Stereotypical gender roles, colorism, the misrepresentation of women of color... a tale as old as time, right?
Tuesday at 7p.m. in Jundt Auditorium, senior Victoria Weible will be giving a presentation titled ‘The Problem with Princesses: The Power of Visual Marginalization in Disney’s Marketing’ as part of the gender and pop culture speaker series.
Weible came up with the idea for the presentation after reading Peggy Orenstein’s book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter.”
“Growing up, I loved princesses. After reading [the book] I became more and more interested in the princess brand,” she said. “I focused especially on diversity and racial representation because this is something that Orenstein mentions, but I wanted to know more.”
In the presentation, Weible will be combining her English and business majors and looking specifically at the marketing strategies of a media giant like Disney. She will focus on how it markets princesses of color.
“They claim that they have created a more diverse and empowered line of princesses, yet the way they select their products and then portray the princesses on those products, especially princesses of color, is the exact opposite of those ideals,” she said.
Dr. Ann Ciasullo, Robert K. and Ann J. Powers chair of the humanities and associate professor in the English Department, who created the gender and pop culture speaker series, is in charge of finding students who would be interested in presenting their work. She finds Weible’s work to be very relevant.
“The series is always interested in gender analyses of pop culture, but what made Victoria’s work stand out was two aspects of it: first, the focus on Disney, which has broad appeal, and second, its analysis of racial representation, which is incredibly important especially in this era,” she said.
Rather than focusing on a single princess or any of their individual storylines, Weible chose to look at the broader picture of how Disney markets itselves and its princesses could be damaging to the young psyche it is generally directed towards.
She will also go on to speak on the importance of examining how not only Disney, but similar brands as well, shape greater society with the impact they may have on young children.
Weible noted that this is a relevant topic for multiple reasons, mainly that Disney is the largest and most powerful children’s brand with the princess segment alone making about $6 billion per year.
“I will be speaking to the role Disney princesses plays in shaping children’s conceptions of traditional gender roles and the intersections of race and beauty ideals with gender,” she said.
This presentation is free to all members of the GU community.
Morgan Scheerer is a news editor. Follow her on Twitter @_morganscheerer.