Disney's animated films played a pivotal role in many of our childhoods.
But only after years of political education and bad relationships does it become clear that the values they instilled might not translate well in the real world. "Changing for your man" isn't always a good call, for instance. Makeovers don't fix everything. And spontaneously bursting into perfectly harmonized song is much harder than it looks.
Perhaps these realizations are the impetus behind recent creative efforts to reimagine these films. By re-contextualizing Disney characters and settings, artists have been able to scrape away at their fantastic veneer and upend their antiquated value systems.
This latest effort comes courtesy of Tumblr artist lettherebedoodles, who has rendered some of Disney's most iconic princesses using different racial and ethnic identities.
Here they are:
Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
Cinderella from Cinderella:
Aurora from Sleeping Beauty:
Ariel from The Little Mermaid:
Belle from Beauty and the Beast:
Princess Jasmine from Aladdin:
Pocahontas from Pocahontas:
Image Credit (all): lettherebedoodles
"I honestly just did this for fun," writes the artist, who goes by TT. "No political agenda, no ulterior motives, I just love Disney and chose a few of my favorite characters to alter."
But intended or otherwise, these works can't help but be read as political considering Disney's troubled history of stereotyping or totally ignoring characters of color. The studio's first black princess didn't appear until 2009, nearly 75 years after its first animated feature. Its portrayals of Arabs and American Indians have also been less than praiseworthy.
Yet the enthusiastic online responses to this kind of artwork also seem to indicate a demand for, and appreciate of, greater onscreen diversity. Disney still means a lot to kids – think Frozen – and its influence likely won't subside anytime soon.
So perhaps it's time the studio follows these artists' blueprints and expands its scope of portrayals. That would be a win-win for everyone.