As a little girl, it is nearly impossible not to look up to the glorified Disney Princesses such as Cinderella and Belle. They were smart, kind, talented and above all — good looking. You can’t miss their cute faces, lean bodies, thin arms and legs, tiny waists and big breasts. The movies sometimes correlate success to attractiveness, like in Beauty and the Beast, when Gaston says that Belle is the best girl in the town based on the fact that she’s the most beautiful one.
Po Bronson, author of the article “Do Disney Princess Make Young Girls Obsessed With Thinness?“, noticed these trends as well, and wondered if they were affecting his young daughter. She had often expressed concerns about her appearance. He describes a study that found that most girls don’t really start correlating body image messages from the media until about age 7, but after that age they become very susceptible. It is easy to see how a child would compare a princess’ body to their own and feel like they need to be skinnier. In the study, 121 girls from the ages of 3 to 6 were shown pictures of ballerinas of varying weights and were asked to select which one was the “real princess”. Fifty percent of them chose the thinnest ballerina, and a very small percentage chose the heaviest.
It’s obvious that these cartoon depictions of princesses portray complete perfection. These animated women are flawless. They must have pretty rigid diet and exercise schedules! If the animators knew that these women would be shown to millions of little girls, then why would they draw them all this way? Is this the ideal woman we need our children to one day embody? The animators may not have thought of the unintended consequences of drawing fictional princesses in this manner, but they are definitely present in our society. All women these days hope to be a little thinner, or at least would want to change their appearance in some way.