Main | Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cult Of Princesses

In the Nation, Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the cult of Disney's Princesses:
Disney likes to think of the Princesses as role models, but what a sorry bunch of wusses they are. Typically, they spend much of their time in captivity or a coma, waking up only when a Prince comes along and kisses them. The most striking exception is Mulan, who dresses as a boy to fight in the army, but--like the other Princess of color, Pocahontas--she lacks full Princess status and does not warrant a line of tiaras and gowns. Otherwise the Princesses have no ambitions and no marketable skills, although both Snow White and Cinderella are good at housecleaning.

And what could they aspire to, beyond landing a Prince? In Princessland, the only career ladder leads from baby-faced adolescence to a position as an evil enchantress, stepmother or witch. Snow White's wicked stepmother is consumed with envy for her stepdaughter's beauty; the sea witch Ursula covets Ariel's lovely voice; Cinderella's stepmother exploits the girl's cheap, uncomplaining, labor. No need for complicated witch-hunting techniques--pin-prickings and dunkings--in Princessland. All you have to look for is wrinkles.
My six-year old niece is obsessed with the Princesses. Uncle Joe, who was recently told he could never be considered a feminist, earned major points last year by delivering a particularly difficult to find Ariel. Another un-feminist failure on my part, I suppose.

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