Thursday, October 4, 2012

Deconstructing Disney Princesses

by Beat A Schwendimann

Even the Disney Coorporation realized that their pretty-damsel-in-distress-waiting-for-a-prince model of princesses became less and less appealing to current young girls. The latest Disney movie, Tangled, tries to update the image of the princess by making her a stronger self-confident character.
Image from Disney movie "Tangled"
Disney princesses used to be (and maybe still are) role models for many young girls. However, the classic Disney princess presents an outdated stereotypical role model from the past (compare the two pictures below).

This youtube video discusses the gender stereotypes in Disney movies.

Among current girls, princesses and the romanticized ideal they represent — revolving around finding the man of your dreams — have a limited shelf life. With the advent of "tween" TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models such as the Disney Channel's Selena Gomez and Nickelodeon's Miranda Cosgrove. "By the time they're 5 or 6, they're not interested in being princesses," said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois University and an expert in the role of media in children's lives. "They're interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values." (Read full article in the L.A. Times on how Disney is closing the book on classic fairytale characters).

In Fallen Princesses, artist Dina Goldstein took a modern look at the life of a Disney princess by placing her in an environment that accentuates her conflict. The "Happily ever after" is replaced with a more realistic outcome and adresses current issues:

How about the life of a real princess? The life of a real princess does not seem to be much of a fairytale. This article by the Daily Beast: Kate's Royal Prison  describes the life that expects Kate Middleton as the wife of Prince William. Besides having no more private life or being able to say anything original, she is expected to be picture perfect for the rest of her life, every single minute will be monitored and discussed at large in the press. Each of her actions will constantly be compared to those of Queen Elisabeth and Princess Diana. I don't think many young girl would want to become a princess if they would know what it actually entails.

At least Disney princesses can have some fun (Prince Charming optional):

Or Disney princesses can be hipsters:
Click here to see the collection of hipster Disney princesses.

Honestly titled Disney movies might look like this:
Hamlet - With Animals
See more honest Disney movie titles here.

Disney animators found a cheap way to create new princess characters: They just clone existing ones:

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