Has the Disney Princess reimagining gone too far?
You guys know how much we love ourselves a good Disney reimagining. We love seeing artists interacting with our favorite childhood characters, giving princesses and talking animals alike a cool and contemporary new spin. We like seeing our Disney girls as tattooed works of art and we liked seeing them all with tail-end-of-Tangled Rapunzel-short hair. We were down to see the princesses on the red carpet just as much as we dug seeing the ladies of Disney with realistic waistlines. We basically thought there wasn’t any iteration of Disney princesses an artist could think up that we didn’t want to see.
But recently, Disney-loving artists are hyper-sexualizing princesses, opening a whole new world, yes we said it, of fairytale reimagining. There was J. Scott Campbell’s Playboy-esque spread of Rapunzel and her fellow royals and Joel Santana’s inked booty-baring pinup girls (which, we’ll admit, were mesmerizing). We’re all for women expressing their sexuality but there’s something questionable about using Disney Princesses to project sexual fantasies based on dated standards (after all, isn’t that why we started morphing them in the first place: to redefine the classic beauty standards they projected?)
The latest, most extreme example comes from LA-based artist Andrew Tarusov, who took to his Instagram to re-imagine 10 Disney ladies in a manner most sexualized. Pieces in the series include a nude Ariel post-human transformation with Sebastian covering her boob, Belle in a 50 Shades of Grey pose with Beast, a bare-bottomed Tiana, Olaf ogling the backsides of thong-wearing Elsa and Anna, and, creepiest Prince Philip giving viewers a predatory look as he looms over a sleeping Aurora (implying that he intends to have sex with her while she is unconscious).
Don’t get us wrong, we think the artist has plenty of talent and we’re totally amazed by his, and other artists’ natural ability. But have we reached a new level of reimagining, where the Princesses are objectified, and in the case of Sleeping Beauty, used to glamorize sex without consent? We’re cool with letting the Disney ladies out of the confines of their G/PG existences and letting them play around in the grown-up world. But not if it comes at the price of over-sexualizing them to the point of objectifying them and transforming them from heroines into one-dimensional sex things.