Let's Celebrate The Redefinition Of The Princess
Anyone who has read ‘The Princess and The Pea’, may have been horrified by the assertion that ‘nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin;’ and the story about judging a princess based on her sensitivity.
It’s not that we want to lose children’s adoration of princesses necessarily; I certainly know a 3-year-old who would be devastated by this. But there are a growing number of alternative stories, films, and fairytales out there, which prove that girls can do anything they set their minds to; whether they choose to do it in a sparkly pink dress or not.
In recent years, the Disney Princess has moved away from the meek Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, to recent films such as Brave, Frozen, and Moana (in which the demi-god Maui defines it as: “If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”) Princesses no longer need to be rescued by a prince to feel complete; and even they do find one, there are still plenty of adventures to be had along the way.
To further this, Disney have launched the #DreamBigPrincess campaign, asking 19 female photographers in 15 countries, to photograph inspiring women who live in the real world, rather than Disneyland: Essentially, a modern-day Disney Princess. These include Park Rangers in Kenya, Paralympic Athletes in China, the first Female Cycling team in Afghanistan, and a girls football team in the USA. It shows girls coding, surfing, playing in the mud, and working as environmental activists.
One of the photographers who participated in the project: Kate Parker (author of 'Strong is the New Pretty') loved the idea from the outset: “Like most kids, my daughters grew up having a lot of exposure to Disney, and Disney princesses,” she explained. “So I wanted to find a way to combine an element of empowering princess, and real girls.” She photographed her youngest daughter, Alice (age 9) and her soccer teammates for the campaign; dressed in Disney princess costumes while riding bicycles, getting muddy, and kicking a ball. “A lot of girls feel like you have to either be a tomboy or a girly girl who dresses up,” Parker said. “But Alice likes both things. I wanted her to know that that’s okay, and you can be anything you want to be.”
Even better, any time one of these images is shared using the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess, or liked on social media; Disney will donate $1 to the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, which promotes leadership and empowerment in young women. (And this includes all the great photos you might like to share, as well as the official shots!) The goal is to raise $1 million for the foundation before October 11 2017, when the photo campaign officially ends.
Meanwhile, Disney's 3 year partnership with the Football Association in the UK has caused some debate as to whether we need the concept of princesses at all? But if small children (and I’m not just suggesting it’s only little girls) still adore them, then surely any transformation of princesses is a good thing: You can be a princess if you want; and you can play sport, make things, code, or do experiments at the same time!
So what do you think? Do you think we need to steer our little ones away from Princesses? Celebrate the kick-ass new definition of princesses in the modern world? Or should we stop redefining tradition? We'd love to hear.
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