Farewell, Disney Princesses…Boys Don’t Like You

Goodnight, sweet Princess.  It appears boys just aren’t that into you.  Or so says a bevvy of Disney executives who have decided that the last film, The Princess and the Frog, was a royal flop.  In light of its less than stellar performance, they are canceling future princess-based fair and that which will go through will have bigger guy roles.

For those of us who have had a love/hate relationship with the idea of the indoctrination of girlishness that the Disney Princesses have become, this is a moment of crisis.

As delicious as the thought of a less princessy “princess” film may be, Disney’s reasoning for it is just as big a feminist bummer as Ariel giving up her voice to get a man. It’s the same line we hear about why women can’t open films made for grown-ups — the female market just isn’t profitable enough, and men won’t go see chick stuff. Never mind that female-driven movies like “Sex and the City,” “Mamma Mia” and the “Twilight” franchise have been phenomenally successful in recent years, or that so many of the movies aimed at women are unwatchable schlock, or that no one ever worries about the future of male-oriented films, even when highly anticipated ones fail to perform. Women are an unpredictable niche market that just happens to be slightly over half the population. Deal with it.

So even though I look forward to Disney putting less emphasis on princesses, I’m not thrilled about the fact that that seems to mean putting less emphasis on girls.

Does the world need another princess movie?  Probably not.  But this trend speaks to the idea that a girl will have no issue watching a movie with a male protagonist, but somehow a boy will get “girlyfied” or lose interest if he watches a movie with a strong female, so the characters have to be male by default.

Is it a sign that girls, even from the earliest age, have the ability to pretend and emphasize in a way that boys do not?  It the male lead default on movies needed because little boys tend not to role play or imagine to the extent that little girls do?  Or is the assumption that little boys won’t watch a “girl movie” part of the culture that causes them not to be as comfortable with make believe and creative imagination games as little girls are?

One thing I can say for sure is that the Disney Princesses are more than just a movie theme — they are a marketing extravaganza that brings in billions of dollars a year in purchases for girls.  Should they start to see a dent in that industry, perhaps then Disney will find girl movies worth their focus again.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

111 comments

ii q.
g d c5 years ago

incredible!!!

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Zuzana K.
Zuzana K5 years ago

This is so sad! Of course boys probably are not into princess movies, but so? I as a girl am not into the animated movie 'Cars'.. Yet they made a sequel of 'Cars' That's not fair.
And am apalled that it is on the basis of Princess and the Frog they made this decision - firstly I thought it the best Disney movie I saw in years - nice to return to the musical traditional animated style, the characters are inspiring, and the point of the plot is that it is a misunderstanding as TIANA WAS NOT A PRINCESS she was dressed as one at a costume party. She only becomes a princess at the end. And my brother liked it.

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colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

I guess they could of had a Black African Princess, in Africa. and forget the whole Jazz era New Orleans. Maybe I should work on my black Chinese lesbian vegan Viking princess movie

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Tiffany P.
Tiffany P6 years ago

That's rediculous, did they even bother trying to work out why the movie was a flop?! It was trying too hard to be trendy and politically correct (while at the same time playing on racial stereotypes). It looked like crap, and probably WAS crap, which was very disappointing seeing it was the first traditionally animated film to come out in a while. It's got nothing to do with the fact that it was a "Princess" movie (which, contrary to what rampant feminists might hope, will always have a lasting appeal). Sure. let's blame a stupid stereotype for the failure of a movie that was, according to the preview at least, FULL of stupid stereotypes!!!

And why, WHY did they have a black girl in traditional European princess garb, for a traditional European fairytale?! Reverse racism, anyone?! With all the awesome folklore out there, if you want to cast an alternative race, cast them in their own tales! Sensitively, without making them look and sound like afro-american stereotypes! Mulan is probably my favourite Disney movie, probably followed by Aladdin. Mulan wasn't even a princess, and neither tale was "white" (not that being white is such a terrible thing).

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Victoria M.
Victoria M.6 years ago

I think the Princess movies could be replaced by something new for little girls with a female lead character who is charming but proactive and has all the witty lines... Like Buffy, but suitable for children.

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colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

how could I forget "Home on the Range". Cows save the day, real moo cows. and the male horse support role was an idiot. you can't get more girl power than a bovine heroine

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colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

is not this the reason they bought copyrights to Marvel and the company?

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Megan S.
Megan S6 years ago

I think any one who has ever been in love would be able to justify Ariel's reconciliation of her voice to get the prince.
I mean, a voice is a big part of you, but love makes you blind...

And the Disney Princesses are far from dead. Repunzel is becoming an official princess soon- she will be the 10th. The princesses represent Disney more than Mickey Mouse does.

And what about Mulan? She was definitely a feminist.

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Janice P.
Janice P7 years ago

I agree with Tekla. We are all unique. We all have different interests, and we all "try on" different roles, some of which are inspired by "princess movies", throughout our lifetime. In this way, we ultimately learn who we really are. Ideally, we learn something about ourselves, the world, and our place in it from every single encounter we have, whether it be through tv, media, classes, friends, etc. Everyone and everything that has crossed our path really does, in some small measure, become a part of us.

So-called "princess movies" may depict worlds, which are unrealistic for most of us, but so do westerns, mafia-style movies, and (thankfully) movies full of violence. Even today, I would rather see movies and toys that depict the unrealistic princess-style ambiance, than one full of guns, blood, and gore.

"Princess" movies and their attendant lifestyles only become problematic when girls have become young women and still believe that they need a prince to rescue them. In that respect, Nellie is correct. At some point, we must all grow up and face reality. Until then, though, I see nothing wrong with those sweet, inocuous movies.

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Bee Hive Lady
Fiona Ogilvie7 years ago

My daughter is a feminist and these vapid Disney princesses is one of the reasons she has raised for her feminism.

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