Monday, February 28, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, there was a movie studio that spun classic fairy tales into silver-screen gold. But now the curtain is falling on Disney "princess movies."

Even though they have been a part of Disney since the 1937 debut of its first feature film "Snow White," the clock is ticking toward midnight for the genre. And I'm not sure a glass slipper will save the day.

We were in Omaha with our own princess when I read an article that the Disney release of "Tangled" would be the last fairy tale produced by the Disney animation group for the foreseeable future. "Tangled" is a retelling of the Rapunzel story.

"Films and genres do run a course," Pixar Animation Studios chief Ed Catmull told The Los Angeles Times. "They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it .. but we don't have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up."
Who needs a Wicked Queen when you have company movie executives in the villain's role?

Or is the real villain a society that thinks it's OK for little 5-year-old girls to look and act like Britney Spears?

Maybe it's a little of both. But I still find it sad on this morning after Oscar night.

Jill and her friends loved playing dress-up.

Even my boy went through a phase when he couldn't get enough "Peter Pan." (I'm sure he'll be thrilled I shared this photo, but it's one of my favorites.) He watched the Mary Martin version of "Peter Pan" so many times the video tape wore out in one spot. (Sorry Disney. He preferred the stage version.)

The article goes on to say:
"With the advent of 'tween' TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models ... By the time they're 5 or 6, they're not interested in being princesses," said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois State and an expert in the role of media in children's lives. "They're interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values."
Being "hot" at age 5? Yikes!

Maybe we need to hit the pause button, America! Sometimes progress isn't really progress.


  1. Yikes is right! Although I am not a fan of the Disney princess, I am even less of a fan of the tween movement. I ran into some parents at my daughters first grade yesterday who took their 7 and 4 year old girls to a Justin Beiber concert. I don't allow my daughter to watch any of that stuff and if it puts her at a disadvantage socailly so be it. Little girls will still play dress up (boys too) without it being sold to them by Disney so I don't feel too sad!

  2. You are, of course, right. We never bought the "real" Disney dress-up clothes either. I guess I just see it as a symptom that children are "supposed" to grow up so quickly. I have friends with young daughters who lament that they can't find young girls' clothing that doesn't look like an teen or adult version of what's "cool" - or as the article said - "hot." Dress up and imagination should be celebrated (and we certainly don't need Disney to do that). Thanks for taking time to comment! I admire your stance with your daughter. We need more parents to stand up and say, "Hey, wait a minute!"