To Flatten A Heroine: The Disney Princess Filter

Disney is one of the largest media conglomerates in the country. This meaning Disney is one of the most powerful and influential corporations in our country. At age 6 I knew a few things to be true: I was going to be a mermaid when I grew up, I was thankful I didn’t have any evil stepsisters, and my toys came to life after I left the room… Why does this even matter? I slowly but surely came to the understanding none of this was going to happen to me. But, the point I’m trying to make is that a media powerhouse, such as Disney, gives many children their first taste of imagination and fiction.  When do we learn to separate reality from fantasy? Disney is a cornerstone for many children’s childhoods. They construct and bring to life what we learn to be beautiful, ugly, good, and evil.

 The online media content that I chose to focus on was a piece written on the blog: Women You Should Know. The article displays the work that a cartoonist designed that put a “princess filter” on 10 Real life role models.

The cartoonist, David Trumble, decided to draw these images in response to the furor surrounding the “princessfication” of Disney princess, Merida (Brave). He wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile. This brings about the concept of advertisers looking to make profit and turning viewers into consumers. This article has the underlying ideology that the public only responds and becomes consumers of media when the media is society’s idea of beautiful.

These 10 women that David decided to give the Disney treatment, sadly I don’t believe many young people could identify them. I believe that David’s mission is to bring about an issue staring society and the media right in the face. Beautiful is one mold. Beautiful is shiny hair, little waists, and glamorous clothes. He poses an interesting question. Would these successes have been clouded or highlighted if they were more beautiful? I think Sarah Palin is a great example that, no, beauty can cause more harm than help. Outward beauty isn’t the problem. Some of the world’s most beautiful women are some of the most insecure women. What the problem is that media outlets such as Disney aren’t making any efforts to use their power to make a change. Disney reaches a wide range of demographics at an impressionable age. Teach these young boys and girls that beauty can come from intelligence, a sense of humor, or a good conscience. Because as they age they will separate fact from fiction, however their first priming of what is beautiful will unconsciously sit with them for years to come. 

To Flatten A Heroine: Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models

3 thoughts on “To Flatten A Heroine: The Disney Princess Filter”

  1. Katherine,
    I really enjoyed your post about Disney and the affects it had on your youth and the continuing influence it has on children today. I took a class this summer titled “The Dark Side of Disney”, and boy did it open my eyes.
    The way Disney uses their enormous amount of power to influence how children think can be very destructive. If you look at any princess until recently, they are all dependent on the man or “prince”. This is giving any little girl the thought that they will need a man in their life to count on for everything. To me, this phenomenon of feminism has greatly changed in the past decade with Disney. They are beginning to depict more realistic women characters who are reflecting the movement of feminism in the recent years.
    As Disney always does, they adjust better than anyone to what the viewers want to see.

  2. I absolutely loved Disney as a little girl, as so many do, but the more I learn about the influence of Disney on young girls, the more wary I am about the products they are creating. In a sense, Disney princesses seem like they can be good role models for young girls. They are largely independent, kind, and problem-solving. It seems that their positive qualities are often masked by the focus on beauty and meeting “Prince Charming,” which is a shame. It is unfortunate that young girls are far more likely to recognize a princess than a real-life heroine who is out there changing the world. True heroines should not have to be made into princesses to be seen as beautiful, strong, and influential. Who women are and what they choose to do with their lives is far more important than looking like a princess, an idea that Disney has not chosen to represent through its products thus far.

  3. I used to love Disney as a child, and still do for some movies. I was even Belle one year for Halloween. I think it is an interesting point to bring up that Disney typically gives kids their 1st “taste” of what the world is like because typically Disney movies are appropriate for really young ages. Just to think if the princesses had been portrayed as average girls, with below-average hair (because let’s face it, they give out unrealistic expectations for how your hair should look), and possibly a heavy-set princess or two, how children and parents would react? Here’s a fun picture of if the Disney Princesses were punk rock. Enjoy!

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