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Princess Cultures

Mediating Girls’ Imaginations and Identities


Miriam Forman-Brunell and Rebecca C. Hains

Princesses today are significant figures in girls’ culture in the United States and around the world. Although the reign of girls’ princess culture has generated intense debate, this anthology is the first to bring together international and interdisciplinary perspectives on the multitude of princess cultures, continuously redrawn and recast by grownups and girls from the Ancien Régime to the New Millennium. Essays critically examine the gendered, racialized, classed, and ethnic meanings of royal figures and fairytale and pop culture princesses inscribed in folk tales, movies, cartoons, video games, dolls, and imitated in play and performance. Focusing on the representation and reception of the princess, this collection sheds new light on the position of princess cultures mediating the lives, imaginations, and identities of girls from toddlers to teenagers – and beyond.
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Chapter Seven: Princess Culture in Qatar: Exploring Princess Media Narratives in the Lives of Arab Female Youth




Although princesses have long been an important part of girls’ culture, most academic research in this area has focused on Western princess narratives and their significance in the lives of American and/or European girls. But what role do princess media narratives (e.g., Western and non-Western movies and TV shows about princesses as well as princess stories made by girls) play in the lives of Arab female youth who grew up in the Middle East? Which characters and gendered themes do Arab girls value? Which do they reject? And why? In view of the heavy circulation and popularity of Disney media in the Middle East, how do Arab girls interact with and interpret Disney’s representations of Arab and non-Arab princesses? And how have Arab girls’ encounters with both commercial and independent princess media shaped their cultural experiences and gendered identities? These are some of the questions my chapter seeks to answer.

Considering Arab girls’ marginalization in critical studies of media and youth, this chapter aims to bring Arab girls’ voices and viewpoints about princess media to the fore. In so doing, the project takes up calls by feminist scholars, such as Mary Celeste Kearney (2006, 2011), Emilie Zaslow (2009), and Rebecca Hains (2012a, 2012b), to do more research with girls within the field of girls’ media studies, while also following the lead of scholars such as Marwan Kraidy and Joe ← 139 | 140 → Khalil (2008) to investigate youth media culture in the Middle...

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