The new film Frozen, opening today, adds two new members to Disney's expansive collection of animated princesses. And that's not entirely bad thing.
Among certain circles these days, princesses aren't very popular. Take for instance the suddenly infamous ad for the building toys GoldieBlox, which has generated some controversy for appropriating a Beastie Boys song, but also pointedly comments on the concept of gendered toys. The ad, featuring girls building a Rube Goldberg machine, attacks the princess culture that crowds the girl toy market. (Though the rewritten version of the Beastie Boys' "Girls" has been replaced in a new version of the ad, you can see the original here.) And GoldieBlox, a company markets building toys primarily to young girls, has a very legitimate point. The girlie toy market is expansive and often oppressive.
But as a former princess-lover, something about the ad frustrated me. I may not have ended up an engineer, but I turned out no worse—I'd like to think—for loving my dolls and princesses. And while I heartily acknowledge that the classic Disney princess stories didn't have many feminist messages, I'd argue that my affection for them and other supposedly girlie things didn't stifle my creativity, but instead propelled me to want to be a storyteller. Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican felt the same way about the GoldieBlox spot, tweeting: "Girls should def play w robots, superheroes, construction equipment - but I cringed at how that ad dissed pink-loving princess types." So did I.