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Dethroning the Disney Princess


Photographer Dina Goldstein’s motivation for her dark series, "Fallen Princesses," was to debunk the fairy tale motif as an aspirational endgame for young girls, and I actually do find the photos educational – in a Real Housewives of the OC kind of way (all that glitters is not gold, perhaps?). But is it cause to give up on happy endings all together?

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  • Zainab Habib

    The Jasmine one is just racist. Most of these rubbed me the wrong way. The "In the Dollhouse" also has a homophobic undertone to it. As much as I am for free speech and I like her start to questioning "happy endings", as a fellow Canadian, I'm a bit saddened by her approach to it *shakes head*.

    • Wonderist

      I actually had the same thoughts as you (I posted the series) - was curious to see how people would respond and was surprised there weren't more responses like yours! I agree - the underlying idea was well-intentioned but the execution was perhaps a little to facile.

      • Zainab Habib

        Thank you Wonderist! I'm glad it wasn't just me - the solidarity means a lot. I felt the Jasmine one was easy to spot but I've heard those stereotypes too often since 9/11 as a South Asian/Muslim. The Dollhouse one... I'm surprised more people didn't catch that. 4 months later, it still unsettles me a bit :|

  • Kristin Jonah Holm

    I know everyone is really loving this series, but many of the series (if you follow the link) seem really classist to me. The cinderella pic is fine. The pocahontas one really rubs me the wrong way. Little red riding hood is just weird and fat-phobic.
    Am I the only one?

    • Wonderist

      I actually wondered if anyone would have that response. As someone who is on the "cherubic" end of the weight spectrum myself, I also had the same reaction to Little Red Riding Hood. And the Pocahontas photo didn't sit quite right with me either (and I'm the one who posted the blog!), but I AM intrigued by the larger question the artist was aiming for if even the execution was a bit too "easy." Glad to hear different voices chiming in!

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I love this. It captures the reality of the darkness in these princess' lives. Cinderella had to deal with step-sisters bec her mom passed away. Snow White had to deal with a narcissist for a step mom. Little Red Riding Hood's grandma was eaten. And Pocahontas? She had it worse off... dealing with settlers destroying her land and killing her family. Just saying. This is exactly how these princess' would have end up in real life if a prince charming didn't "save" them: alcoholic, depressed, or raising too many children on their own.

  • Keanna Sheu

    What an interesting narrative the series tells/shows of how out of place and out of touch the Disney Princess is in today's world. Maybe not so much a role model than a cautionary tale?

  • Shári G. Lynch

    Although I do agree with Ben that these would be earth-shattering if viewed by my daughter, each piece is truly wonderful for its individual shocking, thought-provoking and important message it portrays. I also agree with the lot that the Dollhouse series is amazing!

  • Liz Dwyer

    Prince Charming isn't looking too awesome in that shot with Snow White. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Chelsea Spann

    Love this. I think it's important to add the "reality factor" to the "imagination factor." That said, being able to educate kids on what these images mean is equally as important than bursting a bubble. Keeping imagination alive for children while helping them understand it is something I feel is missing with today's media. Let's foster discussions about these realities to let them know that it may not necessarily be this dark but that we should appreciate the myriad of emotions/life scenarios that we control and that can exist.

  • Mindy Nguyen

    I agree and don't think there should be definitive roles models, and in this case - disney princesses - for girls to aspire to as it's different for each individual girl. But it is a great reminder that not everything is the way it appears to be, and that happy endings are all ours to make our own.

  • Ashleigh Verdier

    Absolutely amazing. I also checked out her Dollhouse series and was blown away by them. I think both of these series should be on a gallery tour and we should be bringing our pre-teen and teenage girls to see them. It might help them understand that life isn't a Disney movie.

  • janelle kacz

    I absolutely love these! I resonate with the Pocahontas fallen princess so well. I naturally gravitate towards animals, nature and solitude. I could easily spend my life devoting it to wildlife rehabilitation somewhere nestled in beautiful scenery, never having intimate relationships with other people. However, I now see that my life challenge is to foster deeper connections with other human beings. That is why I am devoting this part of my life to bringing clean water and improved sanitation to the children and families in Laos. Perhaps one day, I will unite my love of animals and nature WITH my challenge of human connection and relationships. I look forward to my own vulnerability in sharing myself and my story with others along the way, which creates a loving space for others to do the same.

  • Ashleigh Verdier

    Absolutely amazing. I checked out Dina's Dollhouse collection too. I think both of these series should be on a gallery tour and we should be bringing out pre-teen and teenage girls to view them and have a discussion about the difference between the "happy endings" of the story books and the "happy endings" we might actually find in life.

  • Taiwo Al

    To answer the question: there is cause to give up on certain kinds of 'happy -endings' but maybe not on all of life itself. a certain type of hope should be held on to. so for those who have something GOOD to hope in - keep hoping.

  • John Wynn

    Wow...I didn't see that coming! Thought-provoking, to say the least.

  • Ben Goldhirsh

    jesus. this is awesome. thanks for sharing.

  • Joshua Neuman

    These photos are amazing. Twisted, provocative, and strangely beautiful.

    • Ben Goldhirsh

      I think Josie would have a heart attack if she saw these.