Princesses are a relatively new phenomena. Devised in the 90s, the group was a gimmick designed to bolster falling sales and puff up Disney appeal. It worked to a staggering degree. One cannot go into a Disney store, or any building that has children, without being inundated by pastel tulle, glitter and bejeweled crowns. Being a Princess is an ideal that all girls (and secretly, I'm sure, some boys and transchildren) don't just aspire to be. They already are princesses. They can wear the crowns and tulle and glitter because they are special and magical and one day their prince will come.
Without a moment's hesitation, feminist were all over this like maggots on a dead caribou. They have many great points about the diminishment of a girl's abilities and talents, the hope to be saved by a man, the inability to be in a story that doesn't involve romance and a platonic relationship with a man. Not to mention the emphasis on appearance, the implied sexualizing of young girls, the heavy make up and skinny bodies that provoke speculation that Barbie is a princess herself.
None of that matters at all. If anything, I think adult women are much more obsessed with these attributes than little girls.
All one has to do is search on "Disney Princess" on Pinterest and one's computer nearly has a melt down. Women have taken this Princess obsession to quite complex levels which are intellectually dizzying and culturally amazing.
Artists have created the "What if" Princess. What if the Princesses all had blue eyes (for example)? What if the Princesses were all dogs? What if the Princesses were jewelry?
These are only a few of the examples I found, and it's a long list. I wanted to include as many as possible to illustrate my point. By the way, almost all of these images I found on BuzzFeed. I think BuzzFeed has fertilized this wonderful madness. And I also think this is entirely illegal and the Disney Corporation would react poorly to these manipulations of their copyrighted material.
1. What if the Disney princesses were burlesque showgirls?
2. What if the Disney princesses wore 'glamorous fashion'?
3. What if Disney princesses were ruthless avenging warriors?
4. What if Disney Princesses wore lots and lots of jewelry?
5. What if Disney Princesses had normal bodies?
6. What if Disney Princesses lived in the modern day?
7. What if Disney Princesses lived in a steampunk universe?
10. What if Disney Princesses were sexy pin-ups?
11. What if the Disney Princesses were a different kind of sexy pin-up (that really isn't sexy because it's really immature and little-girlish)?
12. What if (a specific) Disney Princess (in this case Ariel) lived in every decade of the 20th century?
15. What if the Disney Princesses were a little bit of everything?
16. What if the Disney Princesses dressed up as other female characters for Halloween ?
17. What if the Disney Princesses were a non-descript horrifying evil?
18. What if Disney Princesses were in a nondescript fantasy world, with bad ass attitudes?
19. What if Disney Princesses were "bad" (ie. tattooed)?
20. What if Disney Princesses were more specifically modern, and with big tits?
21. What if Disney Princesses were on the cover of various women's magazines?
22. What if Disney Princesses were on the cover of Vogue?
23. What if the Disney Princesses were, yet again, another kind of pin-up?
24. What if Disney Princesses were in high school, steam punked, stylized punk, and gothic?
25. What if the Disney Princesses were real?
26. What if Disney Princesses were Marvel superheros?
27. What if Disney Princesses were in Fifty Shades of Grey?
28. What if Disney Princesses were the victims of domestic violence?
29. What if the Disney Princesses were lesbians?
30. What if the Disney Princesses gender swapped?
31. What if the Disney Princesses swapped clothes with their princes?
32. What if the Disney Princesses were in a variety of independent art pieces designed to make deeper statements about women, femininity, suffering and sexuality?
Okay, that last category wasn't fair. All of the Disney Princess art is making statements about women, femininity, humanity and sexuality. It's simply difficult to find these statements in which it comes packaged in corporate wrapping paper. We aren't as willing to look for them.
I have thirty-two examples of Princess art. These, by no means, cover all that is out there. There are dozens of examples. I've been working on this blog post for a few weeks. Putting this together was, at times, overwhelming and obsessive.
I found I developed favorite categories for the Princesses: pin-ups and lesbians. There is something seductive in bending the Princesses out of their original corporate shape and into something that appeals to me in a very specific, intimate ways. There is a thrill knowing that they're doing naughty things, wearing sexy lingerie, kissing each other when they "aren't supposed to".
Of course, there's no such thing The Princesses can be anything we want. People make them anything they want. Fuck copyright. What we create is more important than artists making a profit.
I'm Lady Ristretto, writing under a pseudonym. My pseudonym has a pseudonym.