Today’s Found on Facebook – the princess effect

June 28, 2016

Lots of articles about it now but I’ll use the Time one I saw first:

A new study from Brigham Young University found that engaging with Disney princess culture could make young children more susceptible to gender stereotypes.

The small study, by family-life professor Sarah M. Coyne, looked at how much 198 preschoolers interacted with Disney princesses—through movies, toys and merchandise—and then assessed their behavior through reports from parents and teachers and a task in which the children were asked to rank their favorite toys among stereotypical “girl” options such as dolls, stereotypical “boy” options such as tool sets and gender-neutral options such as puzzles.

Now, from The Mic, people are pissed over the stereotypical portrayal of Maui in the new Disney movie Moana:

While Disney’s upcoming animated film Moana — in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices the boisterous Polynesian demigod Maui, who helps guide the young protagonist Moana to completing her coming-of-age quest — has been heralded for its diversity, it’s also now come under fire for what some people feel is a racist depiction of Polynesians.

Critics said Maui’s larger physique is misrepresentative to real Polynesian culture, and instead reinforces harmful stereotypes of Polynesians being obese.

Point being, it’s not just the ladies, ladies and gents. Think of Gaston. Think of Arial’s dad. Giant men, intended to be thought of as heroic and brave, if not the actual heroes of the films. Think of Belle’s dad. Think of Jasmine’s dad. Short, squat, prone to flights of fancy and silly behaviour. Adored by their only daughters, but hard to imagine they were ever sensible enough to get the bills paid or run a country.

Back to the princess study –

The researches found that 96% of girls and 87% of boys had viewed Disney princess media, and more than 61% of girls played with princess toys at least once a week, compared to 4% of boys. For both boys and girls, engagement with Disney princesses was associated with more female gender-stereotypical behavior a year later.

A New York Times blogger goes into more detail. Part of the concern is the future effect of princess mentality affecting girls in what could be considered negative ways, versus boys benefiting from a push toward traits and abilities long thought to be best suited to women. It’s useful for a boy to know how to care for a baby or cook meals or clean house, as it were.

The overall takeaway from this study has more to do with encouraging parents and guardians to be less passive about what kids are interested in. If a girl likes Belle, perhaps emphasize the intelligence and love of learning she has and the bravery and family love she shows. She’s not just a pretty face with a pretty dress on.

Which reminds me of this picture:

hotdog princess

Maybe the family is a fan of Adventure Time?