that might be part of the reason but I really doubt it’s accidental that only Snow White- the very first princess- has short hair- and this deals with long hair’s association as the “feminine ideal” and therefore is, “more princess-y.”
While short hair representation isn’t the most pressing issue in society, I think it’s worth considering the implications of constantly marketing very specific appearances as female beauty.
Also at the crux of the issue is how marketing potential is valued over celebrating the princesses’s strengths and growth. Rapunzel’s hair is literally THE reason she is kept from her parents and home for her entire life. Her hair imprisons her- release from her hair frees her. Makes her realize her full potential as a person, without the aid of magic hair. It allows her, her happy ending. So it does irk me a bit that they put that all in the movie only to ignore the implications, then, of keeping her almost always with the magical hair in merchandise.
I mean, Disney’s Rapunzel is a pretty obvious and drastic departure from the original tale? Which is fine. But if you’re going to make short hair a sign of growth, independence and strength, then let her keep it already. There is some merch but it’s like finding the golden ticket in a Wonka bar half the time, and on every piece of group princess merch she is blond/long.
(also, merchandising and marketing itself can create new associations, it doesn’t have to match the movie. See: Sleeping Beauty’s dress, Cinderella’s overall appearance)
I find this interesting.