Sociologist Edits Daughter’s “What Is A Princess?” Book, Creates Awesome Feminist Narrative

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Meet Danielle Lindemann. As a sociologist who studies gender roles, she always thought she was pretty attuned to the perils of princess culture, but she says having an almost 3-year-old daughter of her own “cranked that awareness up to a whole new level.” So when her daughter received Disney’s “What Is A Princess?” book as a gift, and wanted to read it over and over, Danielle decided to make some creative edits to the story, and wound up creating an awesome feminist narrative.

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“The constant inundation with princess stuff drives me crazy, because it’s basically teaching these little girls that their worth lies in looking nice and hooking up with the right guy. Still. In 2016.” So Danielle said that “to prevent my eyes from rolling permanently back in my head,” every time her daughter wanted to read her new princess book, she made her edits… simply as a lark.

click each image to enlarge

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And what did her daughter think of the tweaks to her beloved book? “It’s weird because I expected her to react to the edits, but she sort of just rolled with them,” Danielle shared. “Maybe the new narrative seemed natural to her. Why *wouldn’t* Cinderella have sparkly shoes and also be a neurosurgeon?”

Amused by her handiwork and thinking others might be as well, Danielle decided to post her edits to her Facebook page. Social media “liked” her work A LOT, and then someone suggested Danielle submit the edited pages to Sociological Images. They were subsequently featured by the site’s editor and principal writer, Lisa Wade, PhD. “I guess from there it’s going a little viral?”

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Putting some perspective on the larger picture, Danielle made it a point to note, “Of course, of all the gender-related problems in the world, the representation of princesses in children’s books is not high on the list, but it is a symptom of a larger culture that’s telling girls and women what their worth is (or isn’t).”

Given her newfound success (and viral fame) as an editor, we asked Danielle if she’d ever consider adding author to her resume. She told us, “I don’t currently have plans to write a children’s book, though that might be fun.”

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Photo credits: Alyssa Pane

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  • J3551C4

    This reminds me of the Hacker Barbie book back in 2014. I would not complain if we came up with a Disney version. ^_^

  • Rachel Robles

    You know I get that Disney princesses get a bad rap, but as a feminist who grew up with them I think a lot of it is undeserved. Sure they’re not perfect, but every single one of them has their strengths in her own way. Take Snow White (who admittedly isn’t my favorite).. she’s one of the most despised by some feminists, and yet she kept her positivity when her stepmother The Queen abused her. And don’t even get me started on the new era of Badasses that Ariel helped kick off: Belle, Jasmine, Esmeralda, Megara, Kida, Tiana, and ESPECIALLY Mulan (we’ll count her), Merida, and now Moana. If I had a kid I’d gladly buy them Disney princess merch and explain why I think each one is special. 🙂

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