This weekend, no fewer than a dozen people sent me links to this Jezebel article about Disney Princess lingerie being sold by a Japanese retailer. The images were also all over my facebook feed. Check them out:
Although this line is Japanese and is not available here in the States, it’s yet another example of Disney Princess lifestyle branding — an extension of the Disney Princess brand into ever-more-personal realms. The goal of such marketing is to encourage consumers to have a deep identification with the brand—to make the brand central to one’ own identity.
Some people (including the author of the piece at Jezebel) questioned whether these could possibly be licensed products that have the blessing of Disney. One commenter was doubtful, noting that princesses don’t even look right—perhaps they’re knock-offs? But, no—these are actually the most current versions of the Princesses available in Disney Consumer Products Division merchandise, as found on disneyprincess.com.
So, I chatted with my friend Satomi about the ads. She lives in Japan and was already familiar with the company selling these items. “These are sold at ‘Belle Maison,’ a pretty big mail order company,” Satomi explained. “I actually have its wish book right in front of me. It was from a project that people could apply to and if their designs were chosen, they were commercialized.”
“These were for the 20th anniversary project of it’s ‘Disney Fantasy Shop,'” she noted. “I’m sure it’s licensed. They usually deal with original stuff, such as t-shirts, accessories, and furniture. They also carry Mickey t-shirts designed by famous designers.” She sent me these snapshots of their other Disney-licensed products from her copy of Belle Maison’s wish book:
Here’s her approximate translation of the ad copy (she said it’s full of jargon, making the translation tricky):
The highest prize: [Two people’s names—people who won the design contest]
Lingerie like princesses’ dresses
Belle: “In the image of the Belle’s dress, which is airy texture and elegant, it is made pouffy with gather. The rose at the front of bra makes it noble, gorgeous, and classy.” (She added, “It’s sad that they misspelled ‘Belle’ in the ad, even though the company’s name is ‘Belle Maison.'”)
Cinderella: “So that it would have the nuance of a glass slipper, we used delicate glazed chiffon. The color lace makes it like a lily, holding the image of the choker that decorates Cinderella’s neck.”
“The princess’s world you can enjoy secretly”
Aurora: “Describing princess Aurora’s sharp-line dress with tucks and pleats. We put the rose with lace and ribbon in a careful manner, which evokes Aurora’s story.”
Rapunzel: “‘Reproducing’ Rapunzel’s dress with lace-up ribbon. Besides holding lily turn of Rapunzel, we put neat and classy vanilla-colored lace and flowers.”
So, there you have it: Disney Princess apparel for your most intimate moments, meant to help you secretly enjoy the princess world. I suppose you could also wear them under your Disney Princess wedding gown or prom dress, with your Disney Princess shoes, in your home painted with Disney Princess paints or on your Disney Princess honeymoon. You can always slip into your Disney Princess New Balance sneakers afterwards—which will be great when you run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Or when you play Princess-Opoly with the little girls in your life or read to them from the Princess Devotional Bible. Because in today’s world of gender segmentation and gendered marketing, there’s nothing better than all princess, all the time, right?
Rebecca Hains is a media studies professor at Salem State University. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Unreal..thanks for posting.
I love Disney….but…this reminds of me when my daughter was about 3-and-a-half. She loved the Tinkerbelle movie. When I knew a particular part of the movie was coming up, I watched her facial reaction. This particular part is when Tinkerbelle was frustrated that the boys were not paying attention to her….so she fixed the situation by flying back to her home…got out a pair of scissors and cut up her oversized leafy dress into a skimpy cocktail dress with legs and cleavage. Tinkerbelle flew back to the boys and they all dropped their chins on the ground and eyes popped out of their head…Disney’s message to my daughter…want a boys attention…dress sexy…otherwise your a mere distraction….I watched the look on my daughters face and in her eyes, I could see the reflection of the images from the TV; her wheels were spinning, the message was clear for her to see. She is now five-and-a-half and we talk frequently about these things, the nonsense and the things that matter. As a Dad, I intend to stay on top of it as my daughter’s well-being lies in the balance.
Wow, I did not even realize that scene was in there!! Yikes.
I think this is creepy. It’s a personal feeling – the idea of women getting “sexy” as disney princesses seems infantalizing. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do this – I’m just feeling icked out.
this is crazy… but I have to say I’m not surprised. Though I liked the Disney princess stuff until around the age of 7, now I get a sick feeling to my stomach when I think about those movies…
Well to be honest many women are still interested in Disney Princesses when we grow up myself included. I will be 30 next month and I personally don’t see the big deal with a Disney inspired lingerie set. It’s not as if a lingerie set is being marketed to little girls, it’s being marketed to women that still loved Disney.
All I know is my 5-year old daughter loves, loves Disney Princess. I spend a lot of time talking to her about body image and what she sees on TV/Movies etc. Disney Princess offer only one body image, an image unattainable my most. On top of that, like I said previously, she learns that in order to get a guys attention…it starts with image before character, intelligence, personality etc. So she quickly does the math in her young mind that she must be attractive first, then the later…