18 April 2011
Beauty is in the Eye of the Corporation
“I’m going to Disney World!” shouts the quarterback of the winning team. This scene is played out every year in front of millions of football fans watching at home with their children. Who is this advertisement focused on? Is Disney Corp. telling grown ups they should vacation there because that’s where rich football players go? Absolutely not! This promotion is bypassing the grownups altogether and attacking their true target audience. Disney’s marketing demographic is children. Everything about Disney is designed to entertain and capture the attention of kids. Disney is not only creating a market based solely on children it is telling these kids who and what is beautiful and desirable. This was clearly the goal of the Flagship Disney store that I walked into at the South Shore Plaza Mall in Braintree, MA. It was amazing to see the imaginary worlds of Disney movies captured in the cold, hard, sophisticated products of the capitalistic machine. Forget the adults, they might as well be walking bank accounts when they enter the world of fantasy that Disney has created for today’s youngsters. I was bombarded by the amazing array of colors as soon as I entered the door. When I regained my focus and was able to actually look around I wondered if Disney had somehow separated their store chains into individual stores for girls and boys. Very quickly I realized that the store actually had toys and other products for both boys and girls but was overwhelmingly geared towards girls. Not only was 90 percent of the product gendered feminine the majority of that 90 percent female product was what I would call princess product. Furthermore over 60 percent of the Princesses displayed were raced white. At this moment in time I realized that this store was the intersection of capitalist marketing, racial stigmatization, and the scripting of young girls.