Traditionally pop culture portrays witches as Halloween novelties, manifestations of horror or comedic social tricksters. On occasion there are kindly witches and even inconsequential ones. However rarely is there ever a traditional, pointy-hat wearing pop-culture witch who has been constructed as a childhood role model. That is exactly what has been done by the National Social Climate Center (NSCC). In 2010 the Center’s BullyBust Program teamed up with the Broadway Cast of Wicked to develop an anti-bullying educator toolkit.
The Disney princess paradigm is defined by a system of American ideological and aesthetic codes that are known to the Disney artists and their viewers. The heroine is recognized when she stands on a balcony letting her long hair blow in the breeze, when she sings in the forest, or when she wishes for that which is beyond her grasp…The attributes are visual, narrative, and musical. Although the specifics have been updated, revised, and reformulated to conform to contemporary ideology, the essence of the Disney princess formula has remained intact. As Walt put it, we always root for ‘Cinderella and the Prince.’
I wrote that in 1998 after completing an extensive two-year study on nine of Disney’s animated heroines. Now let’s flash forward 15 years to 2013. Disney has released the latest edition to its Princess Collection: Frozen. How has the princess formula been “updated to conform to contemporary ideology”?