Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Wanna Be a Princess When I Grow Up

Now we know she was really waiting for an
awesome piece of real estate.
Disney has issued a very exciting press release!

Disney will officially welcome Rapunzel as the 10th Disney Princess character at a high profile, star-studded celebration, to take place in front of a global audience on October 2, 2011. Little princesses from across the globe will watch Rapunzel be welcomed into the Disney Princess royal court by Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Snow White and Tiana." 

I am super stoked about this. I absolutely adored Tangled. I saw it twice in the theater and bought the Blu-ray the day it came out. Everything about it from the artwork to the performances to the story to the music is a great balance of classic Disney and modern sensibilities. 

What fascinates me about this press release is that I had no idea that being a Disney Princess was such a formal affair, involving a ceremony, in this case at Kensington Palace.

I just love that crooked lil' smile.
“'Once Rapunzel becomes an official member of the Disney Princess court, she will be celebrated and recognized as such across Disney, and will be included in all Disney Princess products featuring multiple characters, in addition to her own merchandise line. Plus, across all Disney Parks, Rapunzel will for the first time wear her royal tiara, stolen from the kingdom by Flynn Rider in the Tangled.' said Mary Beech, vice president of girls franchise development and marketing at Disney Consumer Products."

First off, being VP of girls franchise development for Disney could possibly be the coolest job in the world. Also, I had no idea that Rapunzel wasn't actually a princess yet! I assumed since we see her get crowned in the movie that all is set, but apparently not. 

I've spent all of this time assuming that the collective Disney Princesses were something that simply emerged from our collective consciousness, acknowledging who becomes part of the canon through sheer force of psychic will. But, unsurprisingly, it's all part of a clever marketing machine. It's kind of amazing that they are able to give us the feeling of ownership over the idea of who is a Princess while carefully sculpting an exacting plan for all of it.

The Disney Princesses hold a special place in my heart, as they do in the hearts of most gays and gals out there. When the princess resurgence began with Ariel, I was starting to outgrow watching cartoons and trying to find my place in life. If I had continued obsessing over princesses at that point, I dread where that place would have been. Middle school is scary. And it's certainly not a somewhere you want to fall too far outside of the norm in.

That's right you should give Alice a noogie. She's
not officially a princess. Silly rabbit.
When I was in kindergarten and we went around the room telling the class what we wanted to be when we grew up. There were firemen and cops and vets and teacher. We get to Little Anthony and what does he say? "I want to be a girl when I grow up." Ugh. Bad move. I never lived it down, though I did learn to laugh it off, and now I wear the story as a badge of pride. I know I didn't actually want to be a girl, but in a lot of ways I think what I wanted to be was a Disney Princess. Fiercely independent, smart, kind, inquisitive, romantic, and emotional with fantastic vocal chops. 

I think that these should be things that any child, boy or girl, should aspire to unashamedly. I still aspire to find these qualities within myself. Though some of the earlier princesses (mostly meaning Snow White and Aurora- sorry, ladies) are lovely ciphers, the rest are real role models. Especially now with the princesses looking like a very ornately dressed Benetton ad, there is one for every child to connect with. 

This is all reminding me of one of my favorite blogs, Raising My Rainbow, which the author describes as her "adventures in raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son." Her little boy C.J. remind me of myself at his age. Back when I was still called A.J. He is all about girly things and princesses. If the entry about his birthday in Disneyland doesn't make you weep, I will have to assume that you have no soul. If you haven't read this blog, get thee there now! You will laugh until you snort and cry until you, well, snort. And you'll be glad you did. Did you go read it? Bookmark it for later at least? Good. Now watch this video, cuz it's brilliant. I know, I know. I'm a tad bossy. But it's for your own good!

See? Totally worth watching, huh? So who, you may ask, is my favorite Princess? Belle. Easily. Beauty and the Beast will always be very special to me. To me, in many ways, it is the pinnacle of hand drawn animation and Belle is the most dimensional princess of them all. But Tiana and Rapunzel have come along and snatched second and third with Ariel at fourth, followed by Mulan, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Jasmine, Aurora, and then Snow White. As you can see, I've thought this through thoroughly. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Which Disney Princess did you want to be when you were twirling around in your room back in the day? (OK, OK. Admit it. Sometimes we still twirl around and pretend we're princesses.) How did she steal your heart?  


  1. For me it's a tie between Pocahontas and Mulan, though technically neither of them are REALLY princesses... And Mulan probably wins over Pocahontas by a little just because of her whole Yentl schtick. Gotta love it. And Pocahontas is just awesome and I love her angular features and the fact that she can basically turn into a leopard when she's stalking someone behind shrubbery. Both girls have awesome voices, too... Ming Na! Lia Salonga! Judy Kuhn! So good.

  2. Belle is feisty and does love a good book, but i have to put her second.
    My number one has to be Cinderella. She is so sweet and kind to everyone even those mean to her, makes adorable outfits for rodents, falls in love with the guy not knowing he's the prince which is a dream we all have and she loves a good pair of shoes.
    not to mention a dream is a wish your heart makes is classic disney song writing and still speaks to me and so many people.
    Pure fairy tale magic.

  3. I'm curious. Do you think Disney could be more inclusive towards boys when it comes to the princess stuff? These days they call all little girls (and sometimes big girls) princess. It makes me sad for the little boys who wish to be a princess as well. Although my guess is that if a boy has a parent kind enough to let him wear a princess dress, most Disney staff will be kind enough to refer the boy as a princess.