The New Campaign Where Young Girls Show Disney What A Real Princess Looks Like

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Hands up if you’re sick of seeing the same types of “princess” depictions in media, entertainment and society? Hand up if you think the over-saturation of Disney princesses are damaging our daughters’ ideals of how they imagine their futures? If your hand went up or you uttered an audible “YASSS” to both of those questions, you are not alone.

There are so many parents who are fed up of the stereotyped role models being pushed upon young girls influencing them with an unrealistic view of body image, relationships and careers. A lot of the responsibility does fall on media and entertainment conglomerates like Disney who have been the leader in pushing this princess range, coupled with the mass-marketing that happens with its accompanying merchandize. Cinderella Halloween costumes and The Little Mermaid backpacks, anyone?

To their credit, we gotta say Disney seems to be listening (somewhat) to the voice of their audience because Princess Merida from ‘Brave’ told the story of an unconventional-looking feisty redhead whose fate was supposedly going to be marrying a prince and living “happily ever after”. However in the end (spoiler alert) she decides her “happily ever after” doesn’t have to mean marriage or a suitor, and stays determined to fight dragons, rather than wear makeup and pretty clothes.

The most prominent example of the standard Disney Princess departure of course has to be ‘Frozen’ which saw the love and friendship of two sisters (spoiler alert again) being the key to overcoming the climax of the film, not the love of some prince charming. It’s a start, sure, but there is a heck of a long way to go until girls are fully realized in themselves regardless of love, or a prince, or pressure to look a certain way.

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DoSomething.org decided they want to speed this process us (we’re all for that!) and ask girls what real princesses look like to them in a new online campaign called (wait for it…) #RealPrincesses.

“The Problem: From 2007 to 2012, only 30.8% of the speaking characters in the top 500 movies were women,” says the campaign page.
“The Solution: Disney is making moves to empower their princesses (heeeey, Elsa!), and we’re all for it. Promoting self-sufficient and complex female characters leads to other similar representations of women in media. Use our template to join Disney’s promotion of strong female characters on screen: create new, empowered princesses with unique traits and goals (that don’t include finding a Prince Charming).”When you sign up on their page, you will be sent a template do draw your princess on, as well as a fact sheet on sexism in the media.

Taking a look at some of the depictions already sent it, we’re looking at a possible princess line up that we can get behind and which we hope will change the attributes most commonly associated with the word.

“Female fictional characters are rarely portrayed as smart, strong and empowered, especially compared to male characters,” Sarah Piper-Goldberg, campaigns engagement manager at DoSomething.org, told news website .Mic.

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“This lack of representation leaves young girls with few powerful role models to look up to or identify with in the media. Real Princess gives our members an outlet to redefine female characters with their own creativity and relevant, personal experiences.”

It’s this notion of representation that is the fuel behind the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who regularly share research and info on how an image in a movie, a TV series or even a cartoon can have a powerful effect on a child’s ability to know what they are capable of doing, based on gender.

In a speech for the United Nations, Geena herself said that the message the children were getting through entertainment media was of “hyper-sexualized” female characters judged by their appearance, and also the message that women and girls are second class citizens. But attacking this bias is easier when they are young.

“We don’t have to fix the unconscious bias they are raised with later on. We can fix it from the very beginning,” she said.

Mercy Academy girls school in Kentucky is firmly in agreement with the idea that society needs to do away with the idealized princess imagery, as they launched their ‘You Are Not A Princess’ campaign at the start of enrollment to ensure that girls who attend know they are going to be taught about science, engineering, creativity, problem solving, music, art, friendship, communication and all the other real life skills that everyone needs.

While we can’t just blame Disney for the creative decisions they have made in order to make a buck, we can choose to create solutions that will change the attitudes and behavior of the next generation.

“By creating their own Real Princesses, we hope to get our members thinking about the kinds of representation they’d love to see in books, TV and movies. We hope they continue talking about this (and fighting for it). These princesses are the kind so many girls across the country want. Why can’t we have them?” concluded DoSomething.org’s Sarah Piper-Goldberg.

Check out the football playing, robot-building, court-room dominating, skateboard-riding images that have been submitted to the Real Princess campaign so far.

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do-something-real-princess-campaign

do-something-real-princess-campaign

do-something-real-princess-campaign

 

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