carpe diem

where to go now?

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Have you seen this?

It's a princessified version of famous women. 

How did I miss this? 

Recognize them? I knew some, had to look others up. 

They are, from left to right: Marie Curie, Anne Frank, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Harriet Tubman, Malala, Hillary, Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Rosa Parks, Susan B.Antony. 

Last spring, Disney princessified Merida, who was the heroine in Brave to look like all the other princesses. The reason was to sell product, but the problem, and the reason for all the fuss, was that Merida was billed as the anti-princess, she was supposed to be different from all the other princesses and to not care about conventional beauty and to resist the trappings. She was supposed to be a role model for girls who might want someone to look up to that wasn't all about looks. I think maybe Disney missed that point.

So this artist, David Trumble, painted this World of Women, where he depicted women heroines as princesses. It was meant to be a joke, a provocative image, a conversation starter.

I love the idea. I think it's a good conversation starter.

Let me start by saying I was a Barbie girl. I looooved Barbies when I was little. And I like being pretty as an adult.I like dressing up, I like nice clothes, and I like feeling that people think I'm pretty.

But I recognize that there's a lot more to being important, successful, or a good role model than just pretty. And the message that girls and women are blasted with is all about perfectly pretty.

And so Merida was important. Because she gave girls permission to be other than beautiful and still be successful and happy.

As all these women are important. In bigger ways. And they've been enhanced? reduced? to princesses.

And I love the ironic take on it.

I found some of the transformations more shocking than others. The most shocking? Maybe Anne Frank. And Hillary.



  1. I didn't recognise any of them. And now that you have told us, I still don't see the point of the whole exercise. At a stretch, I can see a likeness or two, but mostly it's just "???"

    At this point I will admit, I have always had difficulty recognising faces, even in real life, not just in pictures. Sometimes I find myself wondering who it is I am talking to, I just know that it's someone I know quite well. It can be embarrassing.

    1. Poor Malcolm - there's a woman who works for me who can't remember people's names. A slightly different issue from yours, but similar maybe - thanks for sharing.


  2. This sort of thing bothers me. I don't know why, exactly. It is patently silly... But then, I have a problem with princess-izing little girls too. There is no way around the message that you are "more" when you are "pretty." That is so poisonous on so many levels that it defies efforts to even list the impacts. I'd prefer seeing all these PEOPLE in graduation caps and gowns... or the clothing of those who labor to make the world work ... or their PJ's... or just anything that leaves them acknowledged as humans and not cartoon characters.

    1. Sue, thank you for commenting - I agree completely. How dare they make Marie Curie about prettiness. And yet, it does matter in the world that we live in. Though it shouldn't.


  3. The most horrific example is Anne Frank. I have to keep reminding myself that the artist was trying to make a point, and I guess the fact that I want to scream "What the hell did you think you were doing??!?" shows how horrible that it. That princessifying can drain the truth and stature and horror and grief from everything, anything, leaving little girls (and everyone else) with nothing but fantasy completely drained of reality.

    Focus on Gloria Steinem and Hillary. It's easier to see the irony that way.


    1. The most horrific example for me was Anne Frank too. Though the honorific of "Holocaust Princess" may have played a role there. Whoa.

      So Anne Frank is a bit of a weird one. She is a name because of circumstances, not really because of what she accomplished, but because she wrote a diary/book about living in horrible circumstances. And if we are honest, Anne probably would have wanted to be pretty, probably hoped that she was, just like most little girls. But that's not what she accomplished.

      And yes, I agree, it's easiest to see the irony in Gloria and Hillary.

      Thanks for commenting OG.