Saturday, April 5, 2008

Who wants to be a princess?

Unfortunately, too many little girls, thanks to Disney's decision to turn their classic tales into cash cows. You can hardly swing a cat in a department store without hitting something pink, sparkly, feathery or emblazoned with Cinderella, Ariel or Belle. Rosa Brooks of the Los Angeles Times wonders what all this princess worship teaches young girls:
But don't be fooled by the sparkly magic wands, the pint-sized tiaras and those cute little "animal friends." The Disney princesses aren't sweet and innocent. They're a gang of vicious hoodlums, and they're plotting against you.

Start with some light feminist analysis. It will not have escaped you, Mothers of America, that Disney princesses -- Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the rest -- rarely slay dragons, play sports, pilot jets or do open-heart surgery. Instead, they fiddle with their coiffures, linger over invitations to the ball, flee ineffectually from evil crones and swoon. Read more...

I would add this to Brooks' criticism of Disney princesses: They are awfully homogenous. I wonder if Disney is aware that there are African or Japanese princesses. If little black and Hispanic and Asian and Native American girls are going to swoon over a pink tulle-clad monarch, can she at least have brown skin or tightly-curled hair? Can we at least get a decent heroine of color? And don't tell me about Pocohontas and Mulan. Predictably, when a girl of color does show up in a Disney cartoon, she is whitewashed.

UPDATE: While doing some research for this post, I came across news of the next Disney 2D cartoon, scheduled for release later this year: The Princess and The Frog, which will feature the first African American Disney princess, Princess Tiana. Frankly, I'm not sure whether to clap my hands or shake my head. Read more...

Let me know when Disney makes a movie about a group of multi-cultural girl spies who wear awesome outfits and kick ass, too...or maybe a QUEEN who rescues a prince from a tower and wins his heart...or how about a heroine with a mother who survives the first 20 minutes of the film.

Let me know when Disney comes up with a character who has grrl power and sparkly clothes. Now that will be something to share with our daughters.

Hear me on Empowered Black Perspectives radio

Last night I was interviewed by host Rachel Ramone on Empowered Black Perspectives radio. We discussed race and the 2008 presidential election, Michelle Obama, the Rev. Wright controversy, whether black people should vote Republican, a Democratic "dream ticket" and more.

I don't sound too bad. My nasty chest cold actually gave me sultry, radio voice. (It also contributed to my heavy breathing early in the call. Sorry about that!)

Hear the show at the Empowered Black Perspectives Web site here.


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