When I was in kindergarten I was obsessed with Disney princess hair. You know, hair that tumbled down to my bum and could help me slide on out of a bad locked-in-a-tower situation. Unfortunately for me, my mum insisted my hair was cut into a bob (which to be fair, is the best you can hope for with very fine, very cow-licked hair).
So I had to make do with wearing a towel on my head kept in place with a headband which I would pretend was my princess hair while I warbled through the Ariel song. Later my dad bought me a pink baseball cap that had a dead-looking pony tail attached to the back of it. It is still quite probably the best gift that I have ever received.
Thing is, my obsession with Disney princesses stopped when I was approximately six. But it turns out that I might be entirely alone in this, because the latest entrance into the internet genre that is a complete and unending obsession with Disney princesses is this: Disney princess-inspired bikinis.
Yep, as People noted, the new line, called Enchanted Bikinis, is proof that “anything these days can be princess-ified”.
Which princess (at the beach) are you?
The range – designed for grown-up wannabe princesses – lets you choose from Pocahontas, Snow White, the original bikini babe Ariel and more. People notes that you can also pick up accessories to go with your ‘kini, including a mermaid seashell purse.
The company’s website says of their bikinis, “Our mission is to let the princess in you glow and enchant everyone and everything around, when you wear your Enchanted Bikini. We believe that every woman can feel this way without putting on a costume.” And apparently there’s a range of swim trunks for aspiring Prince Charmings.
Thing is, it’s not in the least surprising that there is a range of Disney princess-inspired bikinis. As Heather Dorkray noted on Mashable, the internet can’t get enough of Disney princesses.
“Next to Harry Potter and Donald Trump just generally breathing, there is nothing the internet (and myself) loves more than a good Disney princess story. Last October, playbuzz.com’s quiz, “Which punk Disney princess are you?” received over 743,000 shares—making it one of the top trending Disney punk posts of all time,” she writes.
Then there are all the ‘re-imagined’ Disney princesses – Disney princesses as different races, Disney princesses with their periods, Disney princesses as hot dogs, even Disney princesses as “real life women”.
And there are a lot of reasons why we can’t get enough Disney princess – for one thing, the internet basically runs on nostalgia and for millennials, Disney princesses have it in spades.
As Rosanna Guadagno, associate professor of psychology and emerging media technologies at UT-Austin, told Mashable, “There’s a nostalgic component for many women of my generation. We grew up watching Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. It brings warm fuzzy feelings to us about our childhood.”
But just as there is a very dark side to fairytales (*sound the obvious-point klaxon) so too is there in the grinding obsession with Disney princesses online. It’s not just the problematic nature of glorifying princesses who are defined by their beauty and who mostly don’t go to work. It’s that it makes sense when the world seems to be run by beasts and toads and money is tight and buying a house seems impossible, that Disney princesses and fairytales have appeal. Disney princesses in various guises are a shareable meme that sunnily covers over the fact that many in this generation won’t hit the milestones of adulthood, or at least, not for some time (and not without giving up their smashed avocado).
And it would be remiss to mention that the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie (starring Emma Watson who took GLORIA STEINEM to a screening to make sure that it was feminist enough) is currently sending people of all ages into a state of pure ecstasy (honestly, seeing it, for me and my screeching fellow cinema goers, was practically a religious experience). But now we’re back in bikinis?
But perhaps the other irksome thing about Disney princess mania is that it divides the world into two camps – those who believe in happily ever after, and well, the rest of us.
As Amy Odell wrote in Vanity Fair on Disney princess obsession and the work of photo essayist Dana Goldstein who depicts Disney princesses in depressing real-life situations in Fallen Princesses,
“The very thing that repels some people from princess-fan posts probably also repels people from social media: the aura of perfection and the mindless enthusiasm over nothing. There’s as much viral content to get angry about as there is to celebrate. Those whose commentary goes beyond knee-jerk reactions, like Goldstein’s, are the at once celebrated and loathed outliers.”
Which brings us back to those Disney princess bikinis.
As one twitter user noted, there are those that would wear a Disney princess-inspired bikini and those who would rather eat their own elbow. And aren’t fairytales meant to make us understand each other better, despite our differences?
There is no way I have anything in common with an adult woman who wears a Disney princess themed bikini.
— Jacqueline Felker (@whattheFELK)
March 15, 2017