When we think of Disney princesses, it's hard not to envision their hair. Ariel has the fiery red locks. Jasmine has that bouncy raven black 'do. Elsa has the ice-cool blonde braid, and the list goes on. Each princess' hair has a distinct hair color, texture and style. But they all have one thing in common: They are long and luscious.
So when a digital artist re-created the iconic princesses with short hair, it was shocking, but in the best way possible. The illustrator, who goes by the Nameless Doll, posted a series of illustrations on Tumblr of Disney's leading ladies with a range of short hairstyles, ranging from a shoulder-length bob to a cropped pixie and even a shaved head.
On Tumblr, Nameless Doll wrote that Ruby Rose, the breakout star from Orange Is the New Black, served as inspiration for the cropped look on Elsa from Frozen. Joséphine Baker, the 1920s starlet, was the muse for the hairstyle for Tina from The Princess and the Frog.
The short hair on the Disney princesses proves they look just as beautiful as with long hair — and, dare we say, pretty badass.
It's no coincidence that Disney princesses are repeatedly depicted with long locks. Long hair has long been equated with classical femininity, while shorter hair is usually seen as edgier and spunky (or gay — when Emma Watson debuted a pixie cut in 2012, she told the Independent, "I had journalists asking me if this meant I was coming out, if I was a lesbian now").
"There are so many different kinds of hair styles, and while they are all beautiful, mainstream media tends to be very... one-sided," Roosa Karlsson, the artist behind Nameless Doll, wrote to Mic in an email. "Long hair is hailed wherever you go, especially in Disney's princess movies. (Granted, Rapunzel gets really short hair at the end of her movie, but it is a rarity to see merchandise of her with her shorter cut.)"
The feminine premium on long hair isn't rooted in Disney alone, although the movies certainly make an impression on young girls' self-image. "I have had to explain to crying children way too many times that they do not need long straight hair in order to be beautiful princesses," Karlsson said. "Focusing on showing only one kind of beauty can be damaging."
That focus often comes through a male lens. The debate over short versus long hair is part of an ongoing conversation that often hinges on men's opinions of what's beautiful.
Thankfully, these Disney princesses aren't looking to score a date. Instead, they are ready for summer heat, sword fights, cross-country adventures or whatever else cartoon heroines are getting into these days.
And maybe they can remind young girls along the way that there's no one way to look beautiful.
July 16, 2015, 1:02 pm: This post has been updated to include comment from the artist.