Copyright: Disney

Those of you that have daughters may have noticed something – little girls are in quite a hurry to grow up. The very phrase “grown-up” or “big-girl” can motivate even the most stubborn little girl into action.  Once they’re potty trained and sleeping in their big girl bed, we stop wanting them to be bigger; but they keep on wanting to be more grown up.  It was when I volunteered to help out in my daughter’s first grade class that I noticed a problem. All the little six year old girls had lunch boxes, folders, pencils, t-shirts, etc. with characters on them.  You might be picturing Princesses, Fairies, Winnie the Pooh, Teddy Bears, and rainbows. That’s what I would have thought. Instead I saw Hannah Montana, Justin Beiber, iCarly, and, yes, Twilight. There is something very wrong with seeing a six year old wearing “I heart Vampires” on her chest. I don’t want to step on any toes, but are we letting these sweet little girls grow up a tad too fast?

There is more to this issue than just t-shirts and merchandise.  This new age of sitcoms and movies being marketed to increasingly younger audiences could be leading to an end of an era. I’m not the only one to notice the change in children’s interests.  Disney’s marketing giants have noticed as well. And it could mean an end to the fairy tales and princess movies we’ve all grown to love. Shortly before Tangled was released, LA Times printed this article, “Disney Animation is closing the book on fairy tales”. In it, they note that princesses and the ideals they represent have a limited shelf life. The tween TV that is so popular has brought new adolescent role models for young girls. Note this quote:

“By the time they’re 5 or 6, they’re not interested in being princesses,” said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois University and an expert in the role of media in children’s lives. “They’re interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values.”

Five or Six?  Is this the life span of tiaras, princesses, and fairy tales? And yet, after observing what children are interested in, I see their point. Going to the theater and seeing young elementary school age children in line to see Transformers, Iron Man, and Twilight movies, it’s hard for a Disney animated fairy tale movie to compete with those at the box office.  When they received some negative response from the LA Times article, Pixar Studios chief Ed Catmull issued a statement saying that is wasn’t necessarily true that fairy tales are a thing of the past. However, the two fairy tales Disney had in development have been cancelled.

It’s important for us to remember that Disney is, after all, a business.  They will only make movies they know people will go see.  So if you are as disillusioned by this as I am, maybe it’s not too late to change things.  Part of living a Disney driven life, is making Disney, in all its’ pink princess fairy tale glory, a part of our children’s lives. Trips to Disney can help keep that magic of childhood alive in our children.  On a recent trip to Disney, my daughter and her best friend informed me that they didn’t really watch princess movies any more. They are seven and eight years old. Well, I decided to remind them of how good they are. So we watched several of the movies together on the drive, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella. Needless to say, they were riveted by them, singing along and enjoying every minute. My daughter said she had forgotten how good they were. I guess I had forgotten to remind her. Let’s all remind our young (and older) girls that we are never too old for fairy tales. So put on those tiaras, grab those magic wands, and let’s make some magic.

Contributed by: Serena Skretvedt (NDM#332) Serena is the DDL Psychology, Sociology, and Photography Blogger.


  1. Great article. I totally agree with you and thankfully since at the age of 29 I still love fairytales my kids, even my 7 year old love the Princesses. I can’t believe that kids that age are writing Twilight, that is just crazy to me.

  2. WOW…..I was wondering how you were going to top your other articles……but you did it!
    It’s a very valid point too. There is such a short time where we can believe in Fairytales, why not prolong it as long as possible? I’m still waiting for my Prince Charming…

  3. As a momof 3 daughters I can completely relate! In this fast paced, competetive world it is so important to go back to the basics with girls. The princesses always look for the best, respect themselves, accept their beauty inside and out and believe in magic. Isn’t that what we want for our daughters? Well done, Serena!

  4. I absolutely agree! I’ve got three daughters: 11, 9 and 5. I’m shocked by how much more tween stuff my youngest is being exposed to on a daily basis. The older ones like TeenNick but they are not allowed to watch it when their younger sister is in the room. However, the youngest is all excited about Justin Bieber, which I think is just WRONG!

    I am happy to say that the oldest told me her middle school class watched Mulan the other day and she knew the words to all the songs! 🙂

  5. Mine is excited about Bieber too. I guess it is more a balancing act trying to slow them down as much as we can. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. Serena,

    Good point, but I think even in adults we are all chasing after something that we feel that gives us acceptance in society, and if we decide we are not going to be part of “The Crowd” we feel left out. So with little girls parents at times are not helping the situation by caving in and giving them what every body else has.

  7. I know the shock. This past summer I was a summer camp counselor for the first time for art kids (ages 6-12) and the youngest ones were into tween stuff while one of the 12 year old girls asked if I like the show Family Guy. I’m glad to say courtesy of being the NDI that I am I reminded a lot of the kids of how awesome Disney is. One of the 11 year olds even told me thank you and that she had forgotten how cool Disney was. (had to fight myself not to cry, lol) I also got plenty of adorable Disney fan art from the kids. 

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