Disney Princess Culture Part 3: Transcending the Culture

I forgot what the term was called, but you know how it goes: you learn a new concept and suddenly see examples everywhere. (Or look into buying a new car only to discover that “everyone” is driving it) Once I jumped into the rabbit hole of Disney Princess Culture and our daughters, it seemed to be never-ending. I happened to come across a post in my feed reader in which a photographer was trying to figure out how to photograph her daughter for her 5 year old portraits:

I noticed quite a pattern of so many young girls dressing up as beautiful Disney Princesses, no matter where I looked 95% of the “ideas” were the “How to’s” of  how to dress your little girl like a Disney Princess. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Disney Princesses, from their beautiful dresses, perfect hair, gorgeous voices and  most with ideal love stories in the mix you can’t help but become entranced with the characters. But it got me thinking, they’re just characters, a writers tale of a princess (most before 1998)…an unrealistic fantasy for most girls (Yay Kate Middleton!).
It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything. We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world……..so let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.

So Jaime posted the five shots in which her daughter imitated the poses of the five chosen women. This photo of her daughter as Coco Chanel was my favorite one.

Jaime Moore's daughter dressed as Coco Chanel. (See the other photos at her website)
Jaime Moore’s daughter dressed as Coco Chanel. (See the other photos at her website)

I love the idea to not only have her study the possible women, but to copy an iconic photo. It seems to push every button: dress up? check! learning about positive female role models? check! pretending to be a model? check! In fact, the only thing that had me bewildered was the fact that this was a thing – this being dressing up for a fifth birthday portrait whether as a Disney Princess or as a female role model. Maybe it’s because we were boys or because my parents didn’t have a lot of money until I was in High School, but our yearly portraits were our school photos.  No one asked me if I wanted to dress up as Aladdin (or whatever cartoons were out when I was five – it all runs together in my mind). Frankly, when it comes to Scarlett I’d prefer for her fifth birthday portraits to be straight portraits. They don’t have to be boring – we can incorporate some of her interests, but the whole dress up thing seems more like a Halloween photo than a portrait. I’d rather remember her in something similar to what she’d normally wear and how she normally looked rather than a manufactured look. Or, to put it another way, I have no problem with playing dress up for photos:

Alice and Mad Hatter Cosplay
Alice and Mad Hatter Cosplay

But when it comes to milestones, I prefer shots like this:

Milestone Self-Portrait
Milestone Self-Portrait

But I am curious – what’s the current trend with most childhood portraits?

One response to “Disney Princess Culture Part 3: Transcending the Culture”

  1. It’s a cool idea, but I’m similarly perplexed as to whether or not this dressing up thing is…well…a thing.