Orenstein.What’s Wrong With Cinderella

T here are now more than 25 000 disney princess items

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Unformatted text preview: ers under one roy al rubric, hav e shot up to $3 billion, globally , this y ear, from $300 million in 2001 . T here are now more than 25 ,000 Disney Princess items. “Princess,” as some Disney ex ecs call it, is not only the fastest- growing brand the company has ev er created; they say it is on its way to becoming the largest girls’ franchise on the planet. MORE IN MAGAZI Deep Insid Meanwhile in 2001 , Mattel brought out its own “world of girl” line of princess Barbie dolls, Creative Ch DVDs, toy s, clothing, home décor and my riad other products. At a time when Barbie sales were Read More » declining domestically , they became instant best sellers. Shortly before that, Mary Drolet, a Chicago- area mother and former Claire’s and Montgomery Ward ex ecutiv e, opened Club Libby Lu, now a chain of mall stores based largely in the suburbs in which girls ages 4 to 1 2 can shop for “Princess Phones” cov ered in faux fur and attend “Princess- Makeov er Birthday Parties.” Saks bought Club Libby Lu in 2003 for $1 2 million and has since ex panded it to 87 outlets; by 2005 , with only scant local adv ertising, rev enues hov ered around the $46 million mark, a 5 3 percent jump from the prev ious y ear. Pink, it seems, is the new gold. Ev en Dora the Ex plorer, the intrepid, dirty - kneed adv enturer, has ascended to the throne: in 2004, after a two- part episode in which she turns into a “true princess,” the Nickelodeon and Viacom consumer- products div ision released a satin- gowned “Magic Hair Fairy tale Dora,” with hair that grows or shortens when her crown is touched. Among other phrases the bilingual doll utters: “Vámonos! Let’s go to fairy - tale land!” and “Will y ou brush my hair?” As a feminist mother — not to mention a nostalgic product of the Garanimals era — I hav e been taken by surprise by the princess craze and the girlie- girl culture that has risen around it. What happened to William wanting a doll and not dressing y our cat in an apron? Whither Marlo T homas? I watch my...
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