EDITORIAL: Artist’s rendition of Disney leading ladies raises bar too high
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 23:03
Little girls around the world spend their childhood wearing miniature imitations of gowns, wishing their fairy godmother would have a pumpkin carriage whisk them away to the ball where Prince Charming saves them from their average life.
This ideal, fairytale life is put into the minds of children, especially young girls, through many media, but the biggest culprit of implanting these fantasies is Disney.
Many young girls spend a large portion of their childhood idolizing a Disney princess, wanting to be just like her. However, Jirka Väätäinen, a student at Arts University College in Bournemouth in the United Kingdom, recently created his second series of paintings featuring the leading ladies, and they make it obvious that the ideals of beauty instilled by the princesses is completely unrealistic for little girls to try to achieve.
Väätäinen released his first princess series in 2011, and recently released a second featuring the remaining princesses and a few other main female characters, such as Jane from “Tarzan” and Alice from “Alice in Wonderland.”
While many may think Väätäinen used a paintbrush and canvas to create these portraits, he actually used a much more modern medium: Photoshop. Väätäinen merged images of different women and the original cartoon characters in the image editing software to create the beauties.
If he had to merge multiple images, and even a perfected cartoon, together to create an accurate “real-life” portrayal of Disney’s princesses and popular female characters, how can young girls ever expect to reach the standards of beauty the company shows them? They can’t.
While playing princess is fun when girls are 4 or 5, they need to have exposure to other stories that celebrate individual beauty, not the commercialized, animated versions presented by the media.
Many people have brought attention to the fact that Barbie dolls could harm young girls’ self-esteem and teach them to strive for unattainable perfection, the effects of Disney’s unrealistic standards should receive just as much attention for the effects they can have on young girls.