Beyond Princess Culture: Gender and Children's Marketing

Edited by Tricia M. Farwell and Katherine A. Foss

Marketers of children’s products are responding to changes in culture regarding the types of and methods of selling children’s products. Target, along with other stores, have attempted to reduce the blue-pink aisle divide regarding children’s toys. However, these attempts seem to draw backlash as they are only surface level changes and consumers are asking for more. Studies are beginning to carry out the message that children’s play time can reinforce gender stereotypes as well. A 2016 study confirmed that preschoolers who engage in princess play are more likely to carry out female gender-stereotypical behavior (Coyne et al., 2016). In both scholarly and mainstream communities, there is growing awareness of the negative effects of Disney Princess Culture and gender-stereotypical play.  And yet, little research has addressed children’s media beyond this space, especially products designed to counter or broaden gender norms. 

In this proposed book, we will explore the impact of a post-princess space through the examination of the context for marketing children’s products, the narratives surrounding children’s products, the marketing of products designed to challenge gender roles, spark agency and empowerment in their users, and examinations of marketing that offers alternatives to rigidly gender-coded princess culture. Using theories and frameworks from feminist and gender studies, this anthology will collectively critique the commodification of the post-princess child consumer.

We seek chapter proposals about the marketing of products for children and/or the marketing of children’s products to adults. Chapters should be written through a Cultural Studies and critical feminist lens, with attention given to the intersectionality of sex, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and other characteristics. Both qualitative and quantitative projects are welcome.

Suggested Topics: Gender & children’s marketing in. . . .

·         A particular historical moment or campaign
·         Different cultures/communities (or cross-cultural)
·         Social media/across platforms
·         Gaming or virtual reality
·         A category or type of product
·         Narratives of marketing children
·         Consumer movements regarding children’s products
·         STEM/STEAM toys
·         Response to cultural movements and/or consumer response to marketer’s actions

Submit a 350 word abstract and a short bio to with the subject line “Beyond Princess Culture Proposed Chapter” by 1 October 2017 to  Notification of selection will be by 30 October 2017. Full chapters will be due by 15 January 2018.  Questions and inquiries can be sent to or