Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models

David Trumble_ Women Of The World Collection
Advertising ● Art ● Entertainment ● Girls ● History

Compliments of an invaluable introduction byWYSK Melissa Wardy, Women You Should Know had a chance to speak with David Trumble, an award-winning artist, cartoonist and illustrator about his prototype for Disney’s new “World of Women” collection. First unveiled in a May 2013Huffington Post Parents blog, it featureshis princessified versions of ten of the world’s most inspiring women from past and present history. We love why he did it.

In addition to generously allowing Women You Should Know to run his original “World of Women” art, David also shared with us his reasons for drawing the thought-provoking cartoon, which he collaborated on, in part, with educational psychologistLori Day. Here’s what he had to say (before & after images of each woman below).

“This was a response to the furor kicked up over theglossy ‘princessification’ of Pixar’s Merida character, both in image and doll form. I drew this picture because I wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, the same tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile.

So that was my intent, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to paint an entire gender of heroes with one superficial brush.“My experience of female role models both in culture and in life has shown me that there is no mold for what makes someone a role model, and the whole point of Merida was that she was a step in the right direction, providing girls with an alternative kind of princess. Then they took two steps back, and painted her with the same glossy brush as the rest. So I decided to take 10 real-life female role models, from diverse experiences and backgrounds, and filter them through the Disney princess assembly line.

“The result was this cartoon, which earned equal parts praise and ire from readers. Some didn’t get the joke, some disagreed with it, others saw no harm in it at all and wanted to buy the doll versions of them… it was a polarizing image, but I suppose that’s the point. The statement I wanted to make was that it makes no sense to put these real-life women into one limited template, so why then are we doing it to our fictitious heroines?

“Fiction is the lens through which young children first perceive role models, so we have a responsibility to provide them with a diverse and eclectic selection of female archetypes. Now, I’m not even saying that girls shouldn’t have princesses in their lives, the archetype in and of itself is not innately wrong, but there should be more options to choose from. So that was my intent, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to paint an entire gender of heroes with one superficial brush.

“But that’s just me.” – David Trumble

David’s Disney Princessified “World of Women”











Important Story Update

November 4, 2013: Due to the overwhelming feedback this has received, David made what he calls “a small but important amendment to his Anne Frank cartoon.” You cancheck it out here.

So I got into a little bit of a tiff in the comments… Here’s what happened:

Someone named Laura posted this:

Actually, I have a completely different take on this. The fact is, if something is visually appealing kids are at least 10 times more likely to be interested in it. My 4 year old daughter walked by while I was reading this and she was instantly intrigued. That gave the opportunity to talk to her about who these women are. If they looked non-princessafied she wouldn’t have cared. This is the way art works. It has a powerful effect on the senses and strongly influences our opinions. If each of these “princesses got their own little illustrated storybook or movies, suddenly, our little daughters would be interested in finding out who they are.

And I kind of lost my mind. This is the exact opposite of what this art was trying to accomplish and that’s not my “take”- that’s what the artist said. As I explained in my comment, Laura’s daughter’s interest is not a comment on Laura’s mothering, it’s just that girls are conditioned from a young age to like these kinds of images. Short of raising her daughter in cave, it’s unavoidable. I think Laura missed the larger point here though, which is that fitting women into a mold to make them aesthetically pleasing and THEREFORE interesting is objectifying and wrong. These women are incredible without changing their appearance and part of what makes them role models is their refusal to change themselves or compromise their convictions- which is exactly what Hillary Clinton would be doing if she suddenly started wearing glittery bustiers. 

The fact that Laura is connecting the way these women look and their value is really, really sad- and this work is a big “fuck you” to that entire ideology. Laura, you may “have a different take” on it, but that’s what they artist was trying to say and he was trying to say it to people like you.

Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models.

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