In Peggy Orenstein's book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein examines several key influences on young girls lives and analyzes them. The one I am most interested in that she analyzes is the Disney princesses. I am a Disney buff, as I own most of the Disney classics, on VHS of course, and have to been to Disneyworld in Florida several times. In particular I enjoy the most the Disney princess tales which is why I was so interested in the areas where she wrote about that. My son or daughter will be seeing them all but I was curious to read the negative aspect of Disney. To help talk about this issues Orenstein raises I will be using hyperlinks to other videos, cartoons, and websites to decipher this.
To start I think we need a clear understanding of what Orenstein thinks can happen from Disney movies. She says Disney movies can be promoting traditional gender roles, which tell young girls repeatedly what their role in society should be. I say repeatedly because as a kid who didn't just rewatch Disney movies over and over again. The fear of introducing that kind of sexism to young girls may be subconsciously oppressive Orenstein argues. Even if they don't realize it, the stories may become ingrained in their head until the girls feel limited as to what they can achieve in life. On the flip side Disney princesses can stress the importance of looks and beauty to a young girl. Again the young girl may not realize but that can also subconsciously become ingrained in a girls mind until they do something crazy like this to seek approval.
While searching for things online I realized there is quite a bit more on the subject of the negative influence of Disney princesses than I thought. While searching I found this comic that I thought was perfect for one of my links: it's simple enough that you will not have to read another article but is complex enough to make you think hard about the different Disney princesses. I could easily imagine a comic like this appearing in Peggy Orenstein's book. Aside from Jasmine, all of the other princesses listed in the picture have a story that relates to how they look. As Orenstein's friend says it is not the princesses that are the problem, it is the stories that go with them. But as Orenstein herself points out, you cannot have one without the other.
A comedian named Jenna Marbles did a piece on What Disney Movies taught her. Of course she is trying to get people to laugh so it may stretch parts of Disney movies that are not that bad. However some of what she says is very relevant to what Orenstein is arguing. For example a segment of what she talks about is how the Disney Princesses gave her ridiculous hair, beauty, and life expectations. Towards the end of her video she questions why the Disney princess movies always end with the princesses falling in love and getting married. She wants to see a Disney princess that is independent and strong willed. Orenstein would agree with Jenna Marbles, specifically on the last segment. NOTE: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE, I. E. CURSE WORDS, SO DO NOT WATCH IF YOU THINK CURSE WORDS ARE OFFENSIVE.
A matter Orenstein touches slightly is the ramifications that Disney movies have on boys. Young girls are the focus of Cinderella Ate My Daughter but Orenstein mentions Disney movies potential effects on boys for one reason: that exists as well. Masculinity is defined for boys in many of these Disney movies and can subconsciously teaches how to treat women in a relationship. I found a video that discusses this on YouTube and it also provides clips from Disney movies that present "masculinity."
Points To Share
Peggy Orenstein brings up good points in her book. But I think if a parent teaches their daughters to be strong and independent women, then they can enjoy all the Disney movies they want. And with proper parenting, children can even be conscious of marketing ploys.