Princesszilla

15 Nov

There’s a new villain in the Disney world.  He’s not ugly or vicious, at least judging by appearance; he’s not out to destroy anyone in particular and perhaps most importantly, he’s not a he – he’s a she.  She doesn’t appear in films, video games or television shows.  She’s real.  Yes, a real life villain.  Her name: Princesszilla.  The name sounds evil, but for Disney, she’s a “a dream come true.”

Similar to the question of, “When did Disney become Disney?” we can also ask, “when did the princesses become the princesses?”  Belle and Snow White and the rest of the crew have been around for decades, but it wasn’t until 2000 when the new chairman of consumer goods noticed the popularity of the princesses at a “Disney on Ice” show that he suggested marketing the princesses as a package.  The marketing began with a target audience of young girls and tweens, bombarding them with princess-group DVDs, books and other paraphernalia.  Slowly the market changed as older women became more interested and some might say, obsessed, with Disney princesses.  Ramin Setoodeh and Jennie Yabroff talk about Lindsey Timberman in their article, “Princess Power,” a bride whose wedding is taking on an entirely Disney princess theme (1).  The only problem: her fiancé is not nearly as excited as she is.  Her dress, modeled after Belle’s in “Beauty and the Beast,” is set to match the red roses (you might remember the red rose in the movie and the Beast’s quest to find love and be loved in return before the last petal fell, leaving him a beast forever), and Lindsey’s search continues for glass slippers.  Lindsey is not 8 years old, she’s 29.  And she’s still obsessed with the princesses and having a truly fairy tale wedding.  Perhaps her fiancé rescued her from a burning bridge or a giant castle, hence the inspiration.  But probably not.  Lindsey has clearly fallen for the mystical world of Disney princesses and the fun doesn’t have to stop at her wedding.  Sleepwear and houseware are next on the list for Disney’s expansion to appeal to an older demographic.

Disney is well aware of the success and potential for the princess campaign.  How could they not be when, “Princess is a $4 billion business that’s on its way to becoming the most successful marketing venture ever” (1)?

Hooking one consumer at a time (2)

While some parents are worried about the effects of Disney’s messages on their kids (gendered messages, racial stereotypes, the girl needing to be rescued, etc.), for some women the messages might never stop if their infatuation with the Disney empire never stops.  Many Disney fans outgrow the obsession in their teens, but if the obsession never stops, the messages are perpetuated throughout their lives, and their parents probably won’t be there to help block some of those messages.  At that point the children are no longer children, and they are responsible for seeing and interpreting messages.  And, if Disney-obsessed adults start having kids, what will the effect be on their children?  The amount of Disney in their children’s lives will probably increase tenfold, and their bedrooms might end up looking like this:

(3)

So these “Princesszilla’s,” an evil combination of bridezilla and princess, will continue to impose their Disney righteousness on others until they teach their children to do the same.  Although, the princess lifestyle doesn’t seem as glamorous when you look at it this way:

Is this what they're really trying to tell us? (4)

(1) Setoodeh, R., & Yabroff, J. (2007). Princess Power. Newsweek150(22), 66-67. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database.

(2) Cliff1066. (2008, December 19). Look Mickey, 1961, oil on canvas by Roy Lichtenstein. Image posted to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/3137425672/
(3) Orlando vacation home rental. Image posted to http://www.squidoo.com/orlandovacationhomerental
(4) Jardin, X. (2010, May 24). What Disney princesses teach girls. Image posted to http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/24/what-disney-princess.html
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One Response to “Princesszilla”

  1. ljcosta November 23, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Looks like we did read them same article on the “zillas.” You made a really interesting point about adults still being obsessed with the princesses, and their future children. It is scary how effective Disney’s marketing strategies are that they can effect females from the ages of 1-101. I have to admit, when I first took a look at those new princess wedding gowns there was a part of me that wanted one SO badly. So I definitely think there are two sides to this- one where Disney can own the mind of a female from a young age through her tweens and adult years following, and one where Disney is able to re-grasp the minds of adult females who once loved princesses as a child, through new commodities and marketing strategies. I would definitely fall under the latter.

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