Disney throws girls a bone in YouTube video

Dear Disney,

Thanks so much for this feel good video “I Am a Princess.”  It’s so great that you think girls are important. But you know what might be more convincing, and make more of an impact, than a 1:46 minute video on YouTube? If half of the characters in your big budget, animated, major-motion-pictures were female.

Females make up about 16% of characters in animated movies for kids.

Ending your little YouTube video with a quote from Rapunzel about how she never breaks a promise is sweet. But allowing Rapunzel to headline her own movie– instead of switching it “Tangled” because you didn’t want a girl’s name in the title— would’ve been much sweeter. As long as Disney keeps pumping out movies that star males while girls go missing, all the 2 minute YouTube videos in the world aren’t going to be empowering.

I hope the public doesn’t buy this patronizing attempt at PR.

18 thoughts on “Disney throws girls a bone in YouTube video

  1. Disney World is a great mix of things for males and female children.
    You are very ignorant and I feel sorry for your child because Disney is MAJORITY female leads Snow White,Cinderella,Sleeping Beauty,Beauty and the Beast,Brave,The Little Mermaid,Tangled etc and even films with male leads have strong female supporting characters.
    Also why don’t you mention disney SHOWS hmm because every single show on Disney is a female lead
    Shake it Up,Jessie,Austin&ALLY (equal share of lead),A.N.T Farm,Dog with a Blog etc.

    If you had a little boy I bet he would feel awful because according to you,EVERYTHING MUST BE GIRLY OR OBVIOUSLY IT IS SEXIST DISNEY MUST BE FLUFFY AND PINK OR NOTHING AT ALL.

  2. I mean, nobody ever tells boys to be kind. Rather, they tell boys that they need to be heroic and strong or they will become “sissies”. Come on, this is the 21st century, and nothing has really changed since last century. The problem is, after you get rid of old gender stereotypes, new ones just start appearing. What’s worse, sexism is so ingrained in this society that people don’t even sense that something is VERY wrong. They think this is all okay, like they are all brainwashed by patriarchalism. Being female in a patriarchal society just sucks. (BTW, I live in Singapore in South-East Asia and I am a 12-year-old girl.)

  3. I agree too! There’s too much of that kindness thing going on, it irks me. This video is reinforcing gender stereotypes on girls, how girls should be “kind” and “compassionate”. Having a sense of justice and bravery is way better than just being “kind”.

  4. My kids & I saw this over the weekend when waiting to see Nemo 3D. My 9 year old daughter immediately asked me, “What’d you think about that, Mom?” She knows how I feel about princesses (she also never went through a Princess phase). She was smart enough to figure out that it was supposed to make non-Princess people like Princesses more (Look! Girls of many races! Who are phsyically strong! Who are empowered!). I told her the video was nice, but I’d rather that Disney did a better job in their actual movies with girls. That made sense to her — I hope Disney knows it’s not not just the parents who can see through the P.R.

  5. “I am a princess”? This just reaffirms the notion that girls and women are defined by what they ARE (in particular in a patriarchal context), rather than by what they DO. Sure, they list a whole bunch of character traits, but at its most basic a princess is usually the daughter of the king, so by calling girls “princesses” Disney reinforces their value on the basis of external factors.

    It also irks me that one of the characteristics is “I try to be kind”. Being “kind” or “nice” or “gentle” has been used for centuries to keep women from speaking their minds, defending themselves, or simply looking after their own wellbeing. They probably weren’t thinking about that when they put it in, but that’s the problem, isn’t it? They wouldn’t make a video about boys entitled “I am a prince” with one of the character traits being “kind”. In fact, besides bravery and standing up for oneself/others, I don’t think anything, even the title, would pass muster as an “inspirational” film for boys. I mean, come on, “family is the most important thing”? It is for some people, but that’s hardly a defining trait of being female (if trying to find one weren’t an exercise in futility).

    Quite apart from the underrepresentation of female characters that you noted in your post, this video just serves to reinforce stereotypes about what girls “should” be.

      • I agree that certain traits are part of the princess brand that aren’t marketed towards boys in the same way. But I think most children’s narratives share a lot of these stories about kindness, generosity, family, understanding, loyalty, etc. Yes, it’s a company trying to market their films. But I don’t think we should discount the message that being a good person is somehow less important than doing “grand” things. It’s just that there needs to be a balance. They showed girls engaging in a lot of different pursuits but it wasn’t really integrated into the message as much as it could have been.

        I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree with the idea that there’s something wrong with the girl this video is trying to present.

          • I agree. I’m not happy that the move away from princess movies might be a move about from roles for women in Disney properties. Though I do agree with whoever commented above that at least from what I can see, girls are fairly well represented in their tv programs.

            I guess I just feel like in films with male protagonists, it’s more likely for them to indulge in bad behavior and the movie excuses it because they save the day or because it’s part of their charm or doesn’t accept it, but doesn’t punish them either. I think girls should be encouraged to follow their interests and take action but boys should also be encouraged to be well-rounded, kind, contributing members of society. The entire focus of a male protagonist movie can be learning to be understanding or learning the importance of friendship, etc. While princesses are already kind. But that’s not valued the same way.

  6. This commercial is actually somewhat funny. All the qualities have to do with relationships. Intelligence, fighting for what you believe, perseverance, determination don’t get a mention. And it’s just so obvious how they superimpose the “I have such and such qualities” with scenes from their movies, as if they were the ones to impart them. And how many of these princesses reafirm their princess = awesome identity by doing awesome stuff wearing tiaras. It could only be more blatant if they have put neon signs beside them saying: “and you can buy these at any store”.

    • The whole reason they made this is so you would say that. It is not great. It was created so Disney can say it cares about girls when it drastically underrepresents them in its movies.

  7. The most meaningful read (for me) is Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.’s book, Women Who Run With The Wolves.__Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. I picked it up because of one review in particular from The Washington Post Book World: “A deeply spiritual book . . .She honors what is tough, smart, and untamed in women. She venerates the female soul.” That was in 1995 and to this day it is my guide, with passages marked and re-read, re-absorbed over and over again.Disney Princess will end up in the dust-bin of history as this new century unfolds. Woman as tough & smart will replace princess consciousness.

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