The Disney Princess brand has recently come under attack for the way it portrays limiting "gender stereotypes and contributes to 'body esteem issues'" in girls.
A study done by Brigham Young University's Sarah M. Coyne titled "Pretty as a Princess" examined Disney Princess culture and determined that the brand had some damaging effects that parents may not be aware of. Coyne studied 198 girls and boys on how they interacted and were effected by various forms of Disney Princess materials.
“We know that girls who strongly adhere to female gender stereotypes feel like they can’t do some things,” Coyne said in an interview with BYU news. “They’re not as confident that they can do well in math and science. They don’t like getting dirty, so they’re less likely to try and experiment with things.”
Disney Princesses, with their thin bodies, were especially problematic to girls who didn't fit that physique.
“Disney Princesses represent some of the first examples of exposure to the thin ideal. As women, we get it our whole lives, and it really does start at the Disney Princess level, at age 3 and 4.”
When Disney tried in 2013 to create a glamorous and thinner version of Merida from Brave, outraged parents generated an online petition that eventually forced the Mouse Factory to cease and desist with the redesign.
“What drives me crazy is when you get a princess who’s not gender stereotyped, like Merida from 'Brave,'" noted Coyne. "I took my daughter to see it, and afterward we had a great conversation about how strong, brave and independent Merida was in the movie. And then in the marketing, Disney slims her down, sexualizes her, takes away her bow and arrow, gives her makeup — feminizes her. So then we’re at the supermarket and see this ‘new Merida’ on fruit snacks and soup cans, and I point it out to my daughter and we have a conversation about the difference. And now when we’re at the store, she’ll see the soup can herself and say, ‘That’s not the real Merida and I’m not buying it.’"
Disney, in an effort to prevent further damage to the Disney Princess brand that has generated over $5.5 billion in revenue since the early 2000s, has decided to give the Disney Princess credo a makeover.
In the new 10 modern Princess principles Disney focuses entirely on inward traits. Gone are emphasis on appearance, gender stereotypes such as cooking and cleaning, as well as anything that might provoke body esteem issues.
The 10 principles are as follows:
1. Care For Others
2. Live Healthily
3. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
4. Be Honest
5. Be A Friend You Can Trust
6. Believe In Yourself
7. Right Wrongs
8. Try Your Best
9. Be Loyal
10. Never Give Up
In addition, three posters were commissioned by UK illustrators Kate Moross, Rose Blake and Kate Forrester. The posters are available for free at any Disney store. They can also can be downloaded, printed and framed to be hung on a child's wall for motivation. Click here to download the posters and get instructions on how to hang it yourself.
We can now add this list of core values to some of the other important life lessons that Disney has taught us over the years:
What do you think about these new Disney Principles?