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Disney Fairies online game finally adds a male character

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You are so cool! Are fairies always so skinny and pretty like you?
-9-year-old girl to a Disney fairy

After months of lobbying by its players, Disney Fairies® finally added a male character option to its online game's avatar line-up. However, this controversy is simply the latest in Disney®'s long and checkered past when it comes to celebrating the important strengths of all genders and cultures. Fortunately, The Fairy Line™ has always upheld positive character traits in our fairies.

Last year, Suzy Freeman-Greene echoed fears about the effect that the "unfailingly sweet [fairies], inanely giggling beauties" invading popular culture could have on the young female psyche. She went on to to call for the resurgence of the disappearing breed of feisty fairies.

As the most popular fairies on the market, the Disney Fairies® received the brunt Greene's wrath. A mother herself, her concerns emerged when she saw what exactly young girls admired. Rather than focusing on traits like intelligence or courage, "thin" and "pretty" are the main messages that young girls seem to pick up from the Disney Fairies®.

Critics believe that this discrepancy could stem from an exorbitant cultural focus on bodies rather than on character, a focus that bleeds into Disney Fairies® merchandise and into the way young girls perceive it.

This year, the Disney Fairies® leapt into controversy again when fans began decrying the inability to select a male character in the franchise's massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), hugely successful amongst the younger demographics.

Critics bemoaned Disney® as once again reinforcing rigid gender roles, since all up-to-date game developers know that statistically, players like to choose characters that closely represent themselves. Therefore, critics interpreted Disney's refusal to add a male playing option as a blatant message that males need not apply.

Instead, children – including many young boys that partake in the MMOG – who wanted to play using male avatars resorted to clever methods to break the gender barrier, like creating tall fairies with short hair and androgynous names. For those shocked that boys play the seemingly feminine game, Salon writer Mary Elizabeth Williams notes, "It's a pretty sophisticated virtual world, a visually rich place to hang out and play games, and a safe forum to talk to other kids. Also, you can fly around with your awesome wings."

She continues to point out that "maybe the most compelling reason for sneaking boys into fairyland is that despite our biological differences and the sex role expectations that start the moment we're wriggled into pink or blue booties, gender is a remarkably pliable thing."

So, players and parents celebrated last month when Disney Fairies® finally responded to demands to add a male avatar and openly welcomed male players into their magical world. "Nonetheless, Disney appears to have taken some measures to prevent the most obviously interesting forms of thoughtcrime," boingboing pointed out, "For example, male fairies aren't called fairies, but Sparrow Men."

It isn't surprising that a mass-production company like Disney® pumps out the same old mass-manufactured ideas. That's where small operations like The Fairy Line™ have a huge advantage over behemoths like Disney®. We don't rely on market domination to stay on top – we innovate to get noticed. We also treat each customer as a person and with dignity and respect. We use safe all-natural ingredients. We don't put anything in our products that we wouldn't won't our own children using.

That's why Fairy Line Naturals™ had a male fairy years ago. We also have a mother fairy, a grandmother fairy, and fairies of many different cultures and races.

We even have a fairy of self-acceptance. They all have varying backgrounds, cultures, and strengths. We didn't do it just to expand our marketing outreach – we did it because it's the natural and right thing to do. I'd like to see Disney beat that lineup.

Perhaps more important than the diverse makeup of our fairies, each and every fairy has a character trait. Furthermore, a renowned psychologist specially selected each fairy's individual character traits. We didn't just throw in words that sounded good. Each fairy represents an archetype – a universally recognized symbol – meaning we offer positive role-models that children can easily digest.

For example, nobody can deny the beauty of Xiomara, Spirit of the Rainforest, but equally as important, this Fairy of Courage and Abundance serves as a warrior of the forest, by actively protecting it and its inhabitants, and by spreading awareness about conservation. Many girls we meet choose Xiomara as their favorite fairy, not just because they admire her beauty, but they look up to her strong, assertive personality.

"Perhaps it's time to reclaim these fabulous beings," Greene concluded, "making them a celebration of the imagination rather than consumption."

Way ahead of you.


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