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What's Wrong With Cinderella? By Peggy Orenstein

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2 comments

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sad
This is just an anti-princess diatribe by a feminist who thinks that princesses are bad because it makes girls needy and girly and dependent on men. I couldn't read past the second page. It's interesting, but it just made me mad.
posted over a year ago.
 
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hmmm
Please forgive the long comment to follow, this was a long article and there's a lot I feel needs mentioning.
I found this quite irritating in parts, not as a Disney fan but as a feminist. For example she says 'girlie girl' like an insult, but I'm a girlie girl and also a feminist. She also mentions feminism 'threatening' romance, but it doesn't. The only reason it would is if you believe there's something romantic about weakness in women. She seems to have a quite narrow minded view of feminism, for someone who calls themself a feminist. She sort of addresses that by briefly pondering the possibility Disney Princesses can be called progressive as an example of the ability to be a girlie yet still tough, but she breezes past it and it doesn't seem to cross her mind ever again.

On her not wanting her daughter called princess, princesses exist in real life, and many have done a fair bit of good (like Princess Diana) so to me the fault is hers, as she's the one acting like the only princesses are from Disney, and discounting all the real ones. Maybe if she's concerned about the shallowness around Disney princesses rather than snapping at people who call her daughter that she should teach her daughter about real ones, then when her daughter is called one it will have a more inspiring meaning.
Another problem is that it seemed to shift from an article about the princesses to one about the negative aspects of marketing heavily to children and the sexual gap in kids toys, and while that's a valid issue it's not really relevant to her original point, because it's not a trend exclusive to Disney, it happens with everything, and feels like a point for a more general article.
Also, she's judging them outside of the context of their time. Like calling the princesses in general "interested only in clothes, jewellery and cadging the handsome prince" not only completely disregards all of the more modern princesses, it overlooks that for their time some were actually progressive (like Snow White losing her prince yet being completely happy without him. These days her attitude is outdated, but for back then a woman giving the impression losing her man didn't knock her happiness at all was ahead of it's time) also, can she name me the princess who ever seems only interested in clothes and jewellery? because as far as I remember none even show a passing interest in clothes or jewellery.

Basically I'm saying I think it's possible to write an in depth article pulling apart the sexism that exists in many Disney stories, I just don't think this journalist did that. She seems to overlook things to make her point (none of the times the princesses showed heroism, athleticism or independence were mentioned) and I think she herself, by putting so much importance in Disney's ability to influence her daughter is making it more likely to happen. I loved the movies as a child, sang all the songs, but was given a good education of real women, and didn't have much importance put in the Disney characters, and I grew up wanting to work hard for myself, with healthy self esteem and would never rely on a man to take care of me, and proudly consider myself a feminist. She mentions a mother who found clothes marketed at her kids inappropriate going 'what am I supposed to say?' how about say 'no'? it's your responsibility to manage what your child owns, not the store's, which at the end of the day is my biggest problem with the whole article. She has a problem with the shallowness her daughter is encountering but seems to have no motivation to personally deal with the issue, which is her responsibility.
posted over a year ago.