Disney Princesses, Animal Companions, and Race

The newest issue of the (free!) journal Gender Forum is out featuring a piece by yours truly on one of my obsessions: the Disney Princesses.

The Princesses fascinate me because they are billed as the Incarnation of Femininity.  They are the Apex Alpha Females of the Disney Universe.  And yet, as I have written elsewhere, the idea of what exactly constitutes a “proper” performance of princessness differs depending on the race of the character.  Thus, the recent attempts to diversify the Disney Princess line, while laudable, also serve to extend certain stereotypes about how femininity is/should be enacted by girls of color.  Girls of all races can be Princesses, the franchise seems to argue, but not all princesses are equally privileged.

This particular piece details the different modes of engagement that each princess has with her animal companions and how those relationships shape/are shaped by their racial identities.

snow white.jpg

Screenshots from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Princess and the Frog

Check it out!  And while you are there, go through the archives for a collection of amazing work that is, once again, FREE!

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