Mom Edits Daughter's Disney Princess Book to Make It More 'Feminist'
I’ll admit I feel sort of protective of Disney princesses. So many parents have banned them from their homes. So many little girls are robbed of their friendship and guidance. All in the name of “feminism.” It makes me sad. Because I love them and, more importantly, because I think they’ve been unfairly maligned. So the other day, when I came across a post which accidentally illustrated how ridiculous this criticism of Disney princesses actually is, I became irrationally excited.
Danielle Lindemann is a mother and sociologist who decided to “edit” her daughter’s Disney princess book. In doing so she thought she was sending a powerful feminist message but, in fact, she was just proving my point. Lindemann, of course, was hailed as a feminist hero online when the images were first published (by a professor from, I’m ashamed to admit, my alma mater, Occidental College, named Lisa Wade on thesocietypages.org). But her misguided post is a perfect example of the flaw in the whole Disney-princesses-are-anti-feminist narrative.
Here’s what happened. According to PopSugar, Lindemann, who studies gender roles, became frustrated with her daughter’s incessant reading of her favorite book about Disney princesses, feeling that it promoted inappropriate gender stereotypes. According to Lindemann, the books are “basically teaching these little girls that their worth lies in looking nice and hooking up with the right guy.” So she took a pen and added some edits to her daughter’s book.
But, here’s the thing. None of the images (which have now been shared on multiple sites online) actually promote the ideals she says are so abhorrent. “A princess is kind,” reads a page depicting Snow White. It ought to be fairly uncontroversial to say that kindness is a positive attribute. But Lindemann’s addition, “ . . . of a badass,” implies that, rather than being kind, women must be somehow subversive in order to fit in to these new “feminist” gender roles. (Not to mention the fact that she’s adding profanity to her three-year-old’s picture book!)
“What is a princess? A princess is brave!” reads another page of the book. Um, brave sounds good, right? That doesn’t sound like the sort of passive, damsel in distress character that Lindemann and her compatriots would object to. And yet, in a speech bubble coming from Princess Jasmine’s mouth, Lindemann writes, “”My body, my choice!” What, for the love of all that is holy, has this to do with anything?! Unless, in the previous page, Aladdin was depicted as trying to impregnate Jasmine and then engaging in an earnest discussion about what to do with the unborn baby, this is a total non sequitur!