Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Life among the 3-year-old Disney Princesses
HALLIE EPHRON: As the grandmother of a three-year-old I am acutely aware of the Princesses phenomenon as it applies to little girls. Our Franny Lou is obsessed with princesses. Belle is her favorite. (Belle nightgown. Belle big girl panties...) She sings all of "Let It Go" from Frozen at the top of her lungs and at every opportunity.
Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, she loves them all and carries around little action figures which, heaven help me, I bought for her. Last week there was a piece in our local paper about Princess birthday parties. The MOTHERS dress up as princesses, too. Speaking for myself, this is a bridge too far. I will not dress up as anyone's fairy godmother.
Were you besotted with Disney princesses when you were little, and what do you make of this--beyond it being a spectacularly successful merchandising effort? And is it a step back for women's lib or just another wrinkle on the way to liberation?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I would love, LOVE, to hear Franny Lou sing Let It Go. I am obsessed with hearing little kids sing it--it is SO hilarious.
Disney princesses. Ah, gee. When I was growing up, there might have been Cinderella. Which, thinking back, turned out well, and you know, thinking about it even more, I used to complain, when I had to do chores, that I WAS Cinderella. But I didn't see that as romantic or desirable.
Snow White? Yeesh. Sleeping Beauty? Well, these days, I love sleep, so maybe so. And sometimes my garden, like hers, is out of control. And I must confess, I used to threaten my mother with what would happen when my REAL parents--royalty--came to get me. She would suggest I make my bed in the meantime.
I think, these days, a Disney princess is a different deal. And I do wonder what their point is. I could make a remark about Ivanka, who is a lovely young woman, and a story in herself, and Chelsea, ditto, but I won't. And, in other news. look how perfectly Sasha and Malia have turned out.
RHYS BOWEN: When I was little I played at princesses all the time. I would have loved all the Disney stuff, action figures, castle and dresses. But alas I was pre Disney marketing. I had to make do with an old curtain draped around me and the arm chair as my coach. And my great aunt to be my faithful servant/old woman gathering sticks/wicked queen depending on the game.
Of course all little girls love to dress up and that longing stays with us. We wear prom dresses. We read about Will and Kate.
My granddaughters are now past the princess stage but it was awfully adorable to see them swirling and curtsying and singing all the songs. Now it's Lulu Lemon and Raybans!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I only saw the first generation Disneys. Snow White (Yuck! Creepy! All those little men gave me nightmares,) Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. But I never wanted to be any of those princesses.
My cousin and I played with action figures from Gunsmoke. And of course I had every toy horse ever made, and they had great adventures, so it wasn't as if we were lacking in imagination... Kayti says the only Disney movie she remembers loving is Robin Hood. My poor kid grew up on PBS documentaries!
I've never even seen Frozen! Maybe I'll get to watch all these things with Wren. But...I'm not sure how keen I am on the whole Disney princess thing. Just call me #TotallyOutOfIt.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I loved princesses back in the day and was delighted when Disney introduced Belle when I was about 22 — a brown-eyed brunette who loved to read!
Got to go through it all again with Kiddo, who loved the princesses — until he didn't — but I still think he secretly likes them and the movies, too. We also went through Mulan, Tangled, Alladin, et al — it's a whole new princess world now.. Now we have Elsa and Anna from Frozen. Loved Frozen and am proud to be friends with Kristin Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez. Kiddo used to play with their daughters and I even wrote part of MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY in their kitchen. (Noel knows them from Avenue Q days.) I loved the fact that "true love's kiss" could be from sisters, not just a man/woman romantic situation....
Plus, you know, Idina Menzel tearing it up.
Did anyone catch the new Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh? Gorgeous and Kate Blanchette was truly chilling as the stepmother. And of course now there's the film version of Into the Woods — those Sondheim lyrics provide so much food for thought about what happens _after_ "happily ever after."
Oh, and we're also fans of ABC's "Once Upon a Time" — which is a whole fairytale mashup that turns the tales we all grew up with on their head and can be quite clever. We all love watching it together as a family on Sunday nights.
HALLIE: This is bringing back memories of watching the first Disney movies, having a Disney Cinderella picture book that had glitter in it, and it is pretty great that the girls in Disney movies have evolved into strong characters who have opinions and talk back. Still waiting for one that's not skinny and beautiful.
Today's question: Have princesses invaded your life, and if so have you surrendered and welcomed them in?