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.)


Anonymous said... alternative... where for a mere $100 (the same price as a kiddie spa treatment at Disney World) I will take the kids mountain biking, mountain climbing, skiing and at the end of the day we will hike down the gorge where we will soak naked in a natural hot spring by the side of the Rio Grande river. Out in Taos, we strongly encourage princesses to fart loudly (better an empty house then a bad tenant) or to burp loudly and to wipe the snot off their noses with their coat sleeves while hiking or skiing. A real princess is a top of her kingdom when she is standing on top of the mountain! And to end the day, often while watching the sunsets from my porch I do feel like a princess.

Anonymous said...

And then again my first thought on reading your blog was -- but wait - I love it when I get to feel like a princess - what is feeling like a princess -- is it the feeling of being the belle of the ball or is it the feeling of being nurtured or is it the feeling of being the pettiest in the room - or is it the feeling of being the center of the conversation???????????? I like the feeling nurtured part - the rest I am not too comfortable with.