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For great justice

Tumblr Artists Imagine Frozen‘s Lead As Something Other Than Another White Disney Princess

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Disney princesses, taken as a collective group, are awfully white. You know it. I know it. Aliens probably know it. It’s a fact that a lot of people (justifiably) don’t like. One of those people harnessed their desire to see more non-white representation in Disney movies and started This Could Have Been Frozen, a Tumblr devoted to fan-created concept art for Disney’s upcoming Frozen (and/or The Snow Queen, the fairy tale on which it was based) that imagines its lead as something other than a Rapunzel lookalike.

The site’s admin, Alex, is careful to note that their objective “is not to boycott or ‘hate’ on Disney’s current Frozen, but to point out how diversity and PoC could [have] still been done” in the film and to “emphasize [Disney's] lack of diversity.” After all, while Frozen is set in Scandinavia, it’s not like there are only white people there. And it’s based on a fairy tale that has multicultural variations.

And heck, it’s just a fun art project, too. Take a lok at some of our favorites behind the jump.

(via: The Daily Dot)

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  • Anonymous

    Some of those are really gorgeous.

  • James Fletcher

    Discovered this just a little earlier this morning. I really like the most recent post, which is a Mongolian take on the story since it’s something you never really see.

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    It’s not even based on “The Snow Queen”, nothing in the synopsis sounds like Anderson’s tale.

    Which is a pity because it’s one of the few fairy-tales where the woman rescues the man.

  • RMCoyote

    Well, it was originally based on the tale- but then after years of being in development they decided to go CGI and scrap everything wonderful about the original story in the process.

  • Nick Gaston

    Y’know, the thing about stuff like this—and treatments like the series “Happily Ever After”—rather make me want, not to see “diversified” versions of western fairy tale characters, but animated stories from *actual non-European tales and legends.*

    I mean, surely there must be SOME that are usable, even if they have to be Brothers Grimm-style sanitized to remove Struwwelpeter-level horrors. Mulan worked for Disney, after all.

  • DarthBetty

    I am beyond sad that I won’t get to watch anything with the girl from the second picture and her wolf/giant fox/husky.

  • Robert Vary

    What? Oh, crud. I hadn’t realized they’d changed it so drastically until you mentioned it here. I’d assumed that it would at least have the same basic outline of the original story, like “Tangled” did with “Rapunzel.” I was all excited, because as you mentioned it’s one of the few fairy tales with a heroine saving a dude in distress, and the Snow Queen herself had the potential for Malificent-like awesomeness.

    Oh, and I see there will be a doofy talking snowman. So that’s super. Get off my lawn!

  • VUnearithe42

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    Discovered this just a little
    earlier this morning. I really like the most recent post, which is a
    Mongolian take on the story since it’s something you never really see.

  • RMCoyote

    Personally, I would like both- but that’s because I enjoy stirring the pot and mixing in new ingredients- and that metaphor got away from me.

    And there are plenty wonderfully useable stories! I can think of quite a few that would make awesome tales from all over the world that would only need minor clean up (aka removing stuff that doesn’t really further the story and is only included for bawdy humor).

  • Anonymous

    That one had a real Miyax/Julie of the Wolves vibe. Checked to see if there was a movie adaptation… apparently they were going to make one, but scrapped it because investors were too nervy about casting a first-time (i.e. Inuit) actress. :/

  • RMCoyote

    Yeah, I’m boycotting the movie now. They won’t see a cent from me.

    I mean, they turned a almost entirely female cast of awesome saving a boy from a force of nature that is personified as a woman into a single girl with a bunch of dudes saving her sister who is also the villain but needs to be saaaved from her waaaays because she isn’t realy evil.

    I mean, I get the complaints about race on this (At the very least Disney should have made it noticeably from the culture it came from rather than ‘generic European place 1.0′) and I love this tumblr, but I find the dudewashing (in lack of a term like whitewashing which signifies important female roles being replaced by men) even more horrifying in this case.

    And sure, it might be a good movie structurally. No one says a sexist, racist, or homophobic movie can’t be good structurally. But only being good in structure is a pretty lame standard to have when it betrays everything about the original story.

  • DarthBetty

    And now I die of the sadness.

  • Anonymous

    Right? It makes me so mad. Its my favorite fairy tale. They could have had SO MANY multi cultural elements because the lead visits so many different parts of Scandinavia. (Like hello- the Gypsies The Laplander/Saami woman?) And it still has the romance to make Disney happy. But no. Whatever. Fine. Make another tiny blond girl. Don’t recognize my heritage with your story. Whateves.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I just read the new synopsis for this film and…I’m out. So lame. The source material is SO good and SO interesting. WTF?

  • Anonymous

    Speaking as a god honest Swede I would have LOVED to see something other than a generic blonde in the lead. When I was little and read every fairytale I could get my hand on I started changing the princesses in my head to all kinds of skin color and hair color because it was just so booooring with the cookie cutter princesses/pauper girls in blonde braids.

    Also – it is an affront to not actually use at least the basic synopsis from Andersen because the Snow Queen is a marvellous story about a girl going n a classic hero’s journey, overcoming obstacles, growing as a person, and finally saving the boy from a not-so-evil queen, just a very coldly analytical one with no capacity for love.

    Honestly, after Wreck It Ralph I thought Disney had got it’s groove back. :(

  • Anonymous

    Yeah even beyond another all white cast of characters, they drastically changed one of my favorite fairy tales, an epic story that always had huge film potential relatively unaltered. Also, the original story had an almost all female cast, but they had to add a guy because I guess they have zero confidence in women being able to carry a movie. So disappointing.

  • Anonymous

    I’d love to see a Tibetan princess! Very under represented group of people, from a cold climate.

  • Laura Truxillo

    The name came up in the discussions on the article about kid’s books, so now I’m just thinking how much I would love to see an animated movie about Anansi. Humanized-ish characters, with sort of suggestions of the animals they represent. And Anansi just getting in one scrape after another. It would be aces.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, Br’er Rabbit from “The Song of the South” is Anansi.

  • Anonymous

    What do you mean by Brothers Grimm-style sanitized? There was a reason they were called the Brothers Grimm. Their faery tales are incredibly gruesome.

  • Aashyma Never Would

    The Grimm tales are sanitised-the originals for instance had mothers as villains, not step-mothers.

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    Coyote! Is that your missing trickster?

  • Laura Truxillo

    Eh. He’s Br’er Rabbit. A trickster archetype that gained many of his stories from Anansi stories adapted in the South. But he’s also still Br’er Rabbit, Compair Lapin, and heck, probably a dash of Hare (and these days, ancestor to Bugs Bunny).

    He’s also a rabbit. Which goes back to that other problem of “look, Lion King is a very nice movie and all, but it’s not really representation, because they’re, y’know…lions. Not people.”

  • Laura Truxillo

    Fox, Spider, Hare/Rabbit, Raven/Crow, Coyote, and Monkey. Sounds about right.

    Crap, I forgot about Monkey. I might have to rethink that tattoo…ugh. Monkeys…

  • Anonymous

    This has always been my stance: there are so many great stories from all over the world that deserve to be given as much love and introduced to new audiences, so why do we keep going to the same well with Andersen/Grimm? Diversity is fantastic, but including non-white people in traditionally European tales smacks of cynical acquiescing to demographics people, and gives the impression that non-Europeans don’t HAVE any folklore, they have to be artificially included in traditional European stories – when that is far from the case. “The Princess and the Frog” at least included a lot of New Orleans folklore and culture, but it isn’t as if there are plenty of genuine African folk tales which had been transported and altered by the new environment.

  • sharmylae

    i agree with you, but i think point 2 would be a little weightier if other races were represented. while i still enjoyed disney stories as a child, as a teenager i began to resent the pretty white girls that made up those stories and internalized the sense that my dark skin made me not good enough. so the problem is not the characters – the characters are usually pretty great. a little diversity is all people want. i don’t need to see a black character to relate, but you can bet that i saw the princess and the frog on opening weekend because “OMG A DISNEY PRINCESS WHO LOOKS KIND OF LIKE ME”! anyway. the argument against diversity is usually that white characters sell better – and if you think of it as “race and gender melt(ing) away”, that presents white people as the default clean slate. :/
    but point one is spot on. the story might be super awesome. we won’t know till we see it.

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    In regards to #1 those few sentences are enough to know that the movie has NOTHING to do with Anderson’s Snow Queen. The story lines are not similar at all, other than the fact that there’s a lady with ice powers.

    As for #2, it would have been nice if the princess didn’t look exactly like the girl from Tangled, at the very least.

  • Laura

    Disney lost me when they made The Little Mermaid. THAT’s my favorite fairy tale. No stupid singing fish, no miraculous getting her voice back, no getting the prince at the end, but sacrificing herself for love. Disney is great at ruining good stories.

  • Crystal N

    Also Loki.

  • Crystal N

    Also Loki.

  • Anonymous

    Br’er Rabbit was whitewashed though. I’d like to see it done with a non-white cast.

  • Meagan

    Yeah, but that isn’t what Disney is going for…they market towards kids. There is always much more in the source material, and when Disney takes a fairy tale to make into a film, they usually lose a lot of that material. And then people kind of forget that the source material exists…but you go back and realize how gruesome and realistic it is and realize that as a kid, that’s not what you’d want to be shown.

  • Tora

    I was a blue-eyed blonde child of the 80s. My big sister
    was a hazel-eyed brunette. When Beauty and the Beast came out, she pointed out that Belle was the first brunette Disney princess. 2 of the previous 4 princesses were blonde.

    And Disney wasn’t the only one making animation. In the 80s nearly half (or more) of female-led cartoons were blonde. Jem, She-Ra, Beverly Hills whatever, and My Little Ponies. Even brunette Strawberry Shortcake had a blonde Berry Princess in its movie special.

    There’s also a disproportionate number of blonde women in Hollywood. Lots of dyed hair because few people, including me, naturally have medium to light blonde hair as adults. That means that a very small slice of the population has a much larger representation in media. By having a large piece of the cultural representation pie through films, shows, music (pop stars anyone?), and magazines (Playboy anyone?), what we see becomes the ideal. The standard. The GENERIC. They are, after all, interchangeable aren’t they? Pop stars, bunnys, Fox newscasters… Because white, blue-eyed, blonde is the quintessential “All-American girl/boy”. It is THE standard in America and I don’t think you realize this.

    Every new image of something adds to the cultural stereotype. So you might think that having as many blonde princesses as WOC princesses means nothing or that Playboy is just showing Hefner’s personal taste but it DOES have influence. It doesn’t matter what personal preference is. If an American 30 year old man loves redheads, that is his personal and conscious preference. But because media, society, and culture has enormous influence on us, he implicitly knows the cultural stereotype of blonde is good, light is good, BLONDE IS AMERICAN, he will unconsciously believe that stereotype. He WILL be affected by the stereotype. He will probably still chose redheads to ask out, but he will subconsciously see blonde as better than black hair, brown hair, red hair. More good. More beautiful. More FUN… and probably less intelligent too. Oh joy. There are a lot of explicit blonde stereotypes.

    This article here is not about blondes but race. And the comments on this particular thread are mostly about race and not blonde in particular (but blonde is a Scandinavian stereotype so no points to Disney for accuracy).

    So yes, the majority of Disney princesses are black-haired. But 3 of the 5 black haired princesses you mentioned are the ONLY heroines of their ethnicity in Disney so far (Asian, Native American, and African American). Plus black hair is by FAR the most common hair color in the world with brown second (and who else has brown hair besides Belle and Rapunzel for all of 5 minutes?).

    On another note, both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella have blue-eyes. Rapunzel has green which are rarer than blue and just as light so Disney doesn’t get any points there either.

    For me, it would just be nice if Disney writers took a damn social psychology class. Or rather everyone did so I can stop reading comments about how these things don’t matter because they don’t affect anyone anyway. They do. Negatively. Even you.

  • Anonymous

    Well, for that matter, why do we keep assigning Disney/ESPN/ABC the responsibility for putting stories on screen? Okay, they may co-opt the work later (Pixar, Studio Ghibli) but we have to, as consumers, diversify our consumption too.

  • Gwen Fyfe

    “dudewashing” is a great term for this. I’m going to go stick it on Urbandictionary. Here’s hoping it catches on.

  • Anonymous

    Then they’ll get blamed for “westernizing” other cultures tales.

  • Valk

    I love how civil everyone is here, unlike the debates on tumblr. People seriously get bullied for if they say something that is not ‘agreeable’. People are just not allowed to like frozen due to whitewashing.