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.

4 responses to “Living in a Pantone pink No. 241 world

  1. we, too, are inundated with princess material. i have managed to use it to some advantage however, as a behavioral role model. when my daughter throws a tantrum, i ask her whether she is behaving like a princess or like the witch/stepmother, etc. sometimes this even causes her to stop and change her attitudde. also, when she tries to order us around and uses the reasoning that she is the princessm she shouldn’t have to do anything, we say “if you’re the princess, i’m the queen(king) not your servant. get up and get/do it yourself.” i have to admit, though, the first time she tried to pull that, i did laugh out loud.

  2. I stumbled upon your blog and while I’m not a parent, I just wanted to say i love the shout out for The Paperbag Princess. It was given to me as a child when it first came out and I have delighted in giving it to my nieces. I find it’s a great way to combat the unfortunate sexist undertones of so many disney movies.

  3. Jennifer, it’s been awhile since I wrote this post and your recent comment brought me back to it.

    My daughter and I recently watched the animated Disney version of Peter Pan for the first time and I am completely reevaluating my relationship with Tinkerbell. While I always remembered her as being a girl who could beat the boys, she really has some not nice qualities in the movie. She is jealous and petty, spiteful and shallow.

    There is a scene at the beginning of peter pan where she stands on a mirror and sees her reflection. In it, she examines her hips and the width of them in a disapproving way. That one scene right there speaks volumes about her character and the type of role model she might be to young women.

    And don’t even get me started with the mermaids!

  4. my friends daughter helped him fix the car, while wearing a fairy costume 😀

    just stumbled on this blog, I'm going to send him a link.