So why has the clock struck midnight for Disney's fairy tales?
Among girls, princesses and the romanticized ideal they represent — revolving around finding the man of your dreams — have a limited shelf life. With the advent of "tween" TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models such as the Disney Channel's Selena Gomez and Nickelodeon's Miranda Cosgrove.
"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."
I think the part that gets me is that small girls are already looking at "being hot" and taking on adolescent role models.
Granted, Disney will continue to make money from its library of princess classics for the next three or four hundred years.
And in the world of children's literature, while the fairy tale is no longer being made into picture books, it seems to have morphed into the fairy tale retelling for middle grade and young adult readers.
Still, Disney divorcing the princess? What a strange and sobering thought!
Update #1: Amy has followed up on this post with a great riff on princesses, her favorite childhood book characters, and just how Disney (and pop culture) gets it wrong over at Amy's Library of Rock.
Update #2: See also this post at Once Upon a Blog on Disney's decision, especially in connection with the box office success of Tangled. Thanks to Enchanted Inkpot author Marissa Meyer for the link!