If not a princess then what?

photo by flickr user smarthero

On Nov. 21, a Los Angeles Times article announced that Disney will refocus its marketing on boys and will temporarily stop making so-called “princess movies,” such as its latest blockbuster hit, Tangled.

I grew up watching the classic Disney princess movies… and loved them. However, I also comprehend the negative impact they have on little girls by teaching them that life is all about scoring the rich guy/hot guy and looking impossibly beautiful. But from now on female Disney characters will only serve as supporting characters or even (God forbid) accessories to the hero.

Disney executives themselves have claimed that girls no longer want to be princesses. Okay, so times have changed. Just because girls don’t fantasize about becoming damsels-in-distress Disney thinks it’s a waste of time marketing to girls. Girls still have incredible dreams and aspirations even if they aren’t fantasizing about being princesses.

If Disney wants to reinvent itself while keeping the magic of the classic animation and musical scores they are known for, then how about making films that can appeal to the general kid market and give girls a positive role model to look up to, instead of brainwashing girls to think all they’re good for is looking good or living in the shadow of their male counterparts?

Think Mulan. There’s action, comedy, drama and yes, the girl gets the guy at the end. But first said girl risks her life to save her father and the Chinese empire  from a disastrous fate while demonstrating courage and a general kick-butt attitude!

It’s not wrong to market to boys, but it is inconsiderate and downright rude to give up on trying to market to girls.

1 Comment on "If not a princess then what?"

  1. Melissa Banister | December 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    This is really well-written. While I do understand that not all boys love to watch princess movies, how about they just alternate the tilt of the movies a bit? Maybe one is more action-oriented, the next has cute animals, etc., so that someone of either gender will find something they like, even if the girl wants action and the boy wants a fuzzy deer?

    The overall frustrating thing for me is that the phrase “chick flick” exists. The default audience is assumed to be a young white male, and targeting any other group, including women, is seen as a “niche group” or whatever and may be “financially risky.” Many movies I have loved have been dubbed flops at the box office because they weren’t targeted to whomever it is that sees movies in the largest droves.

    I believe this all stems from the fact that stereotypically (and this does not apply to all guys, just some), one hears of guys being “dragged to chick flicks” (read: any movie without primarily male leads) but the opposite is seen as less of a big deal. I can’t begin to count all the action, superhero, etc. movies that I tagged along to, just because being in math meant that most of my friends were dudes. And it’s not that no woman likes those sorts of movies, it’s just that they weren’t my thing.

    Maybe my conclusion is that it’s about darn time for this whole “chick flick” phrase to go away and a movie to not either be a pure male-safe movie or tainted by the plague of Chickitude. =)

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