And They Lived Happily Ever After. The End? Postfeminism and the Rebranding of the Disney Princesses
Walters, Heather LeighAnn
This thesis uses the framework of postfeminist theory to critically examine the marketing materials and modern merchandise associated with the classic-era Disney Princesses, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the revisionist live-action films and/or merchandise in which these characters appear. Throughout my thesis, I argue that the Walt Disney Company is rebranding the Disney Princess franchise in an effort for these characters to remain current and relevant with audiences and consumers so that their profitability can be maintained. Analyzing the posters, trailers, and merchandise of the revisionist live-action films, I have found that Disney has utilized and commodified the neoliberalist rhetoric of girl power, female empowerment, and individualism in order to rebrand Disney’s most retrograde princess characters. Furthermore, I analyze the rhetoric of Disney’s “Dream Big, Princess” advertising campaign to understand the messages the company is promulgating to its broadly-aged female audience and how they are aligning such messages with their well-known princess characters.