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Fuck Disney

The place where Mia and I do our Mommy and Me class has entered into a deal with the devil marketing scheme with Disney to promote an upcoming stupid-ass princess movie. (And yes, I am certain that if you wanted to you could get to googling and figure out what the movie is and what the company doing the promotion is and narrow down the location of our mommy and me class to one of the 20 or so in the area and further determine the ten classes each week in each location appropriate to Mia's age group, so if you are a lunatic stalker with lots of time on your hands, you get right on that.) The deal is that some member of the mommy and me classes will win a trip to the premiere in Orlando. Whatever, I don't want to go, but you might, so knock yourself out. For the last couple of weeks, they just mentioned it at the end of class. You know, what it is, how to enter, blah blah blah, ok fine.

Then, over the weekend, they redecorated the building with all this princess crap. And they told us to bring our little girls to class wearing princess costumes. And they played a literal advertisement for the movie as we were going into the building. And they changed all their regular music for new stuff based on the plot of the movie and other all-Disney, all-the-time crap.

The thing is, I get plenty of Disney advertising without paying several hundred dollars a session for the privilege. And I think princesses are damned poor role models for little girls (hike up your tits, wear a pretty dress, and wait for some man to rescue you? hell no) and greatly resent the fact that these people are now encouraging my daughter to be a princess.

And I would quit, in a heartbeat, because this sort of this drives me insane, this marketing to children that we cannot escape but that I ought to at least be able to avoid when I pay to join an unaffiliated organization, but Mia loves this class. She talks about it all week, I can't take her out. So what do I do? Chill? (Ha, let's remember who we are talking about here.) Complain? Try to get the like-minded mommies to stage a coup? Publish a shocking revelation that all the Disney princesses are ex-cons on the lam and hiding out in their castles because they'll be arrested the second they leave? Any ideas?

(ETA: Dudes, relax. When Mia wants to be a princess, I'll buy her the damned princess dress and play castle ball for hours. I just refuse to encourage it in any way, and she is still exploring the concept of pretending to be a kitty or a cheerio, so I see no reason to give her ideas. I'll probably give in when she wants a Barbie too, but she'll get Bratz over my cold, dead body.)

Comments (57)

It's futile to resist, grasshopper. The Power of the Princesses is too great. Get ready to buy a Princess costume and be subjected to hours of make-believe involving a ball and some dancing.

And along the way? Make believe with Mia that the princess rescues herself, kicks the everloving shit out of the bad guy and generally rocks hardcore.

Maybe a Princess dress and some chucks? ;)

I like your third idea...people always love a tell-all book...
From what I have seen with my nieces and my sister's efforts against the princess mentality..it does look like an uphill battle.
It couldn't hurt to talk to the other mommies and see if they are offened as well, strength in numbers, etc.

Hmm, no ideas, but man you feel strongly about this. I kind of like the Disney (if that is by any chance who you are talking about) princess. That's how I ended up with a boy.

Maybe find a new class? or complain? You are right, you pay money not to be bombarded with ads.

I would register a formal complaint with the management; you are a paying customer - you are doing them a favor by purchasing a service. IMHO, that service should come with no blatant commercials/consumer conditioning attached. (With the exception of two movies I enjoy/was brainwashed by, I also have very little patience for Disney crap, especially of the princess variety).

Paying to be advertised to is profoundly annoying. I can't believe they asked you all to dress your little girls up as princesses in order to really drive home the point. I agree with Betti; I'd register a formal complaint.

Would it be possible for you to transfer to a non-participating locations? Or is Mia's love for the class linked to the locale?

I would submit a grievance and do as Pammer suggested and tell me how the Princess saves herself.

You could complain to the management but after that, you'll probably still have to dress Mia in a cute costume and let her have fun with it. I have three nieces and they've all loved the Disney princesses. For a while they went through phases of all princess all the time. However, they're older now, all tomboys, and haven't been harmed by their princess playing days. One wants to be a doctor, one wants to be a teacher, and the other is too young to really know what she wants to be but she's a take charge type so I think she'll be just fine. Hey, Mia could have tons of fun and you have to admit, they look darn cute in those dresses. :-)

Pammer has the right idea. My little princess has a princess themed room, but she kicks "bad guy" asses all the time. I'm also teaching her that she doesn't need a prince to rescue her, that she can do it herself!

I'm with the "formal complaint" crowd. I'd send a letter to their corporate offices, too.

I'd file a complaint, but then I think in the world of make believe, it's okay to be a Princess. My girls both were into the Princess thing, but soon enough they got into playing softball, vollyball, etc and enjoyed being a jock too. Just allow Mia to follow her feelings on things and don't worry too much.
I know, easy to say, right?

GRRR!

I feel exactly like you do about the princesses, and all the other sheep-le I know don't understand why it upsets me so much.

The blatant advertising is obnoxious too.

This kind of thing makes me glad I do not have a girl at the moment... I would be annoyed as well.

With that said, I remember my sister being super hard core about princess stuff and Barbie's and fairy tales with her first daughter (my sister is almost 10 yrs older then me...) I remember thinking "chill out dude, I liked that stuff when I was a kid and so did you." We both turned out to be very liberal people who think that women can do most anything because of how our mother raised us to think SO... I guess with that said just keep being who you are. Don't make a big deal out of it and I am sure that Mia will be okay. Also, my sister's hard core stance against these things just made my niece want to know more about it all!

There are other ways to circumvent this princess crap - give her books and toys that do not reflect that princess-y thing.

Finally, I would say something to the director of the program just so you have your voice heard. Or write a letter to the program if it is a national one voicing your opinion. Just some thoughts...

I wouldn't be able to stop myself - I would have to complain loudly and longly about paying for the privilege of being the target of a direct marketing campaign. It is hard to escape but there should be some safe havens.

I'd let them know how you feel, but if Mia does start to request princess crap, I'd give her the more recent Cinderella 3. Cindy rescues the prince instead of waiting on her butt for him. Or Mulan who kicked butt. Or Belle, who snubbed the dumb jock and loved books. Stay away from the older ones like sleeping beauty and snow white.

At this age I don't think they recognize that princesses are considered weak and inferior in some people's minds. She just thinks "pretty, girly, pink". My girl is 4 now, and her princess phase started around 3 and is tapering off. The alternatives seem way too grown up, so I'm pretty happy with princesses. For the record, I don't like all of the marketing crap either and we have no clothing, bedding, or decorations of princess stuff. Dress-up and pretend is clean fun though. I'm always willing to play the Daddy in Trouble, and she, Diego The Rescuer. She might even rescue me while wearing a tiara.

I am 100% with you on the princess frustration. I'd probably at least complain. Is there another location that is not doing the disney tie-in that you could transfer to? That is really shitty. But also I hate Disney, so I would be pissed to PAY to get advertised to by them. (See also: Why I never want to go to Disney World)

Well you gave me a good chuckle today. We have that same class here doing the same link and promotion. I do not think it is unique to your area. Isabel has discovered some of the princesses thanks to her neighbors ages 6 and 8, and to the long car rides back to you know where, when I throw in a DVD and pray for peace. What made me laugh the most is that literally as I am reading your post she is stomping around the house in a pair of Cinderella "heels" her aunt bought her. Can't wait for you to go the ball every day like we do. UGH

I would complain to the management and get the other like minded mom's in the group to do the same. You are there paying them you (and your child) should not be subjected to having to be advertised to.
Also it is so nice to know I am not the only mommy who is anti Barbie (but certain I will have to give in on that one) but that is also certain my child will never have Brats (the whore dolls as I like to call them) anything. I have made it very clear that the Brats dolls and other paraphernalia will not be allowed in our home EVER.

There's something seriously sinister in the rampant poorly-veiled exploitation of children. It's a felony when the word 'sexual' is attached to the front of 'exploitation', but it's perfectly acceptable to:

Enter them in child beauty pageants
Encourage them to become child models
Make a profit off of them
Destroy their self-esteem
Etcetera
So on
Whatnot

Were I ever to have children, I fear that I would spend my life standing on the front porch with a shotgun, trying in vain to keep society away.

I am totally with you on the Bratz. We got a hand-me-down Bratz toddler plate and bowl from my sister-in-law, and my husband doesn't understand why I keep hiding it on the top shelf and refuse to use it even if it is the LAST CLEAN TODDLER PLATE WE HAVE. I have standards. And the Bratz do NOT meet them.

Why must they ruin everything? *sigh*

I totally agree with you on the princess stuff. We're expecting our first baby (a girl) in a week or two and everytime we get a gift that has something to do with or says "Princess" on it, I cringe. At least I think I've made it perfectly clear to my family and Eric's that we don't intend on letting our daughter ever think she's a princess and we don't plan on treating her as such, either...so that should help with some of the gifts.

Oh, I didn't offer any advice on what you should do...I'm just glad someone else feels the way I do - I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one! Good luck!

You weren't kidding about that whole cussing in every post title were you?

You already got some great advice from others on the princess stuff. I vote with a complain to the management crowd.
And holla!! on the Bratz! I hate those vile things. When my daughter turned 4, one of my ex-husband's relatives gave her two Bratz-like dolls that came complete with leather miniskirts, thigh-high boots, some fucked up hooker hat, gold chains and a boom box!
And they seriously wondered why I took the dolls to the store and exchanged them?

Oh my gosh! We just recently quit going there mainly because Julianna started preschool, but I still get the emails. Do you get the emails? When I saw the one advertising that and instructing the kids to come in costumes I almost barfed! I couldn't believe shove-it-down-your-throat kind of advertising that place had gotten to be. It wasn't that way when we started going there.

Also, I may be a little bitter because we missed three weeks in a row due to a beach trip this summer. I knew about it before I signed up for the summer session and asked and they told me I'd get make up classes. Well, after we missed the last three weeks of the summer session and I tried to go back the next week, they told me that I had to carry it over to my fall session which would be pro-rated. I wasn't planning on doing fall b/c of preschool, but boy! Was I pissed!?

Sorry for the rant there.

I'm with the others who think that a formal complaint is in order. It'd be one thing if they were offering their services for free and the advertisers were subsidizing them, but if you're paying for the classes you have every right to not be beaten about the head with the Princess Bat.

You might also complain directly to Disney; I used to work for The Mouse, and can tell you that they hate bad publicity a whoooole bunch.

Yeah.... so the whole, my pea-in-the-pod is a girl thing? Very excited about it. Have gotten teary-eyed a few times already this morning.

EXCEPT the Disney princess thing. SO not cool. So don't want to go down that road. I'm with ya.

Amen sister on the Bratz. Those things are just baby whore dolls, who would want that??

That sounds like a pink taffeta nightmare. Gross.

If forced to dress her as a princess, dress her as Princess Fiona. At least that way, you guys can have some fun with green face paint! :D

Bratz as "baby whores." Soooo true. My grandaughter (9)is into princesses. However this summer I played Firefly/Senerity for her. (those not into s/f, BEST show ever!) The 4 females were very strong. independant, femine, women. And grandaughter loves them. I think she realizes the difference between the fantasy of Disney and the reality of the Firefly chicks. Just keep on keeping Miabean away from Bratz

Disney makes me want to swear like a sailor, and since I can, I'll restrain myself for the moment. I hate Disney. I'm trying to help my girl understand it's a BRAND, without much progress. She's uberfemme, and it's been a year of princess this and royal ball that, and I'm ready to chew out my own liver. It's truly horrendous. It's not cute, it's putrifying. Honestly, I think the disney princess stuff turns girls into little domestic whores faster than bratz - at least they have style (horrible style, but well, I dress like that soemtimes too). It's gross. I'd complain to Disney, to the teachers, to the local, regional, and national Mommy n Me program, and probably picket the place wearing big combat boots, goggles, and a pleather top.

First of all, that comment up there:

"Were I ever to have children, I fear that I would spend my life standing on the front porch with a shotgun, trying in vain to keep society away."

Absolutely love it!!

Secondly, if it was me (and thank your lucky stars you aren't) I would pull Camille out, I'm mean, yeah I guess, but that is absolutely ridiculous. I have strong feelings on the media/marketing to our kids subject so to me this would be a strong issue.

How exactly to you pretend to be a cheerio? Hey! Inquiring minds want to know! :-P

9 1/2 years into the nightmare that is Disney, I will tell you a secret: Resistance Is Useless. I would absolutely bitch about it to someone, but honestly, there's no escaping it. Sucks? Yep. True? Double true.

Wait until you kids starts bringing home the school monthly lunch calendar that is sponsored by the New Hit Disney Movie. Grrrrr.

i just blogged about this topic. I was complaining about the princess pull-ups. I too have a problem with the princess mentality and I could not agree with you more about those Bratz dolls

I am a total, total wimp, but here is what I would genuinely do: I would write a letter to the management of the Mommy and Me class (or to whoever decided to do the marketing tie-in), complaining about the very issues you pinpoint, and in basically the way you say them above.

I'd say that I try to keep all advertising away from my child, and that finding I'm suddenly PAYING to expose her to advertising has put me in a very difficult situation. I'd explain that I had deliberately joined an unaffiliated organization, and that now I saw it was choosing to affiliate itself with a commercial endeavor--and that I never would have joined if I'd realized this would happen. I'd say that my first thought was that I would just quit the class, but that my daughter loves it so much I don't know what to do. I would say that I am conflicted about the whole thing.

If I felt tougher than I usually do, I'd propose a number of solutions for them to choose from:

1) They can discontinue the Disney shit right the hell now.

2) They can offer an optional, free, Disney-tie-in class to members of the current Mommy and Me class, offered at a different time than the usual class.

3) They can reimburse me for the sessions during which they will be advertising Disney, and I will not attend those sessions.

Princesses are fine with me, but marketing is NOT.

COMPLAIN! This is bullshit. I'd be fuming. Good luck fighting the machine that is Disney. Evil. (But entertaining for the young-un's, dammit.)

I don't have a suggestion for you because I go to the same place (probably not the same location) but each week I get annoyed by the way they hawk this stupid movie.

And as far as the grand prize goes....what mother/father of toddler(s) has time to take a trip to go to the premiere? Certainly not me!!

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there annoyed by this. Thanks for letting me vent!

I don't have kids but feal the same way you do. It isn't right that you pay to go there and have to be subjected to an obscene amount of advertising. I'd put in a formal complaint.

I'll say this, dear... my 19 year old is as far from a princess as any girl can be. She isn't a boy... She's a beautiful young woman inside and out. BUT she isn't obsessed with weight and fashion, etc. She's far more obsessed with getting this crappy political machine out of office, trying to stop the earth from becoming a toilet, and trying to get people to just play nice/fair. She too went through her princess phase. I think it's genetic. Maybe Mia will never have one. Go with the flow.

Bratz are forbidden in our house too. They freak me out.

I hate Disney, I even started boycotting diapers with Disney characters on it because I am that lame. ANd I am with you on the Slutz .... oops I mean Bratz dolls, who would let their kids play with those little hooker dollies?

We have a strict No Bratz rule in my house. Elizabeth has gotten to the point that if we see a commercial for something Bratz related, she'll look over at me and ask if I still don't like them.

I had to chime in on this one because I never expected to see a Firefly reference on So The Fish Said...!

Yes, Firefly is the best show ever, and yes, the four main women characters are very strong, intellegent, and well-written. Especially Zoe, played by Gina Torres, who manages to kick ass and take names while being able to balance her feminine side too.

That being said, one of the other characters, Inara, is a prostitute. I'm not saying that Inara doesn't have great characteristics, but I think her occupation is important to point out especially with the railing the Bratz are taking. It's not the ability to kick ass and be well-spoken that makes someone a role model; it's the values that they (male OR female) believes in and follows. If I ever have daughters I'd much rather show them Belle from Beauty and The Beast as a role model instead of Inara.

I don't mean to sound like I'm picking on Joss is Boss; actually thank you for mentioning some great alternative characters to discuss.

I didn't read all the comments and have no real solutions for you but I'd be irked if we went to gym and it was overrun with any princesses, let alone disney princesses. I'm completely with you on this.

I guess if it was me, I would express my concern to the owner/manager and say that I would consider leaving the gym over this marketing thing. Hopefully s/he will reconsider next time disney (or whoever) wants to market in their space. It sounds really over the top.

I'd much rather my daughter pretend to be a cheerio right now.

I'm sorry, I have to add one more... to the "it's genetic" reference... if it WERE genetic, why would there need to be HUGE expensive invasive marketing schemes to BUY BUY BUY? That just doesn't make sense.
Read "Princess Smartypants" and "The Paper Princess" books and "The Paper Bag Princess" for girls AND boys, but don't give in to the Disney poopheads!

Oh, boy, this would piss me off to no end. I too am not a Disney-marketing-machine fan. My girlie loves to dress up, and I have no problem with that. I try to expose her (and my son) to all different sides of fairy tales, we love the paper bag princess, and I dug up recordings of fairy tales I used to listen to, and gorgeous books that I pored over when I was small (I scanned some of those books here: http://www.crazymokes.com/2007/08/17/de-disneyfying.html) I know I was dress up crazy from age 3-9ish, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. My problem is DISNEY specifically. They change the story, they market market market, and then they turn out all these Cinderella XII straight to DVD crap movies and oh my god they just need to stop.

This reminds me of when I was in college, and a family friend's daughter got hopelessly addicted to Cinderella. She was three, and her mom and dad were out of town, and one of her aunts bought it for her, and that was IT. Months of Cinderella, Cinderella, Cinderella, Cinderella. At the end of the movie, she would wave her little arms in the air and crow, "Marriage! Marriage!" as Cinderella rode off in that stupid crystal carriage. This drove her mom so crazy that she started saying, "Patriarchy! Patriarchy!" at the end, to drown out the estastic toddler call to wed. Said toddler eventually started shrieking, "Turkey! Turkey!" at the end of the movie, which was, hands down, one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life.

(I would complain. I h.a.t.e. the princess stuff, and extraneous advertising to children.)

We've called our little girl Fi Fi (but I don't know if it's one word or two) since she was a baby.

That's short for Fiona. Because she's pretty much all ogre, all the time, unless she feels like being Cameron Diaz for a little while.

I'm a bit late to this party, but *wow* does that suck. I pretty much think that advertising to children is unethical, but a program that you pay for getting money from Disney (or anyone else) to advertise to children? WOW.

I'd guess that this bothers a lot of people, but nobody thinks they can do anything about it, because there are enough people who put up with it or don't even mind who make it profitable. But, if my parents taught me anything other than to be critical of advertising, it's the value of a well-placed fit. If you really want to do something about it, I'd complain in person to whoever makes these kinds of decisions, then if (when) nothing changes, get a group of parents to sign a letter to the editor, or maybe even try to get a story written about it in the paper. If they don't respond to individual complaints on ethical grounds, perhaps some bad publicity will help.

What really gets me about this is that someone's making a profit selling access to your daughter's imagination and unconscious. That shit ain't right.

Amen.

I like the letter to the corporate headquarters. Because I am totally neurotic I would send it anonymously because I wouldn't want to deal with the sneers from the staff.

Also because I'm neurotic I love your note to the stalkers out there (which I hope are too lazy to bother you)!

I'd be furious, I'm so sick of the Disney Dead Mother Machine (but my heart goes out to those with daughters, it's much worse for you). And Barbie has had to step up the sluttiness to compete with the Bratz...anyone noticed "Teen Top Model Barbie"? That is one pole dancer of a barbie. Great post!

I love every single word of this post.

And I don't even have a girl-spawn.

I'd complain, too, even though growing up I loved Disney's princess movies (and still do!). It's one thing to put them on for your kid in your own home, it's quite another to be bombarded with it at your child's gym class.

I do hate clothing with princess language on it, though, and Luke and I are telling as many people as we can so there's no confusion when this baby comes in December.

How do you pretend to be a Cheerio?

I agrees with the whole being annoyed about the marketing while you're paying for her to go there already. I'd be sure to bring that up the next time they try to raise prices.

I seriously think my head might explode. Is there NO space that is noncommercial for kids? I spend a lot of time on these issues, but even I was surprised to read this. They are trying to extend the market by reaching younger and obviously attempting to reach a more affluent toddler set.

If it were me, I would absolutely make a BFD about it and go find another class elsewhere, but this is something I have zero tolerance for.

You don't have to hate princesses (though I do), to hate this -- I wouldn't care if they were selling apple juice, they can do that on someone else's time. Quit trying to exploit our kids. Grrr.

I have lots on marketing to kids and also on princesses on my blog too - would LOVE to have you visit:

www.outside-the-toybox.com

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