Let It Go: What is the "Disney Princess Effect"?
We admit it...here, at Tree Hut, we're suckers for happy endings. Everyday, we see countless romantic engravings that reflect upon life, marriage, anniversaries, and more. Every woman feels like a princess at her wedding, especially when she gifts her husband a watch engraved with "Finally found my prince." We love helping create sweet memories like these.
Am I the one not surprised by the results of this study? Hopefully, every parent is aware of the subliminal messages Disney princess movies carry. Disney itself is even aware of it; their portrayal of princesses have changed drastically over the past 70 years. For instance, Snow White (1937) cleaned, cooked, and cared for men, which was expected of women in that decade. Sleeping Beauty (1959) naturally sought the affection of a prince because that movie was released in the 1950's -- the pinnacle of the decade of the housewife and cult of domesticity.
But this decade's princesses, like Elsa (Frozen, 2013) and Moana (Moana, 2016), are spirited, goal-driven teenagers who have ambitions of their own and solve problems without the help of a man...much like today's young women.
So we say...
In this case, we think that art reflects life. Perhaps it's better to treat the older Disney movies like the relics they are: remnants of a historical, gendered past our culture is trying to supersede. Like everything, Disney princess movies should be watched in moderation. Have conversations with your kids about what these movies represent after watching them. Get real: talk about how animations are never truly realistic and how "the past is in the past." Stop the pattern of negative self-esteem and stereotypical behavior right in its tracks. Meanwhile, we'll be waiting for more diverse Disney princesses.
But if your girl wants a fairytale wedding, that's okay too. And we'd be happy to host it. ;)
* The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Tree Hut Co. as a whole.