Disney isn’t necessarily to blame for the princess mania that is currently engulfing our culture in swathes of pink tulle, but they’re certainly making a shit-ton of money off it. As Peggy Orenstein reports in her new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, back in 2000 a Disney exec attended a “Disney on Ice” show and noticed how many little girls were dressed up in princess costumes…homemade princess costumes. And thus the princes industrial complex was born. There are currently more than 26,000 Disney Princess items on the market, and in 2009, Princess products generated sales of $4 billion. But why was there such an obsession to cash in on in the first place? One explanation Orenstein examines is the developmental psychology research which shows that until as late as age seven, children believe that your preferences and appearance — from your toys to your outfit to your hairstyle to your favorite color — are what determine your sex. All of which only makes us even more in awe of the little five-year-old boy who dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween.
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