A Whole Not So New World: a less than radical reinterpretation of princesses
When I happened across this image on my Google Reader, I couldn't help but click through. Impressed with how "Snowy" ironically contrasted the cartoonish/iconic Disney outfits with a domestic scene out of the Feminine Mystique, I found myself at "Fallen Princesses" project by Dina Goldstein at JPG Magazine.
"Cinder 3," which re-imagines Cinderella, perhaps a has-been now drinking alone in a dive bar, surrounded by truckers and empty pitchers of beer. Alright, there's nothing really bringing irony back to the Cinderella tale unless I'm missing something, just a far less-than-happily-after ending for one of the best-known fairytales, I guess I can get behind that.
But things really start to go downhill with "Not So Little Riding Hood."
Brenda, a commenter, sarcastically noted:
"Excellent, let's reinforce the stereotype that fat people gobble huge quantities of burgers and sodas."
Unfortunately, the other commenters at JPG don't see her point and consequently shut her down and insult her. Goldstein says the photo is her "personal comment on today's fast food society." And yet personal comment is that fast food society is a personal issue, as the photograph only pictures an individual isolated from the myriad of all the other economic, environmental, and political factors that contribute to our "fast food society." Plus the title is patronizing.
uhhh...and then there's Jasmin.
There's really no place to start with this, the fact that the first thing "Arabian" conjures up is terrorism, the romanticizing/trivializing of war, pink camo and cleavage, and basically contributing to the already fucked up depictions of women in the Middle East. And finally....did your camera break? What's with the shoddy Photoshop job?
Of course, Goldstein didn't set out to do a feminist photo project, she simply "began to imagine Disney's perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues." (I'm conjecturing sexy suicide bombing is another one of those issues).
I think it's powerful to rewrite stories passed down over centuries (and maybe transformed into multimillion dollar franchises in the meantime), especially when it comes to fairytales, which often have women as defenseless victims in need of a prince (as I'm sure anyone reading this is well aware!) But Disney's messed with our minds enough as it is, and it's just a little disappointing to see art that fails to challenge the sexism behind the stores, which is a large part of the lore, such as this work which just depicts women in kind of pathetic situations without any sort of subversion.
What are your thoughts? How would you like to have seen these princesses and fairytale ladies reinterpreted?
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