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.
“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.
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?”
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.”
Photo credits: Alyssa Pane