I spent a great portion of my wee years in the hegemonic, sap-producing, sing-a-long hands of one of the most demonized conglomerates to date. I spent hours watching and re-watching multiple versions of similar princess stories that I have to admit moulded a lot of my tiny self because its watered down, family-time goodness easily grazed past the ever critically protective eye of my mother. Disney movies were a major hit, my friends and I clamoured to own anything stamped with the swooshy logo in a cut-throat fashion that can only be likened to a couture sample sale. The “princesses” themselves were most coveted, followed closely by their dashing chunks of handsomeness and the token eloquent sidekick (some splashed with a dose of sociopathy- re: Eago). Naturally, elementary playground games for us girls involved running to/away from the ever elusive, cootie plagued boys or, if the chase/interest wore off, Princess Game.
As a card-carrying Disney kid (and connoisseur of cool, obviously), I knew all there was to know about every movie that came out and could sing most songs (including celeb-studded versions that appeared after the credits rolled) and yet Princess Game oft left me a little wary. The reason was that our young minds were far from completely socially developed and, as per Cosby’s Darndest Things, wildly uncensored.
The rules of Princess Game were simple- pick a princess and behave as she would. For example, if you chose to be Ariel, you would have to take on the role of a “swimming” mime. In a group of about eight, the debate over who got to be which princess often grew heated (everybody coveted Cinderella), but eventually each girl would pick the princess she thought reflected her the most- hence my conundrum. I recall picking one of the fairer princesses in my first ever time playing, and blatantly being told it was impossible because of my complexion. In fact, the only plausible characters I could pick from were Pocahontas (the darkest of the heroines) or, wait for it, Nahla. In their eyes, because the story was set in Africa, I was closer to a giant feline than any of the princess options available solely based on my pigment count. Inevitably I took on the role of the bare-footed, hair-for-days cheif's daughter, because I would be damned if I got on all fours.
Enter this chick:
A lot can be said here about a million women’s studies-related hoo-hahs, but I’d rather not use up my tokenism membership in one post. I’m also not going to say this new character is in anyway going to soothe my childhood wounds of not feeling like I was being reflected in the franchise that God forgot. Instead, I’m going to revel in the fact that it took 10 years to re-create pretty much the same story yet again. This new princess, who looks like a colored-in version (in Crayola’s ‘burnt sienna’ to be exact) of her counterparts, will likely fall in love with a man that will somehow save/enable her, and will have a wise-cracking lackey (which judging by the teaser is a gum-toothed insect of some sort from the deepest of bayous)that will tag along for comic relief.
Naturally the Big O is involved and, with a release date of 2009, a certain other first will most likely be taking his little'uns to watch the magic unfold (in 2-d!) all over again.