Because the world really, really, really needed more Disney princesses, the company just unveiled, “Sofia the First,” a preschool-aged princess. And, in case you blinked or sneezed earlier this year, Disney also has a line of big-eyed, small-waisted princess toddler dolls. (I bet they were born potty trained!)
This all reminds me of a story. Do you know the story of the Disney princess posse? I first learned about it years ago from a fantastic New York Times Magazine article by Peggy Orenstein. If you don’t know the story, gather around and put down your iPhones for a moment. Or at least put them on vibrate. (And yes, I’m paraphrasing A LOT.)
Once upon a time, Disney’s princesses lived and worked alone. Snow White hung out mainly with her dwarves. Ariel lived under the sea. And poor Cinderella was stuck cooking and cleaning for her bitchy stepmother and stepsisters all by her lonesome. There were others too. Many of them toiled away in relative obscurity. And then, about 10 years ago, a wise marketing man had an idea: The princesses should be friends! Unite the princesses! And so, he waved a magic wand and created one sparkly princess megabrand. And, as Cinderella’s fairy godmother once said, “Put ‘em together and what have you got? Bippity boppity boo!” Or, to put it another way, “Cha Ching!”
But, here’s my issue. Enough with the princesses already! So, now they have baby princesses. Preschool princesses. And enough princess merchandise to decorate your home and the home of everyone you know or are at least Facebook friends with. Bedspreads. Galoshes. Toothbrushes. Costumes. Wedding dresses (for adults). Underwear. Hats. Clocks. And snack food.
It’s time for something new. Something girls can embrace – and perhaps, one day even aspire to become.
Here’s my idea. Drumroll…
The Disney Mayoral Collection. As in, a Mayor, the woman or man who runs a city, municipality or town. How many princesses are in the current Disney line? Eight or nine? The Mayoral Collection has thousands (hundreds? I don’t know really but I’ll look it up on Wikipedia if asked) of potential licensed characters.
There’s a ton of stuff that could be sold with the collection. My costumes would include pantsuits, skirts, and button-down shirts. There’s also a dress-up version for the little girl (or little boy) who wants to pretend they’re attending a fundraising dinner. Accessories like briefcases, pens and American flag lapel pins will also each be sold separately.
A year or so after we introduce it, we’d launch the “Mayoral Re-Election Collection” which includes campaign buttons, microphones, podiums, and lawn signs. All of the posters come with a blank line where a kid can write in her or his own name: “Re-Elect Mayor Ella,” “Zachary for Mayor” and even the old standby, “Mayor Chloe Welcomes You to Our City.” And, free with every purchase, a Twitter account and ghostwriter.
The Mayoral Collection would be more educational than what Disney currently offers children through their princess line. Kids can pretend to head up local governments, balance budgets, run meetings and hold press conferences. Most importantly, they develop a sense of civic pride. What do princesses do all day? Dress up? Tote around purses? Wave? Get photographed with imagined “baby bumps.”
And, of course, we’ll have a movie. What’s a Disney product without a movie? Or is that, what’s a Disney movie without a product? (Whatever.) The movie will be about a smart yet naïve young woman who runs an election campaign against the city’s corrupt and morally bankrupt Mayor. The odds will be stacked against her. There will be obstacles. But, with hard work and a fairy godmother in the form of a wise campaign manager on her side, she just might pull it off. (She will be played, of course, by Anne Hathaway. And yes, she’ll get a makeover twenty minutes into the film.)
So, those are my ideas. Do any of you have plans to visit Disneyland over break? If yes, can you print this out for me and hand it out to anyone you see in costume? Except Pluto. He’s useless.