To Flatten A Heroine: Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models
Compliments of an invaluable introduction by WYSK Melissa Wardy, Women You Should Know had a chance to speak with David Trumble, an award-winning artist, cartoonist and illustrator about his prototype for Disney’s new “World of Women” collection. First unveiled in a May 2013 Huffington Post Parents blog, it features his princessified versions of ten of the world’s most inspiring women from past and present history. We love why he did it.
In addition to generously allowing Women You Should Know to run his original “World of Women” art, David also shared with us his reasons for drawing the thought-provoking cartoon. Here’s what he had to say (before & after images of each woman below).
“This was a response to the furor kicked up over the glossy ‘princessification’ of Pixar’s Merida character, both in image and doll form. I drew this picture because I wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, the same tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile.
“My experience of female role models both in culture and in life has shown me that there is no mold for what makes someone a role model, and the whole point of Merida was that she was a step in the right direction, providing girls with an alternative kind of princess. Then they took two steps back, and painted her with the same glossy brush as the rest. So I decided to take 10 real-life female role models, from diverse experiences and backgrounds, and filter them through the Disney princess assembly line.
“The result was this cartoon, which earned equal parts praise and ire from readers. Some didn’t get the joke, some disagreed with it, others saw no harm in it at all and wanted to buy the doll versions of them… it was a polarizing image, but I suppose that’s the point. The statement I wanted to make was that it makes no sense to put these real-life women into one limited template, so why then are we doing it to our fictitious heroines?
“Fiction is the lens through which young children first perceive role models, so we have a responsibility to provide them with a diverse and eclectic selection of female archetypes. Now, I’m not even saying that girls shouldn’t have princesses in their lives, the archetype in and of itself is not innately wrong, but there should be more options to choose from. So that was my intent, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to paint an entire gender of heroes with one superficial brush.
“But that’s just me.” – David Trumble