Could Disney end up the most feminist of them all? If rumours that the Lean In founder and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is next in line for CEO are to be believed then the entertainment industry is looking at a long-awaited shake-up.
There’s been a lot in the media these past few years about the negative ramifications of Disney princesses as role models for young women. Girls shouldn’t be encouraged to give up their true selves for a man. Exhibit one – leggy and mute Ariel of The Little Mermaid. They shouldn’t expect a Prince Charming to come along and save the day – step up Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Cinderella should probably google ‘unions’ when she gets the chance. There’s no denying the classics contain a lot of antiquated notions. Our Roisin even wrote about how one US convent school is educating young women for the real world and killing princess expectations while they’re at it.
However, we have to admit we’re actually massive fans of some Disney princesses. Beauty and the Beast’s Belle has her priorities in order – as large a library as possible, please. Mulan kicks ass. Brave’s Merida doesn’t need a guy or a cute critter to help her save a kingdom. Hercules’ Meg gets all the best lines. Elsa in smash hit Frozen ends up saving the day through sisterly love instead of true love’s kiss.
Last month Sheryl Sandberg partnered with Getty Images to rethink stock imagery and this week she launched her Ban Bossy campaign to encourage leadership in young women. She even got Beyoncé on board to implore people to ban gendered insults like ‘bossy’. Having a woman like Sandberg at the helm of the world’s most influential company can only lead to excellent things. And if Sheryl can guarantee Bey the next Oscar-winning Original Song we think she should start straight away… Like yesterday.
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun