Disney’s New Photo Campaign Breaks Down The Princess Stereotype

dream big princess disney campaign

by Ellie Wiseman |
Published on

Photographs: Glamour

Disney princesses have been criticised for being instrumental in teaching young girls to aspire to fit into a certain stereotype to attract their Prince Charming, and as most young girls are exposed to all of the Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella-types growing up, this is problematic.

While Disney has come a long way in positively depicting females as empowered and autonomous instead of passive and subordinate – Moana, for example, even passed the Bechdel test – for their latest campaign they have gone one step further and is aiming to teach girls that they should dream big, embrace who they are and not feel pressured to adhere to the criteria synonmyous with classic Disney princess.

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For the #DreamBigPrincess campaign, Disney enlisted in 19 female photographers from all over the world to create portraits of strong, inspirational and, most importantly, real girls – from a Paralympian in China to young girls who are learning how to code on their computers – in the hope that girls will not fall into gender stereotypes later in life and that the notion of 'princess' becomes fully redefined.

dream big princess disney campaign
Grace, 14, is an cancer survivor and aspiring Paralympian. Photo: Kate Parker

Kate Parker, the author of Strong Is the New Pretty, is one of the photographers who participated in the series. ‘Like most kids, my daughters grew up having a lot of exposure to Disney and Disney princesses,’ she said. ‘So I wanted to find a way to combine an element of empowering princess and real girls.’ She photographed her 9-year-old daughter, Alice, and her soccer teammates all dressed in Disney princess costumes while playing in the mud, riding bicycles and kicking a football. ‘Princesses are great role models, they show strength and power and determination,’ Parker explained to Glamour, but she also felt it was important to readdress the stereotypes between tomboys and girly girls: ‘We have these contradictions within ourselves and I think that’s OK. You can be a tomboy and still care what you look like.’

dream big princess disney campaign
Ta'Kaia Blaney, 15, is a singer and environmental activist from British Columbia, and the youngest person to speak at the UN in Canada. Photo: Cristina Mittermeier

For the campaign, Disney has teamed up with Girl Up and from now until October 11 will donate $1 for every public post of the photo tagged with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess to the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, which works to encourage empowerment in young girls. The goal is to raise $1 for the foundation.

Watch the Disney Dream Big Photography campaign below:

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