When I was growing up I was addicted to Disney Princesses, much like all of the little girls in the US. I always had a favorite though, Sleeping Beauty. I loved everything about Aurora, but I mainly liked her the most because I too had pale white skin and long blonde hair. Yes, I had moments of Belle stages or Ariel stages, but my go- to was always Sleeping Beauty. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood not every little girl had a Disney princess who looked like her. For this week’s theme, Shade of Beauty, I chose to focus on how Disney perpetuated white culture for decades and how in 2014 one artist decided to re-imagine all of the Disney Princesses as different ethnicities.
The simplest of Google searches will show you that Disney has a rather complicated history when it comes to race: How different races are depicted, if different races are even depicted at all (only four of the “official” princesses are women of color: Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and, most recently, Tiana. Disney didn’t have a black princess until 2009). So Tumblr artist “lettherebedoodles” created women of color of her own, re-imagining some Disney princesses and other female characters with a “race-bent” twist. I for one would LOVE to see all of these movies how he’s depicted them, and I’m almost positive all of you will agree with me!
All she wanted to accomplish was opening the eyes of society and making them realize that beauty is everywhere in every ethnicity and shade around the world, “I create race-bent characters simply for fun and because I’d love to see more diversity in our media. I honestly just did this for fun. No political agenda, no ulterior motives, I just love Disney and chose a few of my favorite characters to alter. I would love to edit a version of every Disney character, but I chose these women to start with. I feel like there’s beauty in every racial background, and this is honestly nothing more than an exploration of different races from a technical and artistic standpoint.” Her purpose might not be political, but is deeply social because it forces individuals to look at things that have been around forever with a new outlook.
“I feel like there’s beauty in every racial background”
This piece was made to accomplish and highlight the ways W.O.C and their experiences/ perspectives have been overshadowed by white privileged. In the book, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, by Rosemarie Tong, she discusses the ways mainstream feminism have hurt W.O.C by saying, “Operating as if every woman’s experience is the same as the experiences of those women who have benefited from birth and continue to benefit on a daily basis from white privileged, mainstream feminism, on this view, is deeply deficient in its failure to adequately acknowledge, contemplate, and address the experiences and concerns of women of color.” (Tong, 213) On top of these women being born as royalty, and having enviable bodies, the importance of recognition towards the oppression against W.O.C. on this international level signifies the immense need to embrace the difference by making more movies with W.O.C as lead roles for the younger generation to look up to.
Tong, Rosemarie. Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction. Westview Press. 2014.