We all know the effects of Disney movies on kids. When Frozen was released, we saw hordes of young girls dressed up as Anna or Elsa. Plus points for sisters who dressed up as Elsa and Anna at the same time. Even though some folks didn’t see the actual movie, almost everyone knew about the ubiquitous song, Let It Go. Every time Disney releases a new Princess movie, it’s almost sure to be a hit (and a powerful influence to boot). But the question begs to be asked: are Disney Princesses good role models?
‘Too Much’ Exposure to Disney Princesses
A lot of people know about the adverse effects of watching too much Disney Princesses. For one thing, this study says that too much screen time is bad for young children. More alarming, however, is what this study says. However, like a lot of things in life, it’s up to the parents to teach young girls. Watching Disney Princesses alone could be limiting. However, if you let your girls engage in other types of media or toys, explain your side of things, and help them understand that they can only squeeze in so much in an 80-90 minute movie, then it’s not so bad, right?
According to the above-quoted study, the long-term effects of Princess culture on girls is that they may have less interest to develop other kinds of skills. Personally, I believe that Disney Princesses are not an entirely negative influence on young girls. We now have Brave, Frozen, and Rapunzel to name a few movies with stronger female characters. And let’s not forget the greatest of them all — Mulan. She saved an entire country!
As a parent to a young kid, I know that it’s not going to be reasonable to have a ban on Disney Princesses. For one thing, it’s not possible unless you live in a remote area. Another thing: we can’t shield our kids from each and every thing that we may not like.
The Effect of Disney Princesses on Boys
Now here’s the catch. Young boys exposed to Disney culture may actually be a good thing, speculating that this is perhaps a “counteraction to the hyper-masculine culture of superhero and military media that is marketed towards boys.” If you want young boys to grow up into men who understand their female counterparts and see them less as beings from Venus and more as individuals worthy of respect, then exposure to Disney culture is not such a bad thing, right?
So as parents, don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation about the good and the bad things found in Disney Princess movies.
Here’s the main takeaway from the study on Disney Princess culture. Girls who are only exposed to Disney Princesses may place a higher importance on appearances (and looking girly) and less importance on developing math skills. For boys, the exposure to Disney Princesses had a “moderating effect and made them more helpful with classmates.”
But to quote the author of the study:
“Have princesses be one of the many, many things that they like to do and engage with.”