THERE ARE SOME things you can say about American Kids even before studying and analyzing the numbers, like - they are the targets of a lot of marketing. Each new kid movie comes with a whole line of merchandise around it – with pictures on everything from tooth brushes to cereal boxes to bathing suits. The Disney “princess phenomenon”, especially, has been the subject of much parental hand-wringing and writing, with books like Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the new Girlie-Girl Culture.
Kids These Days! Contributor Jessica Cochran is the daughter of a Barbie-loving feminist economist, and the mother of a not-too-girly daughter, so she decided to look a little closer at the whole “princess” thing. She spoke with: Dr. Susan Linn, founder of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and author of The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World; Dr. Dan Cook, Associate Professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University; and Dr. Karen Wohlwend of Indiana University who authored a recent study on how girls use stories in princess play.