According to a new report, images portrayed by Disney princesses can actually damage a child’s self image, even those as young as three or four.


According to a study by Brigham Young University which was published in Child Development, the likes of Cinderella, Mulan and Pocahontas are not seen as good role models for young kids.


Researcher Sarah Coyne looked at 198 pre-schoolers and analysised how they interacted with Disney’s ‘princess culture’: watching movies, playing with dolls and reading books.


Sarah found that at least 96% of girls and 87% of boys had been subjected to some kind of princess content.



A year after her initial studies, Sarah went back to the same children and found that the more they watched or played with Disney princess, the more they displayed stereotypical behaviour.


“We know that girls who strongly adhere to female gender stereotypes feel like they can’t do some things,” she explained.


 “They’re not as confident that they can do well in math and science. They don’t like getting dirty, so they’re less likely to try and experiment with things.”


Highlighting how they impact on a child’s sense of capability, Sarah concluded: “Disney Princesses represent some of the first examples of exposure to the thin ideal.”


“As women, we get it our whole lives, and it really does start at the Disney Princess level, at age three and four.”


However, the same cannot be said for boys; according to the results of the study, Sarah found that boys who were engaged by Disney characters actually had higher self esteem.


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