Mediating Girls’ Imaginations and Identities
Edited By Miriam Forman-Brunell and Rebecca C. Hains
When I was four years old, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959) stirred my interest in things princess. But only briefly. After yet another pair of recently-purchased, much longed for and poorly produced plastic slippers cracked the moment I stood up, I grew disillusioned and gave up on princess culture.
Decades later, students in a course I taught on the history of girlhood reawakened my notice of the princess. It is to my insightful students, first at Wellesely College and since 1994 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, to whom I am indebted for inspiring me to probe the princess. At the American Play, Sports, Games, Entertainment, and Fantasy in American Culture Conference at the Strong National Museum of Play, in Rochester, New York and at the World Congress of the International Toy Research Association Conference on Toys & Culture in Nafplion, Greece, the enthusiastic audiences offered lots more excellent suggestions. I incorporated these into “The Graceful and Gritty Princess: Managing Girlhoods from the New Nation to the New Millennium,” an essay published in the American Journal of Play in 2009. I co-authored the essay with Julie Eaton whose insights into contemporary princess culture deepened my understandings.
The outstanding contributors to this lively collection, especially Diana Anselmo-Sequeira, opened my eyes to unforeseen princess cultures. A bevy of other wonderful women made this princess project come true. My co-editor, Rebecca Hains, or “Princess Rebecca,” made collaborating on this collection a pleasure. ← vii | viii → At Peter Lang, it...
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