I know I can’t be the only mother who’s riled up about the radical transformation the Disney Princesses have gone through since most of us were children. Peggy Orenstein talks a bit about how princesses have gotten sexier over the years in her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, noting that the later additions to the Princess family like Ariel and Tiana are drawn with wider eyes – and rounder breasts – than Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, who (in their original iterations) conform to the more demure vision of femininity the American public held from 1937 to 1959. Our Rebecca noted recently that Disney’s Tinker Bell “has undergone a body revamp on par with Barbie’s,” but she’s not the only one.
Snow White and Sleeping Beauty – or Aurora, as she’s more commonly referred to now – were given a massive makeover in 2000, when the Disney Princesses were first pimped as a girl gang. A decade ago, the Princesses had already begun to look “sexier” than they ever had, but on a recent shopping trip to Target, as I buzzed quickly by the Pepto Bismol-pink aisle where the “girl toys” are sold, I noticed that the ladies have started to look downright Xtina-level drrty, not to mention just plain old weird. (Those Princess & Me 18-inch dolls, anyone?)
So I thought I’d compile for you some side by side comparisons of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and even Belle, then and now, so we can all see exactly what’s happening to our females of Disney folklore. (Botox, blow-outs and boob jobs, oh my!)
As Orenstein notes in her aforementioned book, the Princesses, especially the newest versions, are always averting their eyes, looking off to the side, the way many teenagers do in their Facebook photos these days. Of course some of the differences we see in the varying versions of the Princesses are because they’ve been drawn by different artists, but I don’t doubt that the overly pouty lips, the huge hair and the Bratz-esque eyes are a deliberate choice on the part of Disney corporate. As if the Princesses as portrayed originally weren’t bad enough, with their helpless “What? Who me?” demeanor and their squeaky voices, now we have to deal with come-hither cockeyed glances and automated toys that giggle. Gross.
Have you noticed the steady creep toward creepy the Princess toys and movies have been making? Leave examples in the comments if you have ‘em!
Raising Girls in Princess Culture: How this affects our children