I’ve mentioned before our family’s distaste for Disney, but allow me to briefly elaborate.
Specific to the realm of raising two impressionable young girls, we—when I say “we” in this regard, people may assume that I mean “my wife,” and while she does spearhead this line of thinking, I honestly couldn’t agree more—feel that Disney, generally, too heavily markets the princess aesthetic to girls. Realizing the fantasy life is omnipresent during childhood, we’d prefer our girls be less influenced by a non-working, male-reliant position within a fundamentally un-American monarchy whose “job” is to, essentially, look pretty, than, say, virtually anyone or anything else (sans Katy Perry, of course). I mean, even Dora explores and is bilingual.
However, over the course of the past year or so, our stance on Disney has ever so slightly—gasp—softened. This is a result of equal parts our sheer inability to escape its wide-reaching entertainment net and, more specifically, Frozen. Though it touts not one but two princesses, its overriding theme is the love between sisters. That combined with its lack of bare midriffs and the color pink made it more palatable.
As if we had a choice anyway. Our girls are two of millions upon millions obsessed with the film. So, when my wife saw a post on Pinterest marketing the fact that, if your child writes a letter to a specific Disney character, Disney will send your child back a signed photo from that character, she jumped at the chance.
The timing was perfect. Our oldest, enamored with Elsa, is forever eager to practice her writing, and that very week at school she was learning how to write letters. My wife sat down with her and helped her pen a letter to her favorite ice queen:
“Dear Elsa, I love you. How is your ice castle? Please say hi to Anna and Olaf. (sporadic pictures of Elsa, hearts, and, I don’t know what that is … a shark?)”
It’s entirely possible that, without compromising our ideals, our stance on Disney could have softened to mush had we received what was promised. No doubt my wife and I were more excited than our daughter to hear back; our daughters’ joys are our joys times two, and besides – they cannot see their own faces.
Welp, last week we received something back. It was a postcard featuring every Disney princess ever—the gentrified African-American and Middle-Eastern princesses stand out like a sore thumb amidst the sea of Caucasianness, as if Disney were unwittingly bound by Affirmative Princess Action (recall this is the same company that introduced this character as "Latina")—sans, of course, for Anna and Elsa, on the front. On the back is the well-thought out note, “May all your dreams come true,” signed by “Cinderella and my royal friends.”
Thanks for the meaningless cliché, Cinderella, but our DREAM WAS TO HEAR FROM ELSA, YOU WITCH. NO WONDER YOUR SISTERS HATED YOU.
We haven’t even told our daughter yet that anything has arrived in the mail for her because we’re not sure what to say. “Honey, I’m sorry, but the multi-kajillion-dollar corporation you wrote to couldn’t afford to mail you back a generic 4X6 photo with a stamped signature. But remember Cinderella? That movie we won’t let you watch because of its misguided ideals and because Cinderella is the worst? She sends vague well wishes.”
She will cry, but I will promise her that she can and should help forcefully release Disney’s chokehold on capitalist America by one day running for princess oops I mean senator.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we’re back to despising Disney WITH MORE FERVOR THAN EVER. Won’t you join us? It is fun.
Note: This column appears in the 7/24 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/25 issue of the Peoria Times.