Disney Redefining Princesses

Disney's new ad says princesses don't just look like this anymore.

Disney’s new ad says princesses don’t just look like this anymore.

Disney’s gotten a lot of criticism, from me and from plenty of others, for its dedication to princesses.  But today I’m here to give Disney some serious kudos for its latest Princess-related ad.  You can watch the clip on YouTube.

It’s just awesome.  If you’re not able to watch it at the moment, the ad features a variety of girls, from all ages, races, and backgrounds, and the voice over repeats that “I’m a princess.”  But in between saying that, the narration says other fantastic things as well, such as “it’s important to stand up for myself.  It’s more important to stand up for others.  It’s most important to stand up with others.”

While the narrator relays that and other such gems as “I am brave sometimes.  I am scared sometimes.  Sometimes, I am brave even when I am scared,” the girls on screen participate in a variety of activities.  Many of them do involve dressing up as famous Disney princesses – my favorite has to be the little girl in Belle’s ball gown being twirled around the living room by her father – but they do many other things as well. This includes working on science projects, fixing up model cars, practicing archery and horseback riding, planting trees, swimming with friends, reading, playing in a rock band, and so much more.

I’m not entirely sure what Disney’s trying to achieve with this ad.  Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I always expect Disney to be selling something in their ads, and it’s not clear what they’re selling.  It’s just PR for the company, and a further push for the Princess brand, but I honestly can’t complain.

If they’re going to keep up with the Princess idea (and honestly it feels like they’re looking to create their own definition of the word at this point) this is absolutely the way to do it.  It’s empowering girls to be whomever they want to be, however they want to be it.  It’s teaching them, most of whom watching are at a developmental stage, how tricky and flawed and messy the process of growing up, or of just being human, can be, but of how that’s just fine.  Its only included quote from a Disney Princess – Rapunzel – is “I promise.  And when I promise something, I never, ever, break that promise.”  It’s setting girls up with the wisdom and encouragement they’ll need to grow into healthy women.

If you need proof, consider one of the top comments on the video I found when I first saw it.  It says it’s from a 13 year old girl, and while this is the Internet and that might not necessarily be true, the power of her comment remains unchanged.  She points out that nowhere in the commercial is there a mention of a Prince Charming.  Instead, the message focuses on teaching girls to be themselves, to be strong, to respect themselves and others.

Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above.  Disney, if your Princess marketing keeps heading in this direction, I might finally have to stop critiquing you for it.  Fantastic work.

*(The above image by Denise Cross is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)

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