Princessization, and Avengers, assemble!

This is a bit old news at this point, but from April 22-28, Target, Disney and Julie Andrews teamed up to celebrate “National Princess Week. Here’s an LA Times story on it; basically, it was an opportunity for Disney to shill princess merchandise at Target, including the two “Princess Diaries” movies on BluRay — which Andrews was in.

Of course, that led to a bunch of stuff like this, all over the Internet about how this was terrible for girls, and shame on Disney for continuing to shill these horrible role models, shame on Target for continuing to promote and profit itself from all these horrible role models, and Andrews should feel bad for taking part in pushing this horrible anti-feminist princess agenda, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

I have three daughters, and I’m not a huge fan of princessization either. But, none of the princessization is the fault of Julie Andrews, or Target, or even Disney. None of it. Julie Andrews is taking money to be a spokesperson; people do that all the time. Good for you, Julie. Target and Disney are massive corporations that exist to make massive amounts of profit for their shareholders. This isn’t their fault either, and people trying to attack them over it are completely misguided.

Princessization exists because there are legions of people buying this merchandise, and because parents aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing and making sure they’re exposing their daughters to more than one thing. Megan was totally into princesses, but also was totally into Powerpuff Girls. Helen’s totally into princesses, but she also loves Transformers and has been marking out over the thought of going to see Avengers for more than a month. Millie loves princesses, but she prefers to watch a cartoon called Ruby Gloom that features a character called Skull Boy.

They like lots of different things because they’re exposed — intentionally — to lots of different things. And when Helen decides that what she really wants from a garage sale box is a toy from the “Aliens” movies, I buy it for her. Is it something she treasures always and forever? No. But it was a quarter, and for a couple of hours she thought it was awesome — so it was well worth the quarter. And in the grander scheme of things, she spent a couple of hours exploring what she wanted to explore — and didn’t have me slapping her down with “no, that’s for boys. How about this nice crown?”

Princessization isn’t Target’s fault, or Disney’s fault, or Julie Andrews’ fault. It’s the fault of parents who princessize their daughters.

What I’m Watching
In one hour and 40 minutes, I will be watching The Avengers. I’m so pumped. That is all.

What I’m Reading
I started the A Game of Thrones graphic novel tonight; read George R.R. Martin’s intro, didn’t get into the actual comic yet. I’ll read it tomorrow.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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