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non mainstream princess recommendations - Page 3

post #41 of 52
I like Fanny's Dream. It's not princess-specific, but a re-telling of the Cinderella story. Fanny is a farm girl who is convinced that her Fairy Godmother will take her to the Mayor's house for a ball, where she will meet a handsome, wealthy husband, etc. What happens is quite different and ultimately lovely.
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).

For another thing, it just doesn't do justice to the films. Ariel wanted to "drastically change her appearance" long before she met Eric - you could just as easily describe her as a "woman who determined her own destiny over the objections of her traditionalist father", if you felt the need. Noting that Jasmine was saved by a "street rat" seems like an unnecessary bit of classism - would it have been OK if she'd been saved by an upper-class gentleman? Plus, she was never exactly "enslaved" by Jafar - captured, yes (as was Aladdin at one point). The statement that Belle "saved a prince's life by her only asset, her sexuality" is downright absurd. Her kindness, intelligence, tact and bravery were all factors in the Beast's falling in love with her, and her love of books is explicit in the film (unless that's not considered an "asset"?). Even Cinderella has more to her than the text implies - you don't see little woodland friends running to help the stepsisters fit into the shoe. She gets help from her friends because she's kind to them - so her character contributes to her fate. And calling Snow White's "only asset" beauty is rather uncharitable - she's a mean housekeeper and a kind human being (or again, is kindness not considered an asset these days?).

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
:

It's all just versions of reality anyway. Meaning...in the case of Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney writers took old stories and softened them considerably, adding talking animals and whatnot, and leaving out most of the heartbreak and all of the gore (though certainly not all of the violence). For Example. (Does anyone else remember that in the original story, Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit the shoe?)

Dd1 likes princesses. She likes beautiful dresses and shoes. She also wants to be a firefighter when she grows up, except when she wants to be a doctor. Or a mom. I think you have to look at the whole picture - kids are pretty good at separating fantasy from reality.
post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by thyra View Post
That is AWESOME! Thanks for reminding me why I really dislike disney!
Remember, most older disney movies are just retellings of old old old fairy tales. The types of tales that might have been told in the times that someone else was mentioning might be good for a girl to think about princessy things (at ren faires).

At least no one's cutting off toes in the current Cinderella!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).

For another thing, it just doesn't do justice to the films. Ariel wanted to "drastically change her appearance" long before she met Eric - you could just as easily describe her as a "woman who determined her own destiny over the objections of her traditionalist father", if you felt the need. Noting that Jasmine was saved by a "street rat" seems like an unnecessary bit of classism - would it have been OK if she'd been saved by an upper-class gentleman? Plus, she was never exactly "enslaved" by Jafar - captured, yes (as was Aladdin at one point). The statement that Belle "saved a prince's life by her only asset, her sexuality" is downright absurd. Her kindness, intelligence, tact and bravery were all factors in the Beast's falling in love with her, and her love of books is explicit in the film (unless that's not considered an "asset"?). Even Cinderella has more to her than the text implies - you don't see little woodland friends running to help the stepsisters fit into the shoe. She gets help from her friends because she's kind to them - so her character contributes to her fate. And calling Snow White's "only asset" beauty is rather uncharitable - she's a mean housekeeper and a kind human being (or again, is kindness not considered an asset these days?).

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
Woo!



Enchanted is actually really cute. Ends up being about people *choosing* (well, women, at least, the men don't really change much I assume b/c there were already solid in their decisions?) what they want. The career girl chooses something else...the fairy tale girl realizes she likes modern day stuff but retains her immensely romantic self. There's a bit at the end that the Susan Sarandon character kinda ruins with her "yes hello that's very obvious to us" dialog, but of course that's on the writers, not her. But the switch-up is fairly amusing.

DS watched Enchanted at 5 and LOVES it, and still loves it. He loves the other princess movies too...wanna know why? Because the princesses are nice and pretty. And until you actually get to KNOW someone, that's ALL we have to go by at the beginning. You look at someone and go "hmm, that person seems like someone I'd like to know, let's get to know them". So I don't see anything all that much wrong about a prince wanting to find someone because she's beautiful and he was entranced by her looks and whatever it was they spoke about while dancing at the ball (people always forget that they did spend that time together, and who knows what they said to each other)...and of course when you're very young and in that sort of timeframe, you do tend to just think about "happily ever after" instead of dating (like Amy Adams' character learns about in Enchanted).


I struggled with Disney through my 20s, until my mom died and I realized why most disney stories aka old fairy tales start with the death of a parent. And since then, I've realized I kinda like the movies and stories, and they are FAR better than reading the actual fairy tales (a friend of my son's gave him a REAL fairy tale book for his b'day, YUCKO)!
post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by claras_mom View Post
:

It's all just versions of reality anyway. Meaning...in the case of Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney writers took old stories and softened them considerably, adding talking animals and whatnot, and leaving out most of the heartbreak and all of the gore (though certainly not all of the violence). For Example. (Does anyone else remember that in the original story, Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit the shoe?)

Dd1 likes princesses. She likes beautiful dresses and shoes. She also wants to be a firefighter when she grows up, except when she wants to be a doctor. Or a mom. I think you have to look at the whole picture - kids are pretty good at separating fantasy from reality.
I can't wait until DD is old enough to watch Into the Woods with me someday. The prince is like gagging from the blood in the shoe
post #45 of 52
I love this post!

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is Groovy Girl dolls. They have at least one dressed as a princess. DD loves them - she has two now. We used to be able to buy them at our local Target but now they don't carry them any more. I bought the princess one for DD on Amazon. This one:

http://www.amazon.com/Groovy-Girl-13...2865170&sr=8-2

At least some, if not all the Groovy Girls have clothes that come off so DD can switch outfits between her dolls.

*gasp* I just noticed there are at least TWO more princess Groovy Girls. Don't tell DD that, she'll start begging!!
post #46 of 52
Just wanted to cast another vote for The Paper Bag Princess. I recently got this book for my almost 2 year old DD to counteract some of the princess exposure and it rocks! Not that I don't like princesses b/c i do, including the dresses, but i favor a really well-rounded version (dresses and spirit). there was also this book i had when i was young about a really rude, boisterous princess and a genteel "ladylike" dragon who taught her some manners and the princess taught the dragon how to be "dragony" I can't remember the name but i loved it.
post #47 of 52
The book I was thinking of is called The Princess and The Dragon by Audrey Wood
post #48 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
It's amusing and all, but it's just not accurate. For one thing, it conveniently leaves out Pocahontas (who - in the movie version - saved a man using her position, not her sexuality, helped prevent a war and gave up the man she loved in order to better serve her people), Mulan (who, y'know, SAVED CHINA) and Tiana (a career gal who did the majority of the "saving" in the movie, by her wits, personality and talent rather than her sexuality).
...

That's not to say Disney has no problems with gender portrayals. It does. But reducing characters to a few snarky soundbites isn't a particularly helpful critique, and sounds like the critic is more interested in proving a point than actually engaging with the text.
all so true and well said! i agree. and i have to admit, i like pocahontas, mulan, and tiana (and, well, really, the music from the movies). my daughter loves these princesses (and belle, too, about whom i am more conflicted) and the music and i think there are okay messages there. and, as others have pointed out, it hasn't diminished her interest in bugs, aikido, art, or anything else one whit. it's just another interest.

now i'm off to look up some of the other wonderful suggestions!
post #49 of 52
I didn't say before....I really loved The Princess and the Frog, partly for the music and partly because Tiana was such a strong character. And don't forget Princess Atalanta in Free to Be You and Me.

But I still don't worry about it. In terms of consumerism (one of the charges leveled against Disney), I think one of the most positive things one can do/learn is simply to admire and move on. There's a Belle dress in the Disney store that's To Die For--lace, gold, hoop skirt ....I probably like it more than dd does. But we're not going to buy it.
post #50 of 52
I just came across this list of Great Children's Books About Princesses. There are more books in the comments section of the post.
post #51 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by claras_mom View Post
I didn't say before....I really loved The Princess and the Frog, partly for the music and partly because Tiana was such a strong character. And don't forget Princess Atalanta in Free to Be You and Me.

But I still don't worry about it. In terms of consumerism (one of the charges leveled against Disney), I think one of the most positive things one can do/learn is simply to admire and move on. There's a Belle dress in the Disney store that's To Die For--lace, gold, hoop skirt ....I probably like it more than dd does. But we're not going to buy it.
Atalanta!!!!! Oh yeah, we love her.

I think DD is SO good at admiring and moving on. It took me a long time to realize how that is just as/more satisfying as buying-- hey, we have a crazy consumerist culture. I hope to teach her the same same. Just to be free of that wantwantwant desire, I remember feeling even as a kid with ads for toys on TV.
post #52 of 52
These aren't children's books- I read them in Jr. High/High School, but books by Robin McKinley have very strong female characters. The one's I think of when I think "princess" are The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.

She also wrote Beauty (a retelling of Beauty and the Beast) and The Outlaws of Sherwood (Robin Hood from Marion's viewpoint) and a few others- the names escape me right now.

I just got The Paperbag Princess at a booksale this weekend- I'll have to read it tonight
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