Living in a Pantone pink No. 241 world

Pantone pink No. 241…it’s the official shade of pink that Disney uses in their massively popular Princess line. And we seem to be awash in it these days with The Girl.

Christmas and birthday this year brought with it a slew of pink Princess branded products. To be fair, there was also some lavender, but for the most part The Girl’s playroom resembles the inside of a Pepto Bismal bottle. We are surrounded by Princesses.

It worries me, this Princess thing. Not that The Girl is obsessed with them, but she is being inundated by them. As Peggy Orenstein points out in her excellent New York Times article “What’s Wrong With Cinderella”:

Aren’t the Princesses, who are interested only in clothes, jewelry and cadging the handsome prince, somewhat retrograde role models?

Heck, even Dora has gone the Princess route, a move that the Packaging Girlhood website called one of the “Worst Marketing Campaigns of 2006”.

Maybe I am making too big a deal out of the Princess phenomenon. Maybe sometimes a Princess is just a Princess? After all, as Orenstein’s article points out, kids don’t establish their gender identity until they are 6 or 7 years old. Up until that point, they still think they can choose whether they want to be a boy or a girl, so the distinction of whether the Prince or the Princess is in a position of power is completely lost on them. When girls dress up as a Princess, they still believe that the next day they can be the Prince.

Last night while The Girl was dressed up in her sparkly pink Princess outfit, she dug out her play tools and helped me hang some new banisters, proudly announcing that she wanted to be a construction worker when she grows up in addition to a belly dancer. So, maybe it’s not that bad. After all, with the success of the Princess line by Disney, a new, more menacing threat seems to be hovering on the horizon – Disney’s Dark Tink.

According to Strategic Name Development, the Disney folks are getting ready to sauce up a childhood icon: Tinker Bell.

“The Tinker Bell brand name is meant to be the logical next step to the Princesses: once the girl has outgrown Cinderella, she can move towards this newly revamped, much naughtier brand name.

Already Disney sells merchandise at its theme parks, like t-shirts that say “Spoiled to Perfection” and magnets and light switch plates reading “Dark Tink: the bad girl side of Miss Bell that Walt never saw.”

Sad to think that an icon like Tinker Bell is getting the “bad girl” makeover. I always saw Tinker Bell as a positive role model. I mean, she has real spunk: resourceful, courageous and loyal. And she not only plays with the boys, but she beats them at their own game. Talk about girl power. Too bad she’s about to get a life lesson that the only real power she has is in her svelte figure and pouty demeanor.

Quick, someone please find me the fairy equivalent to The Paper Bag Princess.

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