It's a case of ironic timing: while media are enthralled by the prospect of another royal wedding, the Los Angeles Times reports that Disney's newest animated feature, Tangled, marks the end of its fairy tale era. (Disney countered that "the Disney fairytale," at least, is alive and well.)
According to writers Dawn C. Chmielewski and Claudia Eller, young girls aren't that interested in playing princess anymore. The ideal of "femininity" has been supplanted by TV "tweens" such as Miley Cyrus and striving to be "cool" or "hot." Chmielewski and Eller say such ideals have replaced the princess tropes, which revolve around "finding the man of your dreams."
In my opinion, the modern pop starlet is just the less-clothed equivalent of the fairy princess, since little girls who dream of becoming Miley Cyrus are rarely thinking about the work involved in her job. So this doesn't seem like a step forward to me. And even though idolizing a princess for marrying a prince doesn't seem healthy, idolizing Lady Gaga is no better.
Disney's attempt in Tangled to reinvent the tale of Rapunzel resulted in a much more traditional romance than Disney classics Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, which were about finding love while vanquishing evil. Mourning the possible "end of fairy tales," pastor Mike Cosper notes at The Gospel Coalition that they introduce children to the idea of meta-narrative. He writes, "Maybe the idea of being part of a larger story (like the redeemed kingdom of Sleeping Beauty) doesn't connect to a world of narcissism, where the story is all about us (like Hannah Montana)." Likewise, First Things notes that Tangled effectively loses the moral context of the traditional fairy tale, in part by "streamlin[ing] its heroine, who still ...1
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