Somehow the princess industry hadn't appeared on my radar screen until now. So a book offering to teach me the business "from the front end to the back end" was quite a revelation.
A little research quickly brought out the dominant role played by Disney since 2001 in enthralling 3- to 6-year-old girls with everything princess. The carefully timed and executed movie releases move every conceivable sort of paraphenalia, expanding in the past couple of years into newborn and toddler items. Foodstuffs include Campbell's Disney Princess soup and Spaghetti-O's in "seven enchanted princess shapes". Other companies have seen the light--a Google search for princess themed merchandise yields 83,000 hits.
It seems that there's always been a minority undercurrent of opposition to this phenomenon, led by child psychologists, feminists, and simple-living advocates. Barbara Ehrenreich, in This Land Is Their Land, devotes the chapter "Bonfire of the Princesses" to exhorting parents to "ban the Princesses from your home."
Then along came Hard Times. All of a sudden the fabricated, all-about-me princess mentality isn't a good fit with new-found traits of humility and frugality engendered by limited personal, familial, and global resources. In an ironic twist, some Buffalo, NY teens are turning the concept on its head by forgoing $200+ prom dresses for $40-$60 Disney princess costumes!
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