A recent blog post on the Guardian brings up a common misconception: that sexualizing Disney characters is somehow daring or cutting edge. Granted, there is plenty of room for parody or re-imagining. Disney was hardly alone in supporting the white-bread image of the typical American family, while carving out their own special niche in the Disney Princess. Disney continues to perpetuate these stereotypes to this day, with only minor adjustments. But artists have been daring and transgressive toward Disney characters for three-quarters of a century or so without any significant result. The Princess keeps her crown, and the artists gain a pinch of notoriety, which quickly fades. Keith Haring’s mashup of Andy Warhol and Mickey Mouse is more disturbing than any tarted-up Princess.
As Jonathan Jones points out in his Guardian piece, artists continue to reimagine Disney Princesses in a myriad of ways, from the pornographic on up. He labels these “satires,” though how AleXsandro Palombo’s Cinderella or Pocahontas with a disability is satirical remains a mystery to me. A prosthetic leg leaves their smile undimmed; you can almost hear a song coming on.