Princesses and fairies have been a constant in our house for about six months now. The princess bit started when Immy watched (and fell in love with) the Disney movie, Tangled. The fairies came a little later when she watched part of a Tinkerbell movie at a friends house. And in the time since the princess/fairy invasion began more than a few items of Disney princess/fairy paraphernalia have moved into our home, including;
- A set of Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder and Maximus figurines
- A copy of Tangled on DVD
- A book and CD version of the Tangled story
- A set of Disney fairy figurines
- A Tinkerbell DVD of her own
- A story book containing three of the Tinkerbell stories
- A Tinkerbell colouring in book
- And, thanks to the generosity of a kind but misguided family member 😉 two Tinkerbell dresses which are currently on high rotation.
As for me, while I love nurturing my small girls interest and curiosity, I am still getting my head around how I feel about the whole Disney princess/fairy mass marketing approach and I must admit to wondering, how much is too much?
The bits I don’t mind so much…
- Most of Immy’s fairy or princess play is imaginary in nature. She makes up all sorts of stories and scenarios for re-enactment and hardly any of them feature the whole ‘rescued by a prince, get married and live happily every after‘ storyline. In fact, I think I would have only heard her even mention Rapunzel marrying Flynn Ryder less than a handful of times. Maybe this is because she has not watched any of the other Disney princess movies?
- Immy also brings a lot of other, non-Disney resources into her play – like adapting Schleich fairies and other figurines as characters and creating play scenes with loose materials as fairy gardens. She plays indoor and outdoors with her fairies and princesses and the play is varied and interesting.
- Our fairy and princess costumes are either homemade or non-branded and that has never bothered Immy. She still loves to dress up and play fairies, queens and princesses.
- The fact that we have been reading a lot of Enid Blyton of the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair variety, introduces lots of other imaginary characters, such as pixies, brownies elves and enchanters, into her play, which I think provides a good balance to the commercial side of the whole Disney phenomenon.
- Immy is just as happy to read a story together or listen to an audio story as she is to watch the Disney movies so it is not all about screen time.
- Immy loves drawing fairies and we have seen a proliferation of drawing and watercolour painting related to her interest.
- A fairy colouring book which Dad 101 bought her has interested Immy in colouring in for the first time and I have been amazed to see the development of fine motor control that has resulted.
- The Tinkerbell movie has led to some really interesting discussion about people being different and having individual talents, and recognising what each of us is good at and challenged by.
- Although she loves her princeses and fairies, Immy is still interested in a million and one other forms of play and creating.
The bits that I really dislike…
- I hate that virtually ANYTHING can be branded by Disney with either fairies or princesses. I have seen everything from boogie boards to yoghurt drinks and although Immy is great at accepting that she can’t have it all, it drives me to distraction everytime we walk through a supermarket or variety store.
- I think Disney’s princess and fairy merchandise is, for the main part, over priced and poorly made.
- How many fairies do you know that fly with their hands on their hips? And why do these figurines only sit with their legs spread wide – hardly ladylike in their inappropriate short skirts. Will Disney ever recognise that figurines can come in shapes and sizes other than those of Barbie-esque proportions?
So tell me, what are your experiences and how do you feel about your children playing with the likes of Disney and other commercially branded toys? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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