LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - AUGUST 11: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, Princess Elena of Avalor, the first Latin-inspired Disney princess, receives a royal welcome during her arrival at Magic Kingdom Park on August 11, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Princess Elena's arrival at Walt Disney World follows the debut of the new Disney Channel animated series, "Elena of Avalor." The adventurous princess appears daily in "The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena" stage show at Magic Kingdom. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Seems like everything these days is challenged. And one thing some people have disagreed with is Disney Princess culture. But turns out it does in fact have a positive impact on young girls. The debate over princess culture is hardly new, but for fans of it, this is good news. Critics say “princess culture” promotes outdated gender stereotypes. However,  a new study out of Brigham Young University (BYU) challenges this and says Disney Princess Culture has a positive impact.

The study was conducted by BYU Developmental Psychologist Sarah Coyne. Coyne followed a group of kids beginning in preschool and continued the study into their early adolescence. She met with the children and discussed their views on the classic princess stories and talked with them about their views on men and women. The five-year study began in 2016. Coyne released her first findings that year. At the time she found that younger children, especially girls, did pick up the supposed “gender stereotypes” more so than the overarching themes of the movies and princesses like kindness or braveness.

This initial info wasn’t enough, however. So Coyne followed these children, totaling over 300, over time. Throughout the entirety of the study, it was found that those individuals who showed a higher interest in princess culture as toddlers and young children had positive associations with women and what they are capable of.

While this is great news I have to pose the question of why we even needed to study this? If the child enjoys the stories then honestly, that’s all the matters to me. We are all little for such a short time. You never get that child-like imagination back once it’s gone. And there is just so much more time to teach kids about the “realities” of life. Let them be little. If Disney Princess Culture can have a positive impact on kids, whether that is long-term or just short-term happiness then it should be embraced. If a child does not enjoy it there are plenty of other options for them to enjoy. Just look at the joy of this little girl meeting her favorite princesses. I don’t have kids yet, but these are the type of memories I hope to make with my children.

Whether it’s Elsa, Cinderella, or a non-princess character such a Nemo or Simba, isn’t this was it’s all about?


Gallery: Disney Princesses