My friend Jan posted a great reflection on the Disney Princess phenomenon today. I too have been hearing about Peggy Orenstein's book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Of course our house was hit by the Disney Princess mania---twice. I'm happy to say we are on the other side of that, though some princess detritus remains in our home, along with a Disney Fairy poster on the girls' wall. Like most things, I feel OK with the middle ground we sought in that whole deal. Jan was interested in the fact that the DPs never look at each other in the posters and marketing. Rest assured that the dolls, when in the hands of actual girls, do not remain so segregated. But her post prompts me to share this bit I wrote back when the DP craze was at its most fervent in our house.
Disney princesses have no mothers. They have dwarfs in a frat-house, mice in hats, a tiger, a dragon, a Jamaican lobster, and a fairy godmother oblivious to child-labor laws.
But no mothers.
Let’s swoop in and do the job: teach Cinderella to kick down the tower door or Snow White to sing "heigh ho," pack up Belle’s books in heavy trunks for a semester of study abroad, where she’ll room with Jasmine. Help Ariel keep her voice. Who knows? They might still live happily ever after; they might even look in that mirror mirror on the wall and see the ones they love most.