Disney Princesses: Harmless or Damaging? (video included)

[deleted account] ( 18 moms have responded )

Are Disney princesses sending the wrong message (all being skinny and beautiful)? I remember watching Disney movies when I was younger, but they never made me feel like I was too ugly or fat. I do think that young girls now are more impressionable now. Here's a few blogs/articles about the issues with Disney princesses:

http://thefeministbreeder.com/guest-post...

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/nurture-sh...



And I find this video really funny, but also think there's some truth to them (there is one for Belle and Ariel too): at top.





Do you let your children watch these movies? Do you think the princesses are sending the wrong message?

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Jpenney - posted on 03/18/2011

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Thanks for responding Megan.

I didn't mean to say that disney princesses give you cancer. 8)

What I meant was that we know (most of the posts here mention this) that this stuff is not good for young womens' self esteem. If that was the only question, then it would be a simple decision - don't expose them to it. But of course the other kids watch it, and our kids say they want to watch it (they "like" it)

So that makes me wonder why they like it. And I'm also reminded that they like cookies - which can be bad for them in excess. And kids like lots of things that are bad for them. And I'm in charge of knowing why those things are bad for them and keeping them safe.

But as you said, kids aren't mindless. At least no more mindless than I am. But I know how mindless I really am (it's scary sometimes) and how easily I can be persuaded by advertising to do things that are bad for me (Burger King, Coke, Jack Daniels, you name it). So that means my kids have the same tendency to be affected by advertising and I need to protect them against bad things that are advertised heavily.

Like Disney.

So I still say it's incredibly harmful. And I don't let my kids watch Disney movies and I try to suggest alternatives at their school.

Of course I can't control them much beyond my house so they're going to get some exposure but hopefully my rejection of Disney (with a complete explanation of the reasons and age-appropriate education about how the advertising works) will help them make the decision themselves and hopefully head off some of the damage before it takes hold.

I'm passionate about this so I hope that's not coming across as disrespectful to anyone (except the Disney marketing people, who I hate for targeting my kids).

Thanks

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/16/2011

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Anyone who thinks Disney Princess is the same as second hand smoke has some seriously warped veiw on reality and isn't giving their child the respect of knowing the difference between fantasy and reality.
Children aren't mindless, they're actually more insightful than adults give them credit for.

Jpenney - posted on 03/13/2011

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Incredibly harmful. Please stop showing your daughters this stuff - it's terrible for their self-esteem, their body image, their expectations of what women are supposed to act like, all that stuff, it's true. You may not have noticed the effect it had on you because you had other healthy influences to counteract this stuff but why expose your daughters to it? It's like giving her a cigareette because you haven't discovered the cancer you got from your mom's secondhand smoke. You all know these women are terrible role models. Just get rid of them entirely and then you'll never need to have this discussion. I never have my daughter watching disney movies or buy the toys or any of it, and they're easily replaced with other healthy playthings. Just do yourself a favor and get rid of this stuff. Why risk it?

[deleted account]

They do notice how skinny, pretty, popular, etc. that other people or characters are. I was shocked at young girls (1st graders) would get upset over not being "pretty enough" when I student taught. It was just strange to me how much different young children were then what I remember it being like when I was that age. My daughter (22 months) doesn't watch anything on TV so I don't have to worry too much about it right now.

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Jpenney - posted on 03/13/2011

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Incredibly harmful. Please stop showing your daughters this stuff - it's terrible for their self-esteem, their body image, their expectations of what women are supposed to act like, all that stuff, it's true. You may not have noticed the effect it had on you because you had other healthy influences to counteract this stuff but why expose your daughters to it? It's like giving her a cigareette because you haven't discovered the cancer you got from your mom's secondhand smoke. You all know these women are terrible role models. Just get rid of them entirely and then you'll never need to have this discussion. I never have my daughter watching disney movies or buy the toys or any of it, and they're easily replaced with other healthy playthings. Just do yourself a favor and get rid of this stuff. Why risk it?

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/03/2011

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My daughter's 6 and is almost outgrown Disney Princesses in favour of Hello Kitty. Do I believe it's damaged her psyche? Not any more than me dressing my brother up in our mom's clothes when he was 4 (He's married and expecting his first child now at the age of 26)
Yes she loves the princesses- especially Ariel from the Little Mermaid, but that has more to do with her love of swimming than wishing to marry a prince.
As another poster said I was much more disturbed when I read the original fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and The Brother's Grimm. Forget the evil queen falling off a Cliff in Disney's Snow White- in the original she was placed in red hot shoes and had to dance until she died. Of course in that case I don't know which ending was worse.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/03/2011

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My daughter's 6 and is almost outgrown Disney Princesses in favour of Hello Kitty. Do I believe it's damaged her psyche? Not any more than me dressing my brother up in our mom's clothes when he was 4 (He's married and expecting his first child now at the age of 26)
Yes she loves the princesses- especially Ariel from the Little Mermaid, but that has more to do with her love of swimming than wishing to marry a prince.
As another poster said I was much more disturbed when I read the original fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and The Brother's Grimm. Forget the evil queen falling off a Cliff in Disney's Snow White- in the original she was placed in red hot shoes and had to dance until she died. Of course in that case I don't know which ending was worse.

Alison - posted on 02/28/2011

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I don't think there is any one influence that is to blame for children's obsession with appearance. Probably more harmful than any is an appearance-obsessed mother.



I think in today's world it is essential to have a healthy dialogue with our children about societal pressures and inner beauty and such things. I have started to talk to my 4-year-old about inner beauty and try to stress that it is far more important than external beauty.



I do convince my girls to brush their teeth by telling them it will

make their teeth pretty and white like mommy's (who are far from perfect, but still awesome in their eyes), and it really works. I think it is important to take care of one's appearance, but it should not be the determining factor in one's self-worth.



As a side-note, I asked my daughter to clean up some water she spilled on the floor and found her singing "Sing Sweet Nightingale" as she mopped it up on her knees... So adorable!

Victoria - posted on 02/28/2011

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Harmless. Disney has water down these "Princess" tales quite a bit. Both my sister and I never had any "female" issues watching those movies (there are 10 years between us, so it's a good gap between cultural thinking). I however, did have some nightmares attached to Sleeping Beauty and the dragon. But I had an over active imagination and a big brother that made me watch classic horror movies. . .
My 16 month old girl LOVES watching the movies because we sing along and dance when the songs come on. We "talk" about what's happening.
I was more disturbed when I was older and found out the Little Mermaid dies of a broken heart and turned into sea foam. And that one step sister in Cinderella cut off her toes, the other her heel. Then little birds peck their eyes out. Much more disturbing in the original form.

Jenny - posted on 02/28/2011

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My daughter doesn't like them. She's always been drawn to animals. Finding Nemo was a big hit here.

Kaitlin - posted on 02/27/2011

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Thank you Sara! Don't worry I make sure to tell her alot of other positive stuff like how she draws good, and how good she plays her music and sings, and how smart she is. Well I just tell her she is so awesome because she is! :)

[deleted account]

I agree with Kaitlin. It's more about parenting than the movies. Though I wouldn't focus so much on looks. Yes, tell little girls they are pretty, but put more focus on their other positive attributes. "Wow that picture you drew is so creative!" "You were so brave to go down that slide by yourself!"

Kaitlin - posted on 02/27/2011

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I think it's completely harmless....I never felt that way as a kid but then again I am pretty and skinny. My daughter everyonce in awhile watches them now...she's moe into tinker Bell or the new shows on Disney Channel. I don't think I'll have to worry about her feeling ugly because of it she is the most beautiful little girl ever and I make sure to tell her that everyday. And for the kids that do feel like they are "ugly" or "fat"....they'll get over it eventually. They just need to be reminded more that they are beautiful no matter what and no matter what anyone says. So in my oppinion, the reason that girls feel that way is not because of the princesses, it's becasue they're parents don't tell them enough how beautiful they are. But again that is just my oppinion.

Michelle - posted on 02/27/2011

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Harmless...at the young age that these girls watch these movies...they do not look at things the way we do...using one of the examples above...snow white living with strange men. A young child is not going to look at it as a sexual thing, or wow...she's living with 7 men. A child usually sees this as Snow White has found a place to live, and made friends along the way. I think we read too much into these movies, that a child is just not capable of, as they are still honest and innocent. We know what the world is capable of...a child does not.

[deleted account]

Harmless. My girls have watched princess movies since toddlerhood. They have no delusions about being rescued by a prince or body image issues or whatever else is being claimed. Sorry, didn't watch the video. ;)

Jessica - posted on 02/27/2011

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Harmless - If we went around getting rid of every potential bad influence kids would have sweet fa left to have, watch and do. This would be where good parenting comes in. I wonder if the uber femenist plans on taking on Disney with this silly notion. I would say this is another example of someone taking something to far and blowing out of proportion. I ♥ the disney princesses, although my my daughter like the disney fairies :) Imagination and make believe are fun, even in todays PC world.

Lacye - posted on 02/26/2011

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LOL I saw the video and then I went and looked at the Belle and Ariel videos. Too funny. But in some ways, they do kinda ring a bit of truth. Snow White lived with 7 strange men, Ariel changed her body so she could be with a man, and Belle lived with a potential abuser.

I do let my daughter watch The Little Mermaid, she absolutely loves it, but I would rather her watch VeggieTales, which she also loves and we have been leaning more towards those movies. The only time she really gets to watch the movies though is after we go outside and play for a while and we come in and it's time for her to settle down a little bit because I have to fix supper and put her to bed.

[deleted account]

Yes, my daughter watches Disney princess movies. Right now we are stuck on Sleeping Beauty. In order to get her to move from the crib/toddler bed (the baby needs it) we convinced her that her big girl bed was a "Sleeping Beauty bed." She's insisting on a Sleeping Beauty cake for her birthday in May. She loves doing the Sleeping Beauty dance with her Daddy...that melts my heart.



That's fine with me. It's fun. It's not real. It's my responsibility to hep her separate real life and fantasy.



And it's not the only thing she focuses on. She loves LOVES to help cook. The kid can crack an egg without letting any shell get into the bowl. The knows the process for making several of my more common recipes. She loves crafting. She can cut and glue like a pro. She's interested in Penguins...will watch "March of the Penguins" in it's entirety. We go to a music class and becomes instantly mesmerized anytime we put on the CD for the class...she knows all the words. She knows her colors and some of her letters and shapes. She loves playgrounds and is getting brave with going down the big slide. So she's well rounded as far as I'm concerned. A little princess magic won't do any harm.

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