Anyone have a problem with Disney Princesses?

(48 Posts)
jiminyCrick Fri 16-Nov-12 12:14:14

Am I miserable sod, or has anyone else thought this?

We didn't have many disney films when I was growng up, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and then later, Mulan & Toy Story.

I never really thought aboue the "princess" films until my niece (DH side) turned 4/5 and she was OBSESSED. She had hundreds of toys, everyone was a princess, or prince charming, it was mad. There was no imagination.

Aside from the mass consumserism involved with Disney, I am loathe to get my kids old school Disney Princess films (we didn't have them, did me no hard) due to the inherent message of the princess being "saved" by the prince.

I was discussing this with one of my friends, a bright, strong woman who said "yes, but that's the ultimate goal isn't it, so why worry about a cartoon showing it?"

IS IT? Is the ultimate goal to be saved by a man?? My husband didn't save me, if anything, I saved him. Strangely, i'm the only one of my close group of friends who didn't have princess films as a child, and the only one to be married, or indeed, who has ever been in a commited relationship. Linked? Maybe not, but not having them didn't harm me in that sense did it?

I don't view men as saviours, I don't view women as princesses. Me and my husband work together equally, from shifting rubble and building the house, to washing the dishes and doing the shopping. We contribute equally to the household costs. We are two PEOPLE.

The disney films I did watch were about friendship, loving your parents (god, that scene in DUmbo still makes me cry) and being a good person.

They weren't about waiting for a man to come and rescue you.

Ultimately, disney films were not heavily involved in my life, my family were, I was interested in DOING stuff, not mindlessly watching other peoples made up fantasies...

What do other people think? Does anyone else have a stand against them, or do you think I am being way over the top? I couldn't bear the thought of my kids being consumerist, obsessed, mindless, unimaginative little souls, which modern kids obsessed with Disney appear to be turning into.

MolotovBomb Fri 16-Nov-12 12:46:07

Hi, I understand where you are coming from but I think that you might come across to a child into Disney Princesses as a killjoy.

My DD1 is 3.9yo and adores the Princesses. Before we had her, DH and I were adamant that she'd have no princess crap and definitely no Barbies. Now, we need another room in the house because there are so many.

To counter any negative messages, I try to encourage her watching Disney films like 'Rapunzel' and 'Mulan', where the female characters are stronger and more positive. That said, DD love Cinderella, who I think is so weak and limp.

She's into 'Sleepin Beauty' too, so with the Medieval links there, she got into 'Mike the Knight', which is more gender-balanced, I think.

DD cannot differentiate or infer complex meaning yet; she's young, a typical 'girly girl' ... I'll let her have this for now because it makes her so happy. I imagine, with me being her Momma, that she'll see past negative stereotyping and will move on from the Disney fixation.

But I can't take it away from her now. She gets comfort from the characters and is imaginative in so many ways away from Disney. It's difficult not to overthink, but our analyses cannot be understood by a child so young. It seems unfair to take Disney Princesses away from them when they don't understand.

WomanlyWoman Fri 16-Nov-12 13:01:46

Disney in general are abysmal, particularly the DP's, Am actually surprised that this question is being asked, thought it was a troll grin. I assumed anyonehere would automatically have problems with DP. One of the things about it is it inescapability. Before she attended school my daughter had very little awareness of DP - down to me, although a few presents had slipped through the net, now she loves it. I would never 'ban' anything (within reason obvs),I think it's counterproductive, but I will just perhaps make a few comments about issues that come up as we go along. Maybe about why the princess couldn't save themself and so on. IMO if you want good films for girls look to studio Ghibli.

TerrariaMum Fri 16-Nov-12 13:04:38

I think the marketing is especially problematic. And I say that as someone who grew up with the Disney films and loved them. So, no, I don't think you're being over the top.

I don't plan on forbidding them, but I do plan on talking about them with DD. I also will do my best to temper it with things like Studio Ghibli.

TerrariaMum Fri 16-Nov-12 13:05:22

x-post trisha

fuzzpig Fri 16-Nov-12 13:13:15

I don't like them either.

I had loads of Disney videos as a child but they were mostly animal ones - Winnie the Pooh, fox and hound etc. The only princess one I had was beauty and the beast.

I really dislike the Disney Princess thing that has become a brand in its own right. The merchandise is much tackier than a lot of regular Disney stuff as well IMHO <snob>. For example I listened to a CD that had lots of movie songs on it, but also had Disney Princess songs that were ghastly - all about 'how to be a princess' hmm

I think that's what annoys me about the brand - because all the characters have in common are the fact they're pretty princesses.

I don't ban it though. We love Disney in general - it's a very nostalgic thing for me and we have loads on DVD, mostly because they are films one or both of us loved as a child. Neither of us particularly loved the princess ones but we have found some on VHS for DD.

DD has certainly got into pink and girly stuff since starting nursery (she is in year 1 now) but I'm not worried about it going too far. She likes dressing up but then she plays with trains, dinosaurs etc... More to the point, she sees an equal, healthy relationship between her parents, which at the moment involves mummy working and daddy staying home (has also been the other way round), she sees us treating her and her brother equally rather than along gender stereotypes (ie not banning DS from pushing a buggy etc). She sees that appearance isn't the most important thing about people and that being kind and working hard are more important.

I do think that is far more important and influential than what she sees on telly.

I do limit the princess toys but don't ban them. DCs both play with a very wide range of toys. I'm sure DD would love the pink playmobil princess castle, but we've got them the normal knights castle as I know she will love that too.

summerflower Fri 16-Nov-12 13:19:57

I don't know, I don't think they are inescapable, DD doesn't have any of them (and I am not sure that she has seen any), although she does have a Princess annual she got one year for a present and a couple of the dolls. She's nine now and I think she has emerged relatively unscathed. We didn't have a TV till she was 7 though (she is now 9), or loads of DVDs. I didn't make a big thing of it, it just wasn't there really.

The exception is Brave, which we both went to see, and she loved. She did have a pink, girly phase, but it didn't last more than a year, then she decided she hated pink.

summerflower Fri 16-Nov-12 13:20:21

I have disappeared any Bratz stuff which has come her way, though...

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Fri 16-Nov-12 13:23:13

I do think that is far more important and influential than what she sees on telly. - agree totally.

Watching Dumbo didn't make DD think that elephants could fly.

And Rapunzel, Tiana and Mulan kick ass grin , I haven't seen Brave yet.

STUPIDBINTS Fri 16-Nov-12 15:39:32

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Nov-12 15:44:08

Time of the month, is it, stupid? wink

Jimmy, just read 'Cinderella ate my daughter' by Peggy Orenstein and have a cup of tea.

grumpyinthemornings Fri 16-Nov-12 17:03:01

Marie Curie came up with radiotherapy. Think about that Stupid if you ever have the misfortune to have cancer.

Women do not fight on the front lines because of the psychological impact on men, who will fight harder to protect a female comrade than a male one, and the extra level of torture interrogation techniques that can be used if they are captured, such as rape. It is common sense to not put the extra strain on a combat situation.

I am considered fairly attractive by society's standards, and I don't live up to the princess ideal. Because it is impossible. Nobody is like a Disney princess. And you're no Prince-Fucking-Charming.

Marriage, relationships, children are all choices we make. And a good thing too, or the human race would die out. As for needing men - no. I don't need one. I like having my partner around, but I was doing just fine without him, thank you very much. It's pretty hard to save someone who doesn't need to be saved.

I can read a map. And drive a car. Both of which I learnt to do without any aid from men. I can also change a lightbulb, rewire a plug, defrost the freezer, change a tyre, put up a shelf and any other number of things considered to be "a man's job". And there are a lot of other women out there who can do the same, and more.

Women forced a change, by speaking up and saying "we're not happy, things have to change." Men may have been in power, but we somehow managed to get the vote. If men are so bloody strong, why didn't they just tell us to do one, hm?

Rape is rape before, during and after the fact. And it is wrong on every level there is.

We don't want to run the planet. We just want to live on it, free from fear and discrimination. Equal with men in every way we can be. Because we are all people, with gifts and talents and minds of our own.

So fuck off and be a chauvinist pig somewhere else, please, Stupid

MolotovBomb Fri 16-Nov-12 17:09:43

Yes, Stupid, please just fuck off and stop Trolling. Maybe go somewhere very dark and quiet and stay there.

Its hard to envisage that people like you exist.

BelaLugosisShed Fri 16-Nov-12 17:22:58

Women don't fight on the front lines? - erm what about the female bomb disposal soldiers/airwomen? I know a British ex Raf armourer/bomb disposal expert who is now in the US Airforce and she has done 3 tours of Afghanistan, she's also got 3 kids and a husband who is not military.

Going back to world war two, what about Russian women soldiers fighting alongside the men, what about Israeli women snipers and special forces today?
Stop spouting crap about things you obviously know nothing about and piss off back under your rock.

As long as girls have other strong female role models, Disney princesses shouldn't be a problem, my DD is a strong and independent woman of 22, who happens to have all the Disney princess autographs from Magic Kingdom, from earlier this year.

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Nov-12 17:32:32

<sixteen years in the military, here, but puh-lease don't engage with an obvious troll>

HalloweenNameChange Fri 16-Nov-12 19:43:40

No they are shite. read Cinderella ate my daughter

HalloweenNameChange Fri 16-Nov-12 19:46:51

Already mentioned I see blush

I do hate all of it, especially the idea now that adult women think it;s ok to say things like " I want to be treated like a queen/princess" Or "be spoiled"

I want to vomit all over them. What happened to wanting to be treated like a normal intelligent human being and equal?

WidowWadman Fri 16-Nov-12 20:34:35

You need to read Peggy Orenstein's "Cinderella ate my Daughter". And then get a copy of 'Brave'. And then try not to scream at the fact that despite it's completely contrary to the message of the film, all the merchandise is done in the same way as the other Disney princesses.

FastLoris Fri 16-Nov-12 21:03:43

I hate all that Disney princess stuff. Not so much because of the significance of being saved by a man (not all the stories are centred around that), but more because of sheer vacuousness of the frilly costume and jewellery worship. And the inherent unhealthy class prejudice behind the idea of princess being innately "special". The Princess and the Pea always grates on me that way.

Unfortunately DW is well into it, and buys DD all the books and tiaras and crap, so there's little I can do other than to provide contrasting influences.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 16-Nov-12 21:12:57

The fact that there were 'Disney Princesses' passed me by until my dd's friends started showing an interest in them.

I don't mind the story lines - my dd has read and come across many variations of Cinderella for example - and some are wimpier than others. They're based on classic fairy tales which I think have their place.

It's the marketing that I really object to, and how cynical and poor quality it all is. Fortunately, dd isn't at all interested in them beyond the fairy tales, so I;ve never had to veto anything, but would never buy any Disney princess stuff as presents etc.

A little of that stuff goes a long way.

jiminyCrick Fri 16-Nov-12 22:25:57

Hi guys, sorry been at work and haven't had a chance to check. Interesting views, thank you.

Ok, so "banning" might be a strong word. When we were kids, we just didn't have them, no biggie, no reason why, never spoken about, just not there.

But also, I was never into that stuff, we weren't poor, but my parents were very hardworking, it was quite clear from quite young that that kind of stuff [dolls, pink frilly stuff, extravagances etc] was pretty useless. Nothing bad ever said, but my parents are not the frivolous type. We had nice stuff, but it ws equally nice for everyone, pets, good food, holidays. We didn't have a lot that just belonged to one person, (toys etc) I had hand me down toys, but just one doll that was one own (I still have her!) I'm not trying to make it sound sad, it was a lovely childhood, just different to what could be achieved today.

My mum was my role model, and like her, I would always rather be said to be efficient than beautiful. I get angry when people focus on how I look rather than what I can do,I want people to know there is more to me than my face.

I worry with this obsession that my kids will get sucked into it and won't have these beliefs. It seems so hard nowadays, it is so huge, it is a huge part of kids lives, tat, mindless pink plastic crap. And even you have said, you didn't want it but can't get away with it.

Will it have a lasting impact? I suppose we don't know, we have to hope that our beliefs will be stringer than the marketing and the tv...

jiminyCrick Fri 16-Nov-12 22:28:41

ps...I read all of the original fairy tails before seeing any disney films...was very unimpressed with the disney ending to little mermaid!

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Nov-12 22:31:09

Er, no. You can't get away from it when they are five.

My girl children are 12 and 9, and there's not a pink iota in the house. Disney what? We had a shed load from 3-6, courtesy of every birthday going. <shrugs> They just dump it. It's a little girl/ babyish thing. Done and dusted by 8, max.

Read 'Cinderella ate my daughter'. Honestly. She's done enough navel gazing for the lot of us. grin

<repeats ad infinitum>

I see stupid got what was coming to him.

jiminyCrick Fri 16-Nov-12 22:33:42

I will read it, thanks for the tip!

So...would it be TOTALLY out of line to request those kind of things are not bought by relatives? I know my parents wouldn't, if there's no inherent "use" in it, they wouldn't even think of it. [ie, everyday clothes, yes, a bought dressing up dress no, old clothes for dressing up yes] but I worry tha DHs family might because they think it's "cute". Would that make me an awful, controlling human being??

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 16-Nov-12 22:38:38

We don't have princesses in our house, and at my daughters all girls private nursery I was told 'we don't do barbie here'. None of the girls seem to worried! I did buy a Disney compilation story book today and my three year old was most interested in a story about mickey going on a fire engine and Winnie the poo looking for honey- she totally ignored cinders and sleeping beauty. grin

jiminyCrick Fri 16-Nov-12 22:43:17

Ahhh there is hope! smile

GrimmaTheNome Fri 16-Nov-12 22:52:46

My DD always preferred toy dogs to princess/barbie type dolls, which she did get given by other people. She had a complicated ongoing pretend game where various of her dogs were a family (princes and princesses, as it happened but she took the part of the families gardener herself....)and one of them was a girly pup who liked playing with barbies but the others didn't...it was quite funny, the dolls got played with ironically .

So...I don't think you need to ban anything. Laughing like a drain at riduculous princess/barbie crap adverts may help.

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Nov-12 22:57:00

If you ban it, they want it more. No point. Just don't buy it yourself, and don't make a big deal over it. And don't have a yr r birthday party. <sage> or if you do, do the whole 'please donate to this orphanage in Mongolia' routine and specific no presents at all.

Beamur Fri 16-Nov-12 22:59:09

My DD is 5 and we watch quite a few Disney films, but I've avoided too many Princess ones - a kind friend bought her a Disney Princess storybook which was well meant but had some of the crappest stories I'd ever read in, so it has quietly gone. She's also been bought a Barbie DVD which from the blurb on the back - it was all about 'can Barbie save the day, meet the Prince and still look wonderful' - it's still in the wrapper lurking in the cupboard.
TBH, I think there's enough balance in DD's life to counteract the nonsense these things peddle, but y'know I can't be arsed to read such bilge to her or risk having to watch Barbie myself!

GrimmaTheNome Fri 16-Nov-12 23:28:18

Did anyone else ever notice that it tended to be mothers who only had boys who'd be most likely to give this sort of doll (or pale pink clothes) as birthday gifts to girls?

While I don't think its a good idea to tell people what not to buy (unless they've specifically asked what is or isn't wanted), its fair enough to drop hints if the occasion arises as to the sort of thing your children do like.

Mayanala Sat 17-Nov-12 19:28:36

I might be a bit over the top when it comes to Disney but we rarely let DC watch it, partly because of the things you have mentioned in your OP, but also think it's pretty shit in general.

My 7 year old DD's heroine is Boudicca, I suppose the irony is that Disne's Brave was base don the story!

STIDW Mon 26-Nov-12 04:10:29

The only princess in our house, Princess Fiona.

phoolani Mon 26-Nov-12 10:48:29

Jiminy, you can totally request that relatives don't buy it, but if yours are anything like mine, such reasonable requests lead to them buying DP stuff ALL THE TIME to make up for the fact that mummy is such a crappy killjoy...There's a multi-billion advertising industry 'controlling' your DD all the time; a small attempt to impose your own values on your own child is not just allowable, it's necessary.
I didn't 'ban' DP stuff, I just made it clear to DD that I wouldn't be buying her any of it and I told her why (she was three, so I told her very simply). She had huge amounts of fun waving relatives' gifts in my face, shouting Ner, ner! and laughing herself silly, but she never actually played with any of it very much (which I knew she wouldn't and was the other reason I told them not to buy it). Then she hit 5 and bam! I couldn't have interested her in DPs for anything. Except Merida now which is good because I think Merida is just FAB.

phoolani Mon 26-Nov-12 10:49:50

On topic, has anybody seen the 'Advice from a Cartoon Princess' series on YouTube? That stuff is so funny, you may well wet yourself.

GetAllTheThings Mon 26-Nov-12 13:54:36

I'm not terribly happy about the whole Disney Princess thing, and thankfully am able to keep it to a minimum. I showed dd Beauty and the Beast once and she burst into tears at the end because she didn't have a yellow dress like Belle. Never again.

But the whole princess thing is pretty much unavoidable I think unless you live in a cave. And best she gets it out of her system now than later in life.

I try and counter the 'waiting for a prince to rescue me' thing in play. When I play with dd and her toys it's generally the prince that requires a rescue and frequently the princess ( if I'm running the story ) decides against marriage and goes off to do something far more exciting like a trip to the moon with bunny and polar bear.

And as above, Shrek get's a lot of airplay. Princess Fiona is pretty kick arse.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 26-Nov-12 14:47:06

I don't think it's rude to ask people not to buy that stuff if they ask. I wouldn't say anything if they have already given it to you.. smile thank them and pass it on.

If someone is a militant atheist you wouldn't buy their kids a children's bible would you?

chipmonkey Mon 26-Nov-12 14:56:06

I hate Disney Princesses. I also hate Ben10. We have none of the former though I suspect we might have had, if dd had lived.

I am tripping over Ben10 stuff in the living room. I have to say I liked the old Gwen, when they were 10. Don't like the new one quite so much, they have really girlified her.

MrsWolowitz Mon 26-Nov-12 15:06:16

My DDS are massively into the Disney princesses.

I don't mind that much as the one that the like are the more modern ones that aren't useless morons waiting for a man to save them (a la Snow White and Sleeping Beauty).

Mulan is a great female role model, Jasmine isn't bad ("I am not a prize to be won" - pretty good statement), Belle is all about not comforming to social norms and refusing to get married to the local jack the lad. Pocahontas is good and Rapunzel is pretty fiesty and ends up saving the fella (as does Mulan and Pocahontas).

I have no problems with these princesses at all. The useless damzel in distress princesses such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty make me hmm and luckily my DDs prefer the more modern ones and don't have much time for them.

BsshBossh Mon 26-Nov-12 23:06:27

Fortunately DD (4) much prefers Mulan, Rapunzel, Pocahontas & Jasmine to the older DPs such as Cinderella etc. When she plays with her DP character dolls they are always marrying each other.

Frans1980 Tue 27-Nov-12 01:53:37

Not to worry times are changing. The movie "Brave" is all about a princess who spends the entire movie making it clear she doesn't want a man.

rogersmellyonthetelly Fri 30-Nov-12 21:47:59

My dd absolutely adored anything Disney princess until she saw the film Brave. Now she has seen how much fun she could be having she is so not interested in dressing up and wants a bow and arrow and a pony. She also likes tangled. We did watch beauty and the beast recently, and she asked me why belle didn't "just tell the creepy man to get lost" like I would have done. Nice to know that even at the tender age of 6 that she can spot a creep and knows the appropriate response. :0)

kickassangel Sun 02-Dec-12 04:17:01

I made sure dd didn't see cinderella or sleeping beauty.

I am now use cinderella as a teaching point about media values. I have already done 'the rant' at my classes (age 13 or 14) about how I think it's actually dnagerous to peddle the whole love at first sight belief and that if you marry someone cos the look nice and dance well you could end up with a very unhappy life.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 02-Dec-12 04:43:14

DD is only 1 so I have all of this to come - thankfully though having a DS first means all our DVDs are Studio Ghibli and animal/fantasy character led (although much as I love Pixar I hate that almost every film is led by male characters) and DDs toys so far are mainly hand me downs from DS. I totally despair of how to handle the DP thing when she's older.

Although DS actually dresses up as a princess every day at nursery, with his best friend (also a boy) dressing up as tinker bell. They look after baby dolls together. So maybe I'll have to deal with the DP thing sooner than I thought

MmBovary Tue 11-Dec-12 12:06:21

My view on this is that we cannot escape consumerism and there are always going to be a lot of toys and DVD's, and characters that go against our views of how things should be.

However, I don't see eradicating these characters or costumes as the solution to the problem.

We can solve the dilemmas that they represent by teaching your children, with time, of course, to be critical of them, rather than to follow them blindly.

For example, my son loves super heroes. I don't always agree with the message of the stories, the fighting, the baddies and goodies philosophy behind of that, and I find the costumes terribly tacky as well.

I just try to point out these things to him, that I don't agree with the violence, that you can solve problems without resorting to fighting. He's six, so I don't know how much he takes, but I just mention it to him.

One day, I hope he'll be critical too. Though so far he says he wants to get married in a spider man costume smile

AmberSocks Tue 11-Dec-12 12:58:02

my daughter loves disney and barbie,and she uses her imagination when she plays with them,she is not mindless or boring.

Yes in the old skool disney films the women are waiting around to be saved,but in the newer ones its not like that,so whas wrong with a balance?Sometimes women are saved by men,sometimes men are saved by women,who cares?

Watch them with her,make comments,why cant she do it herself etc.I believe if you spend time with your kids and make the effort then you will have a bigger impact on them than any films.

AmberSocks Tue 11-Dec-12 12:59:38

I also hate it how people say things like thank god ive got boys etc,i have girls and boys and i find the whole power rangers etc thing much harder to deal with than the pink girly side of things.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 11-Dec-12 13:00:56

Have you seen that even for Brave, lots of the dolls come with a comb rather than a bow and arrow? DD is incensed!
She wants one for Christmas and reckons she can break the teeth off the comb, put an elastic band on it and turn it into a bow and arrows.

AmberSocks Tue 11-Dec-12 13:01:46

The thing is is there anything wrong with being saved by a man?Surely if we all just see ourselves and equals then it doesnt really matter,we are all just people saving people?

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