Sat down to read an article about Pixar’s new movie ‘Brave’ in Time Magazine proved to be an experience I won’t forget too soon. The film involves their first female lead character and the title of the piece ‘Pixar’s Girl Story‘. The character is a princess but a tough, bear-fighting scottish princess. Read Braveheart rewritten as girl with a more entertaining story attached (I hope.) It was on the third page I came across a statement that left me breathless,
“There’s guts in marketing a princess movie to boys, but it’s just bad business not to give your princess a tiara, wand or frilly pink dress, since that’s what little girls buy.” (Joel Stein, ‘Pixars Girl Story’, Time, March 5 2012)
He goes on to quote that ‘Disney Princesses make up the top selling toys in the US’ which I’m sure is true but has Joel Stein walked down an aisle in the Toy Store lately? Particularly that pink aisle which is so pervasive you can’t really escape it. Does he have daughters himself? Speaking from personal experience, when I was a small child in the 80’s & 90’s, I may have had some pink frilly things hoisted upon me but my favourite dress up was a cape. My barbies and She-ra played side by side with transformers and He-man. I may have played teacher to menagerie of toys, not one of them was particularly frilly, pink or wore a tiara.
We are taught from an early age that we must like pink, baby-dolls and other such “girly” things, Trucks are for the boys. However, at school, my girlfriends and I would play tag in the playground and make up wild stories about being on a ship. In one story I’m pretty sure Cinderella married Vanilla Ice (it was the early 90’s). We did what we wanted to do because it was play; there’s no distinct rules, certainly not in Gender.
Noone told us that we had to play one way or another, except for when we were confronted with messages in media that said ‘This’ is what girls play with. Like the Riley on Youtube I’m driven to question, Why do little girls have to buy pink & princesses? The only answer I can come up with, noone bothered to ask what we really wanted.