Disney Princess Debacle

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Why are we having this Disney Discussion?

Over the past few weeks, we have been subjected to considerable negativity on girls identifying as a Disney Princess and how dangerous this is for them. They are saying it makes girls stereotypical, makes them steer away from math and science, expects them to want to be beautiful and have a prince sweep them off their feet.

Welcome to female. Every girl and woman for that matter strive to feel beautiful. Most every woman enjoys attending a ball, to dress up in a gown, have her hair looking fantastic and feeling like a beautiful princess. Same on the wedding day, the engagement party, 21st, and on it goes. We are designed to want to feel beautiful, noticed, special – and why not.

How then does Disney make a little girl feel? Like a princess that is how. Whenever a child (or adult for that matter) plays dress-ups, we become, to a degree, that character. I am sure most of us have been to dress-up parties, especially while at Uni, and you go along as that character. Why? Because it is fun.

The negativity on the Disney Princess is offensive. Are we saying a young girl is unable to differentiate from playing a make-believe character for a while, to lose herself in fantasy, to perhaps escape a hard home life to enjoy a world of attention and beauty?

I say – bring it on. From as far back as history almost remembers girls have played dress-up, have imagined being a princess, being carried away on a white horse, being beautiful. Girls play with dolls, dressed them up, fantasised with the life they chose they had. At no time did a Disney character or doll take away their ability to enjoy math or science. This is quite offensive to an intelligent woman.

Parents provide the opportunity for girls and boys to be exposed to a range of games, toys and activities. School do the same. Children do not live in a Disney bubble. Disney does not teach girls only to be perfect, look at Fiona from Shrek after all, she is rather normal and average and Shrek, well last I looked he isn’t the handsome prince. What Shrek is, however, like most all of the male Disney male characters are men who love, desire, and treat the women / girls with respect and appreciation. I so want all girls to follow this belief as this is exactly what Disney is about in these movies.

The girls in so many Disney movies are strong, empowered, intelligent and demand to be treated respectfully. They will fight against injustice; they stand up for the underdog and support righteousness. We also see a range of female characters, some soft, some outspoken, most competent and strong.

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Then there is the Disney characters and dolls. Again, why can a child not enjoy the fantasy of make-believe and dolls? Do batman and superman make every boy feel inept as their muscles don’t bulge, does it make them want to jump off buildings and select a girl of their dreams to carry off into their fantasy world? No, it makes boys feel for a short time as an invincible, strong man that can bend steel with his bare hands.

What the ‘experts’ are saying is girls are rather stupid. This is so grossly offensive. A Disney princess movie or character does not make a girl develop bulimia, turn her way from the study of math or science, nor does it make her feel she needs to wait for a prince on a white horse to ride up. If that were the case why then do we have considerable numbers of strong, intelligent, educated women who grew up with Barbie and Disney doing these things. Because girls are smart.

If the Disney movies show girls anything, it is how to be treated with dignity, respect and consideration. Most all female characters want and demand that. A little girl playing a Princess and a boy says something derogatory or mean to her she may respond with ‘ you can’t say that you need to be nice to me’ is the best thing any parent can want out of her daughter’s mouth.

So let’s stop this nonsense denigrating Disney Princesses, Barbie Dolls and whatever other item someone can defame and allow our children to grow up with a full range of fantasy and enjoyment. Let us parents, please ensure we provide a range of activities and toys for our children to enjoy and be assured that all preschools and primary schools provide a full range or gender-neutral games and activities for all children.

Disney female characters are strong and surely we all want our daughters to display this. Let our girls, please be allowed to lose themselves in a fantasy world of fun, beauty and enjoyment.

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