The Birth of the Princess-Mania

Kara Powell | Feb 16, 2011

As a mom of 2 daughters and a youth leader, the title of Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, had me intrigued as soon as I heard it. I’ve enjoyed reading/skimming it these last few days.

Orenstein traced the birth of the Princess-Mania that is now pervasive for toddler and elementary school kids. She met with Disney executive, Andy Mooney, who had an epiphany at a “Disney on Ice” show in Phoenix. He found himself surrounded by little girls in princess costumes. Princess costumes that were - gasp, shudder - HOMEMADE.

Mooney knew that this was a branding opportunity that Disney had overlooked. The next day he called together his team and started working on Princess paraphernalia. The rest is history - a very profitable history.

Orenstein does a good job describing the ambiguity that parents feel about all that is Disney Princesses. In the next few blog posts, I’ll talk about some of the downsides of Princess fever.

But in the meantime, I think it’s interesting how the Princess multi-gazillion industry started - at a simple ice show when an executive noticed something in the crowd.

It’s a good word for us as leaders and parents. What are teenagers telling us that we might be missing because we’re not hearing it? How can we be more aware to needs, trends, and opportunities that might be staring us in the face?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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