Friday, March 03, 2006
Needed: Magical Kingdom antidote
This is it. I am done. Disney has gone too far. And, I am declaring war. I have been quietly disgusted at the Disney Princess craze, hoping that its marketability would die down, or become passe after being overhyped. But now I am horrified. Disney has announced that in early April it will open the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Here's a short description:
"The boutique is to open in April at a Downtown Disney store and will include 10 chairs where girls can get fancy up-dos or hair extensions. With Kiddie spa treatments increasingly popular here, Disney currently offers kid primping including "my first facial" and "my first pedicure," and we hear that the highest-end package will include the works - hair, make-up, nails, a princess gown and a glam photo - and will probably be around $100. But, for your Princess that's not a lot of Mickey dollars!"
I had no idea that kiddie spa treatments existed much less that they were growing in popularity. What, do kids need a break from all the stress of pretend play? No, they need a break from the non-stop din of Disney programming on digital TV!, marketing at Wal-Mart and lifestyle invasion.
My objection is not to princesses and fairy tales per se. Pretend play is great. It helps children sort out their emotional and social roles. But Disney has taken all of the pretend out of the play. It prescribes the scenarios; it sanctions the props. Why does the princess have to be Sleeping Beauty? Why can't she be Princess Joanie? Why can't she be a royal wizard, chief architect or court composer? And, whatever happend to making a princess robe out of an old towel, a crown out of construction paper? And, while we are at it, where are the boys???? Is there a black Cinderella?
I am generally pretty laissez-faire. I don't believe in protecting children from every unpleasantry of modern life. I just need an alternative. And I need it to have the reach and capital backing of Disney.
Oprah...Are you out there? We need to talk!
(Look I realize that I am being incredibly simplistic in this rant, but what do you expect? It's a blog! If you want to have an intelligent conversation about sociology, child psychology and economics, I welcome your comments. If you have any resources for a mother desperate to give a daughter positive images and experiences, please share.)