

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About Marinagraphy

Marina is a writer who focuses her work on the need for female empowerment. She writes articles, books, and blogs centered on female experiences related to motherhood, female agency, feminism, and building positive images for young girls and women. She currently teaches Literature, Writing, and Women's Studies on the College level.

2 Responses to National Princess Week, Oh My!

  1. JodiAman says:

    I love what you are bringing into awareness here.  it is all to sell products, no one care about what would be good for the children!

    • Thanks, Jodi. What’s interesting is that if you look at the CEO’s making all these decisions, they’re men. And these men perpetuated these stereotypes just for the money. If women took on these powerful positions in businesses, then we might have a chance to improve the way products are being sold to children.

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