First of all...
Disney characters seem to be a perennial favorite for Halloween costumes, don't they? Elsa from Frozen is a big one this year, for sure. I love this (minor) reimagining of Disney princesses with something approaching normal waistlines!
Continuing along with the Disney princess theme, check out this tongue-in-cheek method of using Disney princess movies to indoctrinate your toddler as a feminist. Start 'em young, I say! ;) I like step 4:
Praise Belle for her love of reading, but segue into a discussion about the Stockholm syndrome as it relates to women, and how that might shed insight into the phenomenon of women who stay in toxic relationships.
And then, on the flip side, I really like how this article, "Disney Princesses Are My (Imperfect) Feminist Role Models", looks for - and finds - the feminist messages in Disney movies. Brings to mind that quote paraphrased from Voltaire: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
Taken as a whole, the Disney princess line offers a surprisingly diverse view of the female experience, ranging from the traditionally feminine Cinderella to the more traditionally masculine Mulan. These women are powerful, strong, and rational, but they are also emotional and sensitive. Most importantly, they are the main characters in their own stories. Too few well-written female characters can claim the same thing.
Perhaps the most important skill parents can teach their children is how to consume media critically. The generation-spanning Disney princess line is full of successes and failures when it comes to female representation. That makes it the perfect starting point for conversations about history, gender roles, and representation. With a little parental guidance, children can learn to separate the positive qualities of these female characters (kindness, empathy, bravery, intelligence, ingenuity) from the gender stereotypes they promote. And that’s an invaluable skill for young girls (and boys) to learn.
Lots of good food for thought in that article, including both the problematic and progressive aspects of Disney princesses. It's definitely worth a look...