Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wonderful World of Disney

When people post links on their blogs I am usually too lazy to click on them. I know that I am admitting to a whole new level of laziness, but it is true. So, I will understand if you don't click this link:
However, I really wish you would. And then tell me what you think.
Basically the article talks about the "global domination" of Disney Princesses. My feelings on the article were mixed. I do think it is sort of creepy that the princesses (Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, etc.) are so ubiquitous- they are on everything from diapers to cereal to bedding. Although Little Mermaid is the only princess movie Amira has seen, she knows the names of each of the other characters. I also realize that Amira can certainly find better role models- but is Cinderella really so awful?
The most convincing argument the author,Barbara Ehrenreich, makes is that, basically, the Disney Princess conglomerate adds to the hyper-sexualizing of young girls. If you would have told me that a few years ago I would have laughed. But now that I see Amira wishing she has long hair and a coconut bra "like Ariel," I'm not so sure.
On the other hand, the article made me want to tell Barbara to just simmer down. Ariel and Cinderella were a magical part of my childhood (remember our Part of This World choreography, Jana?) and I don't feel watching those movies made me grow-up too fast.
What do you think? Do you see the dark-side of Disney, or do you plan to purchase your children all the princess paraphernalia? My ultimate thinking? Honestly- I like the movies but all the "stuff" is a bit much. Plus most of it is plastic/barbie/sugar-cereal type stuff, which we try to avoid, anyway.


Brittney said...

I had a sociology teacher that loved Barbara Ehrenreich, and she felt the same way as she does about Dinsy. She said that Little Mermaid is the worst because in order to get the man, she has to "lose her voice" and all kinds of other stuff. I am with you on the whole thing, I love Disney, but I am not into buying the Disney cereal, bedding, bathroom decor, clothes, shoes. I am not all about the character merchandise at all. The Disney movies and Disneyland was a part of my childhood, and I don't it really had any affect on me in a bad way.

Jami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jami said...

Okay, so I'm having blog trouble. How come part of my writing is all smushed together and some is double spaced? I had 2 other pictures in the post and when they were in I couldn't add spaces in between paragraphs. Is there a limit to the length of the post or number of pictures? Help!

Britt- a very good point about Ariel. I never thought about her losing her voice. Quite disturbing, actually.

amy said...

i really wish i could approve of disney, including the princesses fair, but i just can't. something in me knows that the reason i liked those princesses so much as a kid was that they really gave me something to shoot for (a pretty voice, long flowing hair, and a sixteen inch waist) so that i could reel in my very own bland prince charming. almost as disturbing as the themes common to the princesses (beauty as a solution to any female problem being primary) are the themes common to the princes, not the least of which is that a prince makes it all better by whisking his princess off into the sunset; what happens after the sun sets we are all left guessing. To be fair, I don't think Disney is so much the cause of the troubles in the world as it is a symptom. I assume that when our cultural values take a turn for the more-enlightened, cartoonists will follow suit. I try to avoid engaging long diatribing comments, but i had to cast my vote: down with disney.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Walt Disney was a porn-bibber. Just sayin'.

Jacki said...

Jami - Have you read Packaging Girlhood? The authors spend a lot of time tackling the issue of Disney Princesses. Their conclusion, which I agree with, is that unless you are going to lock you daughter in a tower there is no avoiding them. They bring up ways to discuss the princess mentality with your daughters so they can actually decide what they like to play with (princess dolls, Legos, dirt, whatever) without being told (by ads) what they should play with. I disagree a little with Amy about our cultural values as a whole needing to change. I think in large part they already have. We value diversity and gender equality, but lets face it, clothes and make-up obsessed girls just spend more money, so that is what marketers want to turn your little girls into. So I would say Disney is more of a cause than a symptom.

Kate said...

Jamie- great post & Merry Christmas. Hope & trust all is well.
Our Christmas letter is at www.kateandneil.com

Jami said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies. Jacki- I will put that book on my list of "to reads." Kate- perused your blog several times- and always find it great reading.

Anonymous said...

Someday i will try to find the paper i wrote about Disneyfication and female oppression in college (at roughly the same time i finish knitting the hat i started to make for Amira for her first birthday, which will be approximately never, because I don't know how to bind off). It had something to do with how DIsney takes fairy tales that have a moral and a lesson (like the Little Mermaid) and strips them of it, casts any female who is Ugly or Strong as Evil, and basically sends the message to little girls that they don't have to be smart or talented or interesting, all they have to do is be quiet and demure and beautiful and catch the Man, and then their life's work is done (it never shows 6 months later when they're sitting around staring at each other with nothing much to say, b/c she's Dumb). I used The Little Mermaid (ANderson) and The Fisherman and His Soul (Wilde) as contrast. It was excellent, but late, so it got a D. I mean, like reallllly late.
Speaking of Wilde, didn't I buy that for you in India when you were sick? I just remembered.
So now you'll have a letter from me waiting when you get back from morocco. I'd call but I think you're en route right about now.