You know, when I first wrote the article, “What’s Wrong With Cinderella?” in the NY Times Magazine, I doubt anyone would have asked that question, let alone a male reviewer at the Times itself. But the sexualization/diva-fication/commodification of princess culture has subsequently become so extreme that now a lead sentence like that, which appeared in today’s NY Times, seems merely an in-the-know joke. It was proferred as part of a glowing account of a show by cabaret singer Lea Salonga at the Cafe Carlyle:
What’s the difference between a Disney princess and a prostitute? Not much if you are Lea Salonga, the Filipino diva who joked last week about having played both types, as she opened her new cabaret show, “New York in June,” at the Cafe Carlyle.
Ms. Salonga seemed fully aware that psychologically the line between one and the other isn’t all that clear anymore; nowadays little girls are exploited and commodified from the time they’re toddlers.
The most incisive juxtaposition of songs in the show paired “I Enjoy Being a Girl,” from “Flower Drum Song,” delivered in a tone of angry sarcasm, with “Femininity,” from the 1963 Disney movie “Summer Magic,” sung with honeyed perkiness. The way to “catch a beau,” “Femininity” advises, is “to be demure, sweet and pure” and “hide the real you.”
In other news, this week’s Geena Davis Institute newsletter highlights two interesting if somewhat contradictory stories:
The second is on how almost NO summer films are geared towards women. And few, precious few, are directed by women.
Wonder which will prove more true?