Protesting Disney Princesses will inspire you to fight back for Women's History Month
Ostensibly, none of the eleven officially recognized Disney Princesses — Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida — had issues that apply to modern-day feminists. There just aren’t a whole lot of jealous witches trying to poison us or misunderstood beasts locking us up in towers in 2k17, and even if there were, those issues pale in comparison to feminist causes like reproductive freedom, wage inequality, and racism and Islamophobia in America.
However, as 27-year-old illustrator Amanda Allen Niday proves quite well, the Disney Princesses had a lot more in common with fed up modern women than first meets the eye. If you take away Cinderella’s glass slippers, for example, you see a woman forced by patriarchal culture to be entirely financially dependent on men. Take away Jasmine’s tiger, and you see a teen girl being forced to marry against her will. Take away Ariel’s voice, and you see a young woman whose lack of education cost her dearly once she entered the real world and was scammed instantly.
All of these women suffered under the patriarchy in different ways, which is why Niday chose to reimagine them fighting back at the Women’s March.
“I felt inspired by the way women expressed themselves on their signs, from the witty and charming to the downright scathing,” Niday, whose prints are currently for sale on her Society6 page, told Teen Vogue. “Women coming together from all backgrounds to say ‘we are HERE and we MATTER.’ I wanted to hold onto that message as my newsfeeds dissolved back into squabbling and finding faults in our difference, rather than understanding.”
Niday also explained that she used quotes from actual Disney movies because she “didn’t want to put words” into the princesses’ mouths.
“I believed their narratives of overcoming struggles was powerful enough without me trying to force something else on them,” she explained. “I chose quotes from their movies, mostly spoken by the heroine herself, and tried to pick moments that would allude to their story as whole, had deeper meaning within the movie, or referenced modern issues.”
We think that Niday’s work is inspiring, and a perfect compliment to a series by illustrator Maritza Lugo and writer Danielle Sepulveres that similarly reimagines Disney Princesses fighting for their rights in Trump’s America.
All of these artists are doing incredible work that celebrates the hard work of protestors, while also informing a broad, princess-loving audience about the grave issues women are facing today. Ariel and Jasmine won’t save the Affordable Care Act, but hopefully, seeing more and more images like these pop up on our timelines will inspire us to make some valuable phone calls.