Having many nieces, when I read the The New York Times review of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, I realized this is the phenomenon I had just witnessed as they grew up and became teenagers!
Excerpt from The NY Times review:
Yet the princess phase, at least in its current hyper-feminine and highly commercial form, is anything but natural, or so Peggy Orenstein argues in Cinderella Ate My Daughter. As she tells the story, in 2000 a Disney executive named Andy Mooney went to check out a “Disney on Ice” show and found himself “surrounded by little girls in princess costumes. Princess costumes that were—horrors!—homemade. How had such a massive branding opportunity been overlooked? The very next day he called together his team and they began working on what would become known in-house as ‘Princess.’ ” Mooney’s revelation yielded a bonanza for the company. There are now more than 26,000 Disney Princess items on the market; in 2009, Princess products generated sales of $4 billion.