Little Girls in Pretty Princess Clothes

The discussion in comments tothis article about Disney princesses (especially pointing out that WHERE THE FUCK IS MULAN in all this and also Tiana, and how nobody talks about how cool Maleficent is) is better than the story itself, which is reductive (exposure to Disney = your child ending up in a thong on Jersey Shore).

I spent Sunday afternoon at a baseball game with my dad, a pretty common occurrence when I was a little kid. And they did a thing at Miller Park where little kids got to go out and stand on the bases with the Brewers for a couple of minutes during the national anthem. About half those kids were girls, 12 or younger, who looked like they were seeing living gods before them as they stood out there.

I watched all the Disney movies when I was little. We went to see Sleeping Beauty in the theater and I must have known all the Beauty and the Beast songs by heart, and yet I also got hauled along to softball games where guys slid into third when they were losing by ten runs because that’s how you do. Nobody at any of these things would have described himself as a feminist, yet their attitude was that I had as much right to be there as my brother. Which is how your options open.

And close: I didn’t hate my hair until second grade, when I overheard another girl I admired complaining about hers, and I realized mine looked even sillier.

A.

9 thoughts on “Little Girls in Pretty Princess Clothes

  1. pansypoo says:

    i don’t think went to see many disney pics. and i certainly wasn’t a princess. i just wanted longer hair.

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  2. Dorothy says:

    “WHERE THE FUCK IS MULAN”
    Technically, Mulan is never a princess at any point in the movie. It always bugged me that she was always lumped in with the princesses, who were only important because of the accident of their birth. In most “princess” stories, you can swap out the princess with any other person and get about the same result.
    Mulan is just a plain old hero: she saves the day because of her character, her choices, and her actions. I’d argue that the Disney version of Pocahontas belongs in this category as well: being the chief’s daughter didn’t change what she did, but it probably helped her succeed in the end. (Ariel might be the same way–I don’t remember that much about it. Never caught the Princess and the Frog, so I can’t comment on that.)
    To me, reducing strong, interesting heroines to “pretty, pretty princesses” is much worse than just pushing the vacuous princesses in the first place. It’s the same trend that turned “Dora the Explorer” into “Princess Dora”–and that was just wrong.

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  3. virgotex says:

    My first real female media heroes were Emma Peel and Agent 99. Princesses, pffft.

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  4. adrastos says:

    Emma Peel? Drool…

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  5. Thistle says:

    @Virgotex — This.

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  6. MapleStreet says:

    Dorothy, please excuse my yelling at you and the profane language,
    BUT ARE YOU SERIOUS THAT THEY TURNED DORA INTO PRINCESS DORA @#$%@#$%@$%$#@ I AM IN MY MID 50S. I DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS AND AM ONLY MARGINALLY AWARE OF DORA. TO TAKE SOMEONE THAT GOES HIKING AND CAMPING AND TURN THEM INTO SITTING AROUND AFRAID THAT THEIR HANDS MIGHT GET DIRTY !!!!
    Plus, we’ve still got Barbie in the stores. Why pollute other characters?

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  7. If I had kids, let alone daughters – if they were all goofy over the “Disney Princesses” I’d introduce them to the stories of real women princesses and queens and archduchesses (who became dauphines and such) – by reading stuff such as Lady Antonia Fraser’s “The Warrior Queens” and “The Weaker Vessel” – and also the biographies I have of Marie Antoinette.
    Sure, there was some lovely stuff associated w/being princesses – but hell – being basically a
    bartered bride was not ‘romantic’ or ‘cute’…and having to be married to someone you don’t know, and be their womb for hire…not always worth the frills and silks – and not being able to get out of it…check out the story of the Princess de Lamballe.
    I had a canopy bed and the whole 18th C style-esque dresser/nightstand/desk to match was great – but I still played w/my Hotwheels and mostly – made stuff up and sang to my mom’s old 45s on my little ‘show n’tell’ record player w/the slideshow attachment and then some days I’d play w/my barbies. Typically, I was outside skating or riding my bike or playing swinging statues w/my friends or whatever…
    Nowadays I think parents take the easy way out and buy the whole set of whatever it is – and think that’s enough. I was encouraged to read on rainy days or whenever – as well as having a slew of toys that weren’t all related in theme. (nor was all of my Barbie stuff ‘trademark pink’ which makes me stabby nowadays to see the ‘signature’ color…blearrrrrgh)

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  8. LC says:

    Maleficent is bad ass.
    There is a reason she is the Kingdom Hearts villain.
    There is a reason on my Disney Villains mug, the only one in colour is Maleficent.
    There is a reason why my old Disney mug with Maleficent went to that awesome woman in Indiana.
    Maleficent is bad ass.

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  9. pansypoo says:

    lol. my cousin is cursed with princesses. TWO of them.

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