VIDEO: Stuff You Like vs. the Disney Princesses

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In this episode of Stuff You Like, Sursum Ursa decries the marketing machine of the Evil Empire (AKA Disney), and their ongoing efforts to sell a crapload of glittery pink and purple merchandise to impressionable little girls by convincing them to want nothing more than to be princesses like Aurora and Ariel.

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  • Joel Kazoo

    After watching your totally awesome episode (I agree, little girls need variety in their lives. If I ever had a daughter, I would see to it she had experiences similar to yours), I was suddenly inundated with a Progresso commercial that told me eating soup will make me pretty. What do you think about that?

    • Jill Bearup

      I think you’re beautiful just the way you are?

      (Seriously, though: this soup will make you beautiful? I worry for humanity.)

  • Launchpad25

    Your video was pretty insightful. I’m A guy, and for the past decade, Disney seems to be putting itself in A ‘pink princess’ box just so they could ignore the variety of other things they were once known for. Look at Disney Channel. You can tell that the majority of their programing is formulaic tween sitcoms with A female lead. ‘Lizzie McGuire’, ‘Hanna Montana’, and Wizards Of Waverly Place’ come to mind. Now these shows don’t interest me in the least since I’m not in the target demographic, and what I liked from Disney were the classic cartoons, some of their movies, and shows like ‘Ducktales’, ‘Chip n’Dale’s Rescue Rangers’, ‘Talespin’, ‘Darkwing Duck’, ‘Goof Troop’, and ‘Gargoyles’, Stuff that appealed to A much wider audience beyond the ‘Lizzie McGuire’, and ‘Hanna Montana’ crowd that had good writing, animation, and humor. That’s what i miss from Disney. Nowadays, I hang my head in shame at how Disney Channel only limits it’s audience to the same demographic that made ‘sparkly vampires’ into A ‘cultural phenomenon’. It’s like Disney Channel is run by the marketing department who only know how to market to little girls. On the flip side, I was pleasantly surprised with ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’ for being A fun, clever, and entertaining show. Lauren Faust has taken the franchises’ ‘cutsey-poo’ stigma, and turned it on it’s head with some of the ‘Powerpuff’ wit, and charm she got from her husband, Craig McCracken. While it looks bright, colorful, and girly, ‘Friendship Is Magic’ has some clever writing, sneaky jokes, and visual comic gags that you normally wouldn’t get from A ‘My Little Pony’ cartoon. Resulting in it’s male fan base referred to as ‘bronies’, and also giving the show variety. The marketing of the toys, however, is the exact opposite. Another example is ‘She-Ra’. The series, which was A spin-off of ‘He-Man, had conflict as She-Ra, leads The Great Rebellion to fight The Horde with the same ‘good vs. evil’ formula of ‘He-Man’. The toy line, is the exact opposite as well. That’s all I’d like to say on the matter. Overall, this video was fairly insightful.

    • Jill Bearup

      Disney has gone pretty much the opposite direction to LEGO. Both used to be able to appeal to everyone, but Disney has gone girl (though the cartoons, like Phineas and Ferb, are swinging back around to ‘boys’) and LEGO has gone ‘boy’ (hence the need for LEGO Friends in the first place. If they’d worked out how to keep appealing to both sexes, they wouldn’t have needed a massive R&D project to come up with pink and purple ‘Ladyfigs’.)

      Also, ‘Ladyfigs’ sounds like some kind of minor gynaecological complaint. Just sayin’.

      • Launchpad25

        While ‘Phineas, and Ferb’ is aiming for boys, It’s art style seems Un-Disney to me. I miss the quality animation, and character designs that Disney was best known for. Particularly in the Tad Stones era of Disney TV animation. Now, they have simple, generic, unappealing designs, and as someone who loves drawing Uncle Scrooge, or Darkwing Duck, that saddens me. Now don’t get me wrong, I like some simplified drawing styles, but some of Disney’s attempts at that just don’t do it for me. The only Animation studio that still produces quality animation for TV would be Warner Bros. Animation, and in some cases, Film Roman. There may be A few others, but those two are the only one that do the kind of TV animation I miss from the late 80’s, and 90’s.

  • I have to admit, your accent combined with my unfamiliarity with British periodicals had me thinking you’d said, “Shite Magazine” for a second until you flashed an image of it up on the screen.

    • Jill Bearup

      *snort* I should probably work on that. Or just talk about Shout/S***e Magazine less, perhaps… 🙂

  • Ben Pratt

    I totally thought you said “shite” magazine, too. Seems like a subliminal thing. Anyway, LOVE your voice, AND your accent.

  • Grimevil

    I think the pony cartoon was created to promote the toys, not the other way around. But even though the toys aren’t the marketing tool for the cartoon, it is hard to deny that My Little Pony Friendship is Magic has become something much more than oryginally intended 🙂 I wonder if there ever will be a Derpy pony toy…
    As for Disney… they probably just want to play it safe, there are so many moral guardians “protecting” children, so it simply easier to design advertasing campains that promote the blandest and the safest vision of the Princesses. They don’t want to hear “My little, girl watched Mulan and now she is gay” or something like that, that the media is bound to publicise, because it’s sensational.

    • Launchpad25

      That’s another thing about Disney that really angers me! They’re more interested in their princesses, and their tween stars that they completely ignore Mickey, and friends to the point where they relegate them to toddlers! If they want to ‘play it safe’ like that, it kinda makes you wonder why they bought Marvel in the first place. And is Disney so worried that some kid might discover ‘DuckTales’, or ‘Darkwing Duck’ that they might like them over ‘Lizzie McGuire’, or ‘Hanna Montana’ (Especially since those shows are 100 time better than that girly crap!) I mean, once upon A time, Mickey, and friends were everywhere in their merchandising. Nowadays, they get pushed aside in favor of the princess, and tween bimbos! I hate how Disney goes out of it’s way to make itself so bland, and safe that the wipe out anything that somewhat resembles quality, or has wider appeal. If it wasn’t for Pixar, Disney would be utter crap. If Disney had some decency left, they would embrace their past reputation, and try to learn from Pixar how to make good animated movies again, and not water itself down to the point of blandness.

      • Sofie Liv

        They bought Marvel because they lacked “A boy trend.”

        They had the girls covered with Princess’s and the tween starts, but lacked some-thing to sell exclusively to boys. Their initial idea was to try and create it, which is where “Pirates of the Carribbean.” and “John Carter.” comes into the picture, but then they decided just to buy it instead, and now you know why John Carter wasn’t as heavily promoted as it should, because it didn’t matter to them any longer, cause they had bought Marvel to produce toy from to boys.