In response to the NYT article on the book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter":
I did a college paper comparing the early Disney princesses to the later ones. They made significant strides. Snow White and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) were both pretty pathetic, so in comparison, Cinderella is pretty badass. The princes were just as vacuous as the princesses as far as I'm concerned. Really, none of the characters were very developed. The villains were evil for no reason beyond basic jealousy. That doesn't make me love those early movies any less--they were beautifully drawn, and the music--wow. I can watch the movies a million times, because they are classic and wonderful and frozen in time.
Fast forward to the Golden Age of Disney, 1989 to late 90s. The heroines were strong-willed, independently-thinking. Pocahontas kicks a whole lot of ass--what a gorgeous film that sadly no one talks about. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture. Mulan, Jane in Tarzan, Nala, Jasmine. Not Disney, but princess Anastasia--these are all characters I'll be proud for my daughter to watch.
My wedding dress looked a little like Ariel's. And my daughter and Ariel's daughter share the same name--Melody. So yeah, I never grew out of the princess phase. I grew up with the movies, knew all the songs, memorized the dialogue. But I also killed bugs, climbed trees, played on basketball and soccer teams and wore only boys clothing for two years. The key is to make sure our kids are well-rounded. For the record, my son loves Sleeping Beauty and asked for a SB doll for Xmas. We got one for him.
My neverending quest to get skinny is not at all princess related. It's Hollywood related. :)
When it comes to female role models and body image, I think we have much bigger problems than princesses. Scantily clad pop stars and actresses, models, magazines...you know what I mean.
If anything, emulating princesses helps little girls feel beautiful in those early years. What's wrong with that? They'll have the rest of their lives to hate their nose, their zits, their muffin tops--why not let them enjoy these years of feeling pretty?
I say bring on the chiffon.