Deconstructing Disney Princesses

My nieces like Princess stuff. I get it, but I feel bad every time. I’ve never been a huge fan of Disney Princesses, and they kind of annoy me. My mom once tried to help me feel better — or at least justify Princess stuff — by saying that it’s just like superhero stuff for boys. That’s an unattainable image as well. Unfortunately, there are a couple things wrong with that logic in my mind:

  1. We don’t teach our children they can have super powers, but we do imply, in a lot of ways, that a fairy tale marriage is possible. Super heroes deal with clearly impossible situations. Princesses are set up with something that is expected in our society. No one expects to see some dude flying through the sky. We do expect to see people get married.
  2. Super heroes are going out there and doing things to help other people. They are defending the world. I don’t like that many of them resort to violence so quickly, but at least they’re out there battling it out for other people. Disney Princesses are kind of selfish, trying to figure out how they can get what they want.

So I really liked this this deconstruction of Disney Princesses.

6 Responses to Deconstructing Disney Princesses

  1. Thank you. 🙂 I always feel like a heel when I have to pull apart my nieces (and unfortunately, thanks to my extendeds) my daughters favorite “heros”. They just bug me…on so many levels. I’m glad I’m not the only one to avoid paying into the Disney myth of what real life should be. 🙂

  2. Yeah. I still get the stuff for my nieces, since that’s what they want, and I can’t really force my own views on them. But I do think it’s important to take a look at all of our children’s heroes. We often talk to Gavin about how superheroes aren’t real, and that violence probably isn’t the answer in most cases.

  3. We have one daughter, four sons, and no princesses. Barbie doesn’t live at our house. We try to teach all our kids about more realistic role models and values. The Disney princess mindset seems awfully shallow. We do have some “princess” exposure from cousins, but the most acceptable comes through CS Lewis and a daughter who dresses as “queen Lucy.” I can’t fault girls for wanting to Identify with beauty anymore than boys identifying with strength. But it I believe that with beauty must come a certain depth of character. I would also point out, that sans Disney, all the Princesses deconstructed here have much stronger characters, and more redeeming qualities than outward beauty. This is something that gets lost between Hans and Walt.

  4. So very true, Gavin! I love how C.S. Lewis makes Queen Lucy valiant, smart, brave, kind and true, as well as pretty. She is a version of femininity that is definitely womanly (different from a man), strong and capable. And I think you make a good point about how Disney manages to reduce these characters to something rather one-dimensional and shallow. Which, of course, is the point of the illustration.

  5. You certainly have a point, Disney Princesses are rather one-dimensional and shallow, a questionable role model and a terrible stereotype of what a woman place in society, assets and personality should be. However I find that the chart with the deconstruction of Disney Princesses is a bit, I don’t know, off. I feel like it could have been a more profound approach to what these Princesses represent and it could have contained a better analysis of “pros and cons”, anyway it’s just an idea, this small deconstruction may as well be the result of the limited space.

  6. You certainly have a point, Disney Princesses are rather one-dimensional and shallow, a questionable role model and a terrible stereotype of what a woman place in society, assets and personality should be. However I find that the chart with the deconstruction of Disney Princesses is a bit, I don’t know, off. I feel like it could have been a more profound approach to what these Princesses represent, it could also have contained a better analysis of “pros and cons” on their characters; anyway it’s just an idea, this small deconstruction may as well be the result of the limited space.

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