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Fans Do Cool Things

Disney Princesses Re-Imagined As Women Of Color

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  • Kathryn

    I don’t really see a lot of re-imagining here.

    Rapunzel worked brilliantly, but the others? Eh.

    Would like to see some *proper* re-imaginings, because those could be really, really stunning. Just imagine an African Aurora, including a dress that would be influenced by African styles!

  • Elizabeth Kyllingstad

    I agree that Disney needs to ease up on the whitewashing, but some of these (Like Merida and Belle) wouldn’t make sense in their geographical context.

  • Erebus Rubric

    “Just imagine an African Aurora, including a dress that would be influenced by African styles!”  That would be positively lovely!  I got shivers just thinking about it.

  • Anonymous

    Merida and Rapunzel were brilliant ! Agree with Kathryn for the others, the colors were just changed, it’s a bit sad =)

  • Breath of Life Blog

    Still waiting on a Mexican Disney princess… 

  • Anne

    Yes!  I’m not the only person who’d like to see a better version of this concept.  Keeping everything the same except for coloration is a lazy way to racebend.

  • jenn

    Ariel looks lovely with dark hair!

  • Kathryn

    One could argue that Snow White would fit this too. I thought the whole point of her name was that she was, um, as white as snow. Pale skin, raven hair, bam. Snow White.

  • mildred louis

    I don’t get it. They all look the same except some of them have tans while others just have darker hair. 

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Why do they have to make sense geographically? It’s a fun fan creation.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking the same thing. I colored Disney princesses with brown and tan crayons in a coloring book when I was little. That was about equal to this re-imagining. I’d really love to see a real restyling of all the princesses as women of color. Especially Ariel, who has so much room for creativity in that direction. 

  • mildred louis

    Ugh. Thank you.

  • Kathryn

    Because that’s where the “re-imagining” would happen. Just by changing the skin colour, you’re… not really doing anything. You’re colouring differently, that’s it. But if you linked their stories and character to the location where their skin colour would be (e.g. a dark brown/black skin colour would generally mean Africa), and based the style on that? Bam.

    In other words; imagine Mulan or Tiana as white characters. Just colour them white. It doesn’t work, does it? Well, those above largely don’t work either.

  • Anonymous

    I think it would certainly be cool to have more culturally diverse princess stories, but being a person of color doesn’t have to automatically pair one up with a specific nation or continent, and in any case, I think it’s neat to see women of color as European-inspired princesses, especially since people often discount the notion that there were people of color in the Europe of the past. 

    Besides, this is just a fan made creation on a doll maker, I do believe the options were limited. :]

  • Terence Ng

    I would normally agree with this, but the point seems to be more to see what they would look like, not necessarily drafting up believable examples of where WOC could have been featured instead of their white counterparts.

    For example, it’s not likely that a princess in Medieval Europe, a girl living with her evil stepmother in France, and a princess in Ireland are going to be of African, South American, or East or Southeast Asian descent.

    And obviously with the Snow White description,s he wouldn’t be.

    These just seem to be more ideas of what those characters would look like if they were WOC on a whimsical aim.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    To be fair, we titled it re-imagining, not the designer. She was just having fun, not writing a dissertation. 

  • mildred louis

    They aren’t women of color, though. Nothing about them makes them women of color. Literally all that’s been done is that their skin color and hair color have been changed. Nothing else about their features has honestly been changed to give them any semblance of distinguishing them from their white counterparts. If you want women of color, then why does there seem to be any attempt at even changing their hair texture? 

    Being a “WoC”, things like this irritate me to no end. There’s no creativity in it and to try and say that this does any good for adding racial variety is kind of a joke.

  • Kathryn

    “but being a person of color doesn’t have to automatically pair one up with a specific nation or continent”
    No, it doesn’t, but Disney’s previous women of colour (Pocahontas, Tiana and Mulan) wear clothes appropriate to the areas they come from – or at least the public perception of that.

    So, if you were racebending (as someone said), it would work so much better if their clothing was adjusted too. The Rapunzel above, for example, might wear a sari instead of the bodice, blouse and dress/skirt.

  • Anonymous

    Snow White’s mythos includes the notion that being the most pale girl kind of goes hand in hand with being the most beautiful. Don’t you think it’s awesome that the same notion of most “most beautiful in the land” could be paired with a woman with dark skin? I think that’s what this fan creation is going for. 

  • Kathryn

    I know that, I’m just pointing out (as have others) that nothing at all has been re-imagined.

  • Kathryn

    The article writer above made the point this was done on a paperdoll maker so there wasn’t a lot of room for variation.

    Makes you wonder what purpose this article serves, doesn’t it?

  • mildred louis

    As far as I can tell, it’s just more drivel to clog the internet. 

    I’m sorry, but damn, this hit a button.

  • mildred louis


  • Anonymous

    It’s just a fun slideshow. That’s all. I didn’t write 1000 words on critical race theory and representation. We just found a fun thing on Tumblr that people liked. That’s all. 

  • Magic Xylophone

    If you change their clothes, and their facial features, and their skin color, what is there to connect them with the characters they’re a reimagining of?

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Any/all of you are welcome to design this series of photos how you feel they should have been designed in the first place (maybe we’ll post them) but lay off the creator for just doing a quick experiment we thought was kind of neat.

  • Magic Xylophone

    …except their skin color. Which was the point of the exercise.

  • mildred louis

    Then write it about a fun little thing that you thought was neat and leave racial diversity out of it. There’s no need to even bring it up since it doesn’t do anything to provide it. 

  • Magic Xylophone

    Isn’t Cinderella up there supposed to be hispanic? Or did you mean in an actual Disney movie? In that case, I believe Kuzco is an indigenous South American. Which is not the same thing, but related.

  • Magic Xylophone

    And different shaped eyes and eyebrows.

  • mildred louis

    There’s a plethora of ways to reimagine a character into a completely different person and show hints of influence such as the use of color palette in their clothing, or providing a mixture of fashion influence from their originally designed outfits. 

    Saying that changing the skin color of a character is something creative just seems to support laziness in a world where creativity can virtually be endless.

  • Kathryn

    Of course it could be paired that way, but then the name loses all meaning.

  • mildred louis

    The only person who’s eyebrows look different at all and are noticeable are Ariel’s, and that’s because they’re exceptionally thick. Everything else that’s been changed is easily skimmed over. 

    I get that it was done with a doll maker but that doesn’t mean it should be made as any kind of a poster child for racial diversity in Disney films. If anything it does nothing but condone that a small selection of features are considered acceptable and that a color saturation is all that’s needed to make a world that’s not so diverse feel so much more diverse.

  • Magic Xylophone

    If creativity can be virtually endless, why not just come up with a new character?

  • Anonymous

    That’s completely unfair. As I said in a post above: Snow White’s mythos includes the notion that being the most pale girl kind of goes hand in hand with being the most beautiful. Isn’t it awesome that the same notion of most “most beautiful in the land” could be paired with a woman with dark skin? I think that’s what this fan creation is going for.  

    I won’t discount how awesome it would have been for me to see a Disney character that I glossed as latina growing up. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s wasn’t race bending to satisfy a social necessity, it was race bending to satisfy a bunch of Tumblr users wanting to see the Disney princesses as women of color.

    I’m not projecting anything other than the important of un-normalizing whiteness, something silly projects like this try to do, even just a little.

    And yes, Tiana was not the best possible woman of color character. But again, not going to discount the important of her. 

    It’s not perfect, nor did I ever claim it to be. All it is is a fun slideshow that shows non-white disney princesses. I didn’t say this was going to fix racism at all.

  • Magic Xylophone

    Meg: Thicker eyebrows, rounder nose and chin, fuller lips.
    Ariel: Slanted eyes, thicker eyebrows, smaller mouth, smoother cheekbones
    Aurora: Slanted eyes, wider face, smaller mouth
    Rapunzel: Almond-shaped eyes, fuller lips
    Cinderella: …not much
    Belle: Slanted eyes, smoother cheekbones
    Snow White: …not much
    Merida: Slanted eyes, thicker eyebrows and eyelashes

    There’s only so much you can change them until they’re no longer a version of a Disney character, but just a straight up original design. Which is great, but not–from what I can tell–the intent here. I don’t think anyone has claimed this is the peak of diversity, just an experiment in character design.

  • Magic Xylophone

    “they’ve reimagined characters that previously existed”

    Yes, but “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” are just nebulously defined characters from varied folk traditions. Disney’s Cinderalla or Sleeping Beauty are specific incarnations of those characters with their own clearly defined facial features, body types, and clothing. The point of this exercise is: “What would the Disney characters look like as different races?” So the results look just like the Disney characters, with the same clothes, body types, and similar looks, except with different racial features. 

    If you want versions of the vaguely defined folk characters as different races, God bless. It’s been done before, but there’s certainly plenty of variations to be tried.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Are there princesses in Mexico?

  • Unicorn

    Black-washing more acceptable than white-washing?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    “Un-normalizing whiteness.” So, no matter what, someone has to be the oddball.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I disagree.

  • Magic Xylophone

    The Aztec hegemony is kind of complicated for me to parse out, but yeah, they probably had an equivalent position.

    Of course, Pocahontas and Mulan aren’t princesses anyway, and Tiana only became one by marrying a foreigner.

  • Magic Xylophone

    More acceptable than back-washing, certainly.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    So…no. No princesses in Mexico, at least no princess that will ever be the “Mexican Princess” that Breath of Life is waiting on.

  • Terence Ng

    I agree. I’m not saying it added anything to racial variety, nor am I saying it’s even good or doing any good. I was just responding to the comment about whether it’s believable in a story-context, and my argument is that it wasn’t the point of the exercise.

    From my perspective, I don’t know what the original faces on the characters looked like in the Dollmaker program, but cartoonishly, any of these could represent WOC. That’s not to say that it represents the plethora of features identifiable to WOC, but I blame that more on it being a standard of beauty that seems to want to promote big eyes, tiny noses, and full lips.

    From what I saw, it seemed like facial features had been changed, unless the Dollmaker program has Belle and Ariel with almond eyes to begin with, whereas the distinct animation template’s versions are much bigger and anime-esque.

    As for the hair, the only one that seems completely unbelievable to me is Snow White’s. I don’t see Merida’s hair template as being an impossible interpretation of WoC’s hair, considering that WoC have a wide range of hair textures, from straight to curly to kinky, let alone how they choose to alter or wear their hair regardless of its natural texture. I do agree that this is not representative of the tight and kinky end of that spectrum, which strikes on the problematic trope of what is considered “good” and “bad” hair. But if every example here showed women with pin straight, sleek hair, I would agree that it’s completely unrepresentative. But it may be my bad for interpreting some of these as a range of dense and wavy styles, with Merida’s being the most far on the kinky end.

  • Nekokat Chan

    The colors for Snow White didn’t work very well. It just looked wrong.

    And Merida? She’s kinda scottish, and there were no people of color there then. Sorry.

    Not that I don’t love the idea, those two just didn’t work for me

  • Terence Ng

    I definitely noticed the facial feature differences in Ariel, Belle, Merida, and Aurora, but I didn’t know if that was on purpose, or if the Dollmaker set the eyes to be different from the original Disney templates to begin with.

  • Magic Xylophone

    I assumed she meant, “Mexican member of the Disney Princess pantheon, which technically includes non-princesses for convenience’s sake.”

  • Terence Ng

    Adam, that’s not what “normalized” means in this context. Normativity is the state of being considered the norm, compared to all other states. Something being reduced in its normativity indicates that it is being leveled from being the predominant interpretation of “what x should be” to being equivalent. It isn’t about making WoC depictions the new normative standard, it’s about making depictions of all kinds of people the norm. You’re not digging a pit where a hill used to be, you’re leveling everything evenly.

  • Magic Xylophone

    Hm, good point. I did notice that they made Snow White considerably thinner than her original character model. Tsk tsk…

  • Magic Xylophone

    There also weren’t kilts in Scotland until the 16th century, 600 years after Brave takes place.

  • Alex T

    I love Aurora. She makes a very beautiful woman of color.

  • Raina DaCosta

    I really wish she did something different with their hair, rather than just changing the color. African Americans alone have variety of styles and hair types that could have been worked in to these concepts.

  • mildred louis

    My issue is the perception that tweaking things ever so slightly suddenly equates to “OMG!!!111 RACIAL DIVERSITY!!!111111″ Looking at these characters does nothing to me because they look exactly like the original characters with their skin colors changed. What subtlety in the facial features that are present are, likely yes, due to the fact that it was done in a Disney Doll Maker which provides little to no variety in facial features what so ever but THAT’S PART OF THE PROBLEM. The Disney Princess Ideal is mostly centrally focused on white characters, so pretty any changes that are made a pretty much excusable -because- they’re all based on a very very restrictive variety. 

    I was excited when I saw the title, and completely appalled when I saw the product being presented. This isn’t racial diversity, this is, and yes, I’m going to outright say this, but it’s borderline black face for the most part. 

    My comment in relationship to the lack of hair texture is just reflective of aforementioned restrictive variations that prevent it from really being something worth even thinking or looking at for longer than a minute. 

  • mildred louis

    … I call absolute bull on this. There are artists that have done their own renditions of Disney Princesses a million times over and they have constantly been able to be recognizable. Do you know why?

    Because things like Belle’s golden ball gown are iconic for her, the kind of patterning the dress form, the detailing on it. Because things like Ariel’s shell bra are instantly recognizable as well, and instantly trigger the connection between them and the character. 

    It’s not an experiment in character design.

    It’s a kid messing around in a doll maker program. That’s it.

    Please for the love of god, can people start recognizing this. There’s quite literally nothing creative about this what so ever.

    If you have to take the time to LIST the differences, then clearly this is not doing a good job.

  • Mark

    You know, commenters, Disney is telling fictional stories in fictional worlds with fictional characters (and Pocahontas), so if they wanted to, say, make a Latina-looking princess in a European castle fighting African witchdoctors while riding Chinese Dragons and wearing a steampunk wedding gown, they could do that. Because some people have imaginations and don’t say “Um, escuse me, but there were no black princesses in magical fairy tale dragon-infested England.”

  • N Gilbert

    A dark tan and some hair dye doesn’t make them “women of color.”  Their features are otherwise the same, and that’s still white girl hair.  Where’s the natural kink?

  • ainok

    I made one of these dolls a while back–I was trying to see if I could use the materials available to make a warrior. The results were…less than impressive, and definitely hampered by the notable lack of pants options on the dollmaker.

  • ainok

     Fortunately I later discovered a dollmaker for vikings, which had something like 8-10 options *for each individual section of armor*. I had way more fun with that one.

  • SailorQuaoar

     Why is this an article? This isn’t anything official, and it’s not even original drawn art.

    If it was a series of fanart depicting various fairytale/Disney princesses if they had existed in non-European cultures, then that might warrant a post saying “hey check out this cool multicultural Disney fanart”.
    There’s loads of actual Disney fanart like this, including plenty for Rapunzel set in India, that are original and not dollmakers. Boom. There we go.

    But this? This isn’t art. These are simply dollmaker screenshots with the colors of the hair and skin changed. There was no effort put into it other than a few clicks.
    I have no idea how these screenshots got popular on tumblr, but this is not a “fan labor” and is certainly not art.

  • Magic Xylophone

    I took the time to list the differences because you claimed the only difference was color, which is not the case.

    The variant versions of the character that you mention tend to keep the appearance of the characters consistent with their traditional portrayal, while changing their garb to match a different setting. This one keeps their clothing consistent, but changes their appearance subtly. If Belle, who in this case seems to be Chinese, were wearing garb consistent with her ethnic heritage, like, say, a 
    Cheongsam, instead of the iconic gown, and a traditional hairstyle to boot, then by what measure would you recognizing her as the Disney character? The color gold? Divorced from the context of the story they appear in, which doesn’t come across in a simple image like this, what is there about these Disney characters that is essential to capture, if you’re changing their appearance, clothing, and background? Why not just make up new characters?

  • Moxie Six

    Aww, these are more just colored in Disney drawings than reimaginings.  Where are my ladies with tight curls of epicanthal folds?

  • Niaya Nix

    Absolutely no creativity or extra thought was put into this.Its as if he/she took a children’s coloring book and made some of the princesses brown.

  • Kathryn

    And kilts aren’t even really that Scottish. Most of the popular concepts about Scotland (kilts, tartan and haggis) really aren’t either traditional or even Scottish!

  • mwakholi
  • Joanna

    Lol!  I like the way Snow White is the darkest =D

  • Pungahead

    Let the (unnecessary) racial wars begin! Scroll down to see more!

  • Riviera

    Wow, so much flaming and insults over someone just messing about and trying to see what the princesses would look like as non-white people.

    Seriously, guys! This was made in a paper doll maker, by someone who was just curious!

    Just because she didn’t redesign all the characters does not mean this isn’t valid in its own right.

    Not all of us are artists, but all of us can still contribute to things like this in our own ways. She’s trying to do something a little differently. If anyone feels they can do better, no one is stopping you from doing so yourself.

  • Anonymous

    I kind of like the simplicity of this. I like that it’s just regular ass princesses who just happen to be of colour. Why does a black princess have to be “African themed?” Does every black person you know walk around in African inspired clothing? Why does everything about them have to be tied to their race and the culture we assume them to be part of? Why is it that in Disney movies, they are only WOC when the story ABSOLUTELY needs them to be. Sure, the creator had limited content to work with, but I think it can still make a statement about princess movies and what the audience expects to see from a WOC. 

  • Caitlyn Joy Elmore

    I’m with Jill on this one: If you don’t like how this was done, then do it yourself and show us just how much better your “re-imaginings” are. Until then, STFU and stop being hyper-critical. Considering the whitewashed Disney pantheon that is the reality, any kind of ethnic touch is a novelty, even if it’s just the work of a well-intentioned fan.
    That’s the other thing: the concept of race is racist in and of itself. These are the princesses if they were different ethnicities. Ethnicity is biological. Race is a social construct. By employing the term, you continue all the negative connotations attached. Remember that next time you’re about to discuss race.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t really jive with Ariel not having red hair. It’s like taking Batman and removing the ears.

  • Anonymous

     Lol, by “African styles” I assume you mean influenced by kente cloth (because Africa is a continent with thousands of different styles of dress). If you’re gonna speak out in dislike about laziness then you might want to check your own broad, lazy ideas of what you think people of color should like and dress like at the door.

    I don’t see anything wrong with these dolls. I think whoever did this had the right idea to try out some different shades of brown. Gives an interesting foundation for an actual artist to build off of.

  • Cori Eby

    Black Snow White made me laugh.
    A lot.

  • Inspired by truth

    Thank you Jill, for this comment! Lauren is my daughter, is Native America and embraces diversity more than anyone I know. She has always been a HUGE Disney fan and one day, just for fun, decided to use the Dollmaker program  to experiment with the skin hues available and ended up with this delightful display of women of color which she posted on her blog. No one was more surprised than she when it was featured on the HuffPo and a dozen or so other blogs and online publications. Some of the comments have been brutal, going after the ‘laziness’ of doing no more than changing the skin tone. I’ve wanted to scream out that the program didn’t allow for changing the hair and clothing to be more authentically African American, for example, and that she wasn’t really trying to make a statement along the lines that some commenters have complained about. I do hope your readers and others will be more understanding and accept this display for what it was. Knowing my daughter as I do, however, I suspect she will take up the challenge and find a way to satisfy the respectful requests that she go further next time.

  • Annemarie Hartnett

     Ariel is quite adorable.

  • Molly S

     They could have re-imagined her as Asian then and her name would still be accurate.

  • Anna Sophia May

    Mulan was a princess in the old ballad( she marries the son of the emperor) , but Disney changed it around. Just saying.

  • Anna Sophia May

    That’s why I prefer the Celtic version. Her name’s Goldtree in that. 

  • Anna Sophia May

    I’m a bit sad they included Merida. She has a very specific culture, not a ‘ far off fairy tale land’  with no designated place other than ‘ Europe-ish’ I guess the same goes for Meg, but Merida’s story.. it’s so tied to Scotland, and I don’t know- it’s like  making Tiana white, or Mulan mexican- it tears apart the story, and feels a bit offensive. I’m part scottish, and I’ve waited a long time for the celtic myths vand culture to  get noticed.

  • Jim Neil

    women of colour? what is this the fucking 50s?

  • Anna Sophia May

    maybe not hundreds and hundreds of years traditional, but my Clan ( with Tartan) has been around for a while, and had a castle, and that’s traditional. Traditional doesn’t mean ” from the very start” it means ” it’s been part of the culture for a lengthy period of time. 

  • Kathryn

    Yes, but a lot of so-called “traditional” beliefs aren’t as old as we think, nor are they from the area they’re associated with. A lot of it comes from the Victorians in particular, who did a lot to shape our views of history, culture and even religion. Much of what we view as traditional stems not from centuries upon centuries of practice, but popularised ideals from the Victorian era.

  • Anna Sophia May

    Oh, I know. But by now, they’ve become tradition- not as old, of course, but all the same. And a great deal of the beliefs- particularly about the Good People and such are traditional. I just finished a course in celtic mythology, and a lot of stuff’s older than I used to think, or at least rooted in really old stuff. Like the symbolism of different trees( Rowen or Hazel, for example) or Faerie rings and changlings- I used to think those were wholly Victorian, but not at all!

  • Anna Sophia May

    Who’s the Irish Princess?  Disney hasn’t adapted any of the Irish faeries stories, they tend to make Grimm and Andersen look like, well, Disney. 
    Merida’s Scottish, and there is a difference, a rather noticable one when it comes to faeries and folk stories.

  • Anna Sophia May

    Which is, as I said, why I like the Celtic version of the story, where we never learn what she looks like and her name’s Gold Tree.

  • Anonymous

    I think they are lovely! It seems that the artist did more than just change the princess’ skin colour and hair. It looks like she changed facial features as well. Plus folks, “re-imagined” means different things to different people. To the artist who took the time to create these, these ARE re-imagined.

    Just because it isn’t what MOST of YOU imagined does NOT make it wrong or less of a vision… AND… it’s a re-imagining of DISNEY’s Princesses. So changing the clothes would mean nothing. It would be a beautiful Kenyan woman in a Kenyan outfit… or a Japanese woman in a Kimono.

    If those of you complaining think it should be done differently… then YOU do it!

    They are awesome the way they are! Great job!!

  • Jerilyn Nighy

    For the next reimagining, I’d like to see the princesses as peasants.  I’m weary of the monarchy/hierarchy/wealth worship.

  • Logan

    Disney didn’t create most of these characters…they come from old fairy tales written by European authors (hence why Snow White is a german girl with brown eyes).  

    One of the princesses Disney DID create was Tiana – a woman of colour – who is from New Orleans.

  • Rols

    Merida already is a “woman of color” – a redhead. Messing with her is as offensive as re imagining Mulan as blonde and blue eyed.

  • Anonymous

    I agree- to an extent. Of course, Snow White can be a woman of “color.” There are more colors than African-American and Anglo-Saxon though and I would have liked more of that. I also would have liked those races to be represented truly. Pocahontas is barely Native American and I do feel that these are some pretty Caucasian looking women of color. Just changing the tint doesn’t make it a woman of “color.”

  • Terence Ng

    Sorry, that was my mix up. You’re right. Merida is a princess in Scotland. Thanks! :)

  • Anna Sophia May

    No biggie. I’m kinda sad, though, I’d like to see a Disney version of the Children of Lir, or the Wanderings of Oisin….

  • Anonymous

     I would watch that movie

  • Anonymous

     An Irish princess would be nice. There was a Welsh princess – Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron, but they don’t like to talk about her. (Partially because BC wasn’t -her- story, partially because the movie tanked, so Disney doesn’t like to mention it at all.)

  • Priscilla V. Quinones

    Honestly, if you’re a white person commenting on this, shut up. Just cause their women of color doesn’t mean their individual cultures are what you think they are. What 90% of you are doing, it’s called racism and it’s wrong.

  • Priscilla V. Quinones

    She is white. Red hair does not make her a women of color. Her skin is still white.

  • AndreyaV

    Tell me about it! African Americans finally got their Disney Princess with Tiana, so where is the Latina Princess??

  • Angel H.

    I’m sorry I’m posting late this but seriously? Fuck that. Several of the people commenting here with criticisms are POC themselves. Fuck you for saying that we can’t critique this pictures just because you think they’re “kind of neat”.

  • Angel H.

    “Woman of color” =/= “colored woman”

    Yes, there’s a difference.

  • Angel H.

    Go educate yourself.

  • Angel H.

    Thank you! POC are not white people painted brown!

  • Jill Pantozzi

    You obviously can critique the issue (never said you couldn’t), it’s turned into an interesting discussion, but I was asking people here to not direct hate at the artist who wasn’t intending to make a social comment, just do something fun.

    Please do not address any of our staff in this way again. You’ve been warned.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Thank you for stopping by and saying all of that. I truly apologize for some of the comments made here. 

  • Anonymous

    No one said they are. This was an art project done by a teen of color on a limited-option dollmaker. From my understanding, she didn’t intend for it to be a thesis on critical race theory and representation.

  • Angel H.

    I always thought that “The Mary Sue” had issues with a lack of intersectionality. Thanks for proving that to me.

    Do you even realize that you’re giving me the same excuse that male gamers have been giving female gamers for years concerning the accusations of sexism in the community? But since we’re talking about representations of POC it’s all okay, right?

    I’m not saying that these pictures are as bad as say, Duke Nukem Forever, but saying that POC shouldn’t critique because the artist didn’t mean anything by it (Because Intent! It’s magic!) just reeks of white privilege to me. And honestly, I don’t see any hate here. Frustration, yes. Resentment, maybe. Hate? Absolutely not. And do we not have a right to feel frustrated when someone decides that painting white women brown = POC and people applaud it because they think it’s “kind of neat”?

  • Jill Pantozzi

    No, I’m saying this young woman is being ripped to shreds online and I personally don’t think she deserves it. She used a simplified doll maker to do something and was limited by its limitations. Read what the creators mother wrote above. Lots of comments here came from an angry place instead of trying to educate the creator on how they believe what she did was wrong. 

    You can share with us your opinion on how you think we should not have posted something so simplistic and problematic in the first place but writing “fuck you” was inappropriate.

  • Anonymous

    I feel like there is a huge misunderstanding here.
    We found an art project by a teenager of color, who wanted to make Disney princesses that looked more like her.
    We posted it, not proposing that it was the end of racism.
    A lot of white commenters suggested that it was crappy representation because they didn’t look “African” enough, which is racist. I commented on that, but that got misconstrued as me saying that black people = white people in black face. I never intended to say that. What I meant to say, was that being a woman of color doesn’t have to tie you to a specific cultural background, which is what many white commenters were trying to suggest by saying “where’s the African garb?”

    Yes, we lack intersectionality because much of the staff is white or white-passing, and we try every day to not suck at it, but we obviously still do, and for that I’m sorry. But we were posting artwork by a teenager of color from Tumblr, where racebending by way of recasting white characters with POC actors is pretty common, a popular one is casting Gina Torres as Wonder Woman ,for example. We were deferring to POC tumblr users and posting something one of them had made.

    I apologize if it seemed like anyone was saying that the way to fix representation is to just make white characters brown.
    I apologize for being a shitty ally, I should have just posted it, made sure everyone knew that the author was also a woman of color, and let people take up issues with the work with her, and totally stayed out of it. I was just upset at the white people trying to shit on her for not making it African enough, that smacks of exoticism to me.

  • Angel H.

    I appreciate your comments. Thank you. However, the artist being a WOC and the person sending you to the link being a POC doesn’t excuse this from critique. We’re not a hive mind, after all. :-)

  • Angel H.

    If se’s being ripped to shreds online, I agree that’s not coll. I just don’t see that happening *here*. As for some of the comments coming from “an angry place”. Yes, being racialized tends to do that to people.

    As for my using vulgar language, I had assumed it was okay because I had seen commenters here using such language towards each other in the past and nobody batted an eye. I couldn’t find any “Rules of Engagement”. Is the rule no cursing at all, or just not at the staff?

  • Anonymous

    Of course not, I definitely didn’t mean to imply that, just meant to say when we were posting these images and contesting the white commenters we were trying to be accountable to the people of color within our community.

    Again, I sincerely apologize.

  • Anonymous

    We try not to allow personal attacks on the site, and if they slip through that’s on us and the difficulty of moderating a website with many commenters and little staff.

    Just being clear though: being angry, upset, etc by the discussion is absolutely fine, and I don’t even need to say that obviously, just letting you know that we know that institutional oppression leaves people justifiably angry.

    I think what Jill was getting at though, was that she wasn’t trying to silence anyone, just suggesting people submit different pics to post and to lay off the artist, and that “fuck you” directly to her was the sort of thing we flag. And I know that sounds like it could turn into tone policing, but I promise weren’t not doing that with that intent.

    Sorry for any confusion and sorry for being a bad ally!

  • Kim H

    I gotta say, as a mixed race girl who prefers natural hair, my hair doesn’t look like any of those girls’ hair. 

  • Karie J. Whiteside

    I think many of the posts are missing the point. I’m glad there is even a program out there that can allow someone to play with the skin tone of cartoon characters. I suppose no one here has ever watched “Happily ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” (introduced on HBO, 1995) where many of the most popular children’s stories have been re-imagined in a multitude of ethnic diversities.

  • Anonymous

    The above the most racist post in here

  • Anonymous

    Obviously the artist didn’t intend on redesigning the whole thing, so the argument about hair and secondary characteristics is out. Besides, not every PoC is black. Some PoC do have straight hair, and even if she was black, does straightening her hair make her any less black?

    This is the kind of histrionics that dominates racial discussion in the west, and it should be abolished or corrected. 

  • Bubbs

    Africa the country!

  • Clare Wilson

    Your daughter may be interested to know that there is a Chinese version of the Cinderella story that extremely old (from as early as the 9th C). She should look up Yeh-Shen (Ye Xian).

    And while I knew about this story, I only just found out there had been a CBS Storybreak special based on it as well.

  • Cameron Purdie

    I don’t understand the point.

  • Guest

    They just look like white girls colored darker to me. There are facial features that should have changed as well. Not to mention body styles and proportions.

  • Elephante

    Meg was already a woman of color, you didn’t have to change her, lol. I feel like if there’s a princess in here to be left white, it would be Merida…How many ancient, red-headed, Scottish princesses have you known to be “of color?” xD

  • Anonymous

    Merida is not a Disney Princess.

  • Aaron V Steimle

    These are so very lovely. So many of them look so much better this way!

  • Guest

    Is it too late to write the requisite: “Get a Life” comment?

    Have any of you that are bitching about this even been to the princess creator site where these were made? It’s not like there is an unlimited amount of options to choose from.

    Also, if you want to see something “more authentic” how about creating it yourself instead of tearing down a girl for trying to be more creative?

  • Fish Jones
  • Kol Drake

    Neat to see a Disney princess without almost automatically being a blonde. (( Yes, I know there are some of various colored hair but, it’s almost subconscious that they are all blonde to me… )) Cool concept.

  • Anonymous

    They take liberty with just about everything else in the story…

  • Anastasia Elizondo-Lossow

    As an artist and person of color, I think these are wonderful. In critiquing to be helpful; remember re-imagining characters as different cultures also involve the facial features, not just the color or shade. For example, Most African Americans/Africans have wider noses and more full lips. Not all, but quite a few. My Mother is fair but still has wide nose and full lips. just keep that in mind. these are great though, really.

  • Joanne Bamberger

    What about the ones who are already women of color — Jasmine? Mulan? Pocohantas?

  • Olabusayo Lola Kilo

    my favs are snow white, rapunzel and meg!!! love it!!!

  • Constance

    Let me start off by agreeing that Disney needs to move away from its WASPish tendencies. That said, here’s my two cents:

    Anyone else have a problem with the “of color” label?

  • Bek Hall

    There’s also an Algonquin Cinderella story that’s quite good. Check out “World Tales” by Idries Shah.

  • David M Katzin

    Most of these are pretty beautiful (Ariel and Merida both kind of rock). My only problem is with Snow White. Maybe I’m being too literal, but the character’s skin is supposed to be white as snow. Wouldn’t it make more sense as a light-skinned asian/native american– oh! oh! Or were you aware of that expectation and making some clever subversion (or am I maybe overthinking it)?

    BTW, this reminds me so much of that passage from Bossypants where Tina relates trying to get her daughter to like her raven-haired Snow White doll as much as the gold coiffed Aurora. Also, it reminds me of a Boondocks strip that ran shortly after the first X-Men film, complaining about Storm’s look. They proposed creating a caucasian superheroine with afro-textured hair named “White Lightning.” I shat myself laughing.

  • The Shipper

    There have been at least 3 Royal Houses of Mexico.

    The first one granted from the Spaniards to the Moctezuma family, who later became the House of Moctezuma de Tultengo. The family still exist, and the descendants live in Spain. They have a peerage and continue to use their titles.

    The second one was more “official”, therefore called the First Mexican Empire which had one emperor of House of Iturbide:
    Agustin I
    Who had a LOT of daughters, all of them with the titles of Princess.
    There are still a lot of Iturbide descendants, that do have royal blood.

    The third one, being The Second Mexican Empire which was House of Hapsburg, led by Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, who, adopted into his Household Iturbide children…
    One of the direct descendants of House Iturbide, Maximilian von Gotzen Iturbide, who is son of Princess Carlota II of Mexico. He married a Greek Royal Princess and live in Perth Australia, I think, since they are forbidden to enter to Mexico ( because they do claim the Mexican throne, and that is illegal ). The current “claimant” to the crown does have a son and a daughter, which makes her Princess of Mexico to some.

  • Matthew Shempert

    so would I!. also, Pocahontas may as well have been made up, for how accurately the 12 year old was portrayed. :D

  • Jenna Hickman

    I like Merida’s “colored” version more than I like her original look.

  • ann_oconnell

    I really love Merida.

  • Friday Foster-ABWW

    They are making that movie now.

  • Tanisha W

    You know, as an African-American female, I actually do like and appreciate this: “paper doll maker exercise”
    because I personally feel that seeing Disney princesses of color is
    just that rare, where even this is almost a shock to the eyes. I also
    like that nothing was changed because in this modern age, it really is
    likely for a black girl to be relaxed, and with our ancestry, it is
    quite possible for a black girl to have ‘white’ features. These are
    fairy tales, they’re not realistic from the get go. Disney is has such
    an influence on little girls that an change, even as simple as this, can
    make a big impact. I know that had I seen at least this as a young
    girl, I would not have nearly the bad taste in my mouth from Disney’s
    lack of diversity, than I have now. This would have been a start. It
    would be cool to have more fairy tales from perspectives other than that
    of European,not to mention size, features, etc., but while Disney was
    churning out stories for little kids, it would have been nice to at
    least have seen this.

  • Tanisha W

    I personally think that the program offers the same shape/size model for all of the princesses. I notice I haven’t seen anyone comment on Merida’s size and shape.

  • Anna Partrick

    I’m opening myself up to attack just by commenting from what I can see in the previous comments below. I find that semi-horrifying. But can I please say something without being called racist or being internet-crucified? By the definitions of Disney ‘Princess’ used in the above racebending photoshop experiment, (which is to say any female love interest or protagonist in an animated Disney film with people, not animals) we include: Meg, Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Alice (from AIW), Rapunzel, Jane (Tarzan), Wendy, Belle and Merida. Also for good measure, throw in the already POC ‘Princesses’: Jasmine, Tiana, Pocahontas, Mulan, Esmerelda, and Kida (Atlantis). Yes, it’s a 11:6 ratio. Very uneven with almost twice as many Caucasian princesses. But if you classify just their main ‘Princess’ movies, with hand-drawn animation it gets narrower. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana. At that point it’s 5:4 which doesn’t look nearly as bad. And they’re the ones most of the merchandising is for (although Pocahontas, Mulan and Jasmine ARE woefully unrecognized merch-wise). Also take into consideration the years a few of the ‘white’ princess movies were made: SW (1937), Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959). ALL BEFORE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. The princess movies set AFTER it (counting Tangled and Brave, just for the Hell of it) are EXACTLY 50/50!!! Without T&B it even leans MORE to POC Princesses! So really what Disney needs to work on more than anything is merchandising and promoting the POC princesses they already have and staying on an even keel. I don’t think in 1937 and the 50s the studio run by a white guy was really all that concerned with racsim. Just sayin’. Not that it isn’t wrong, but it is what it is. I agree about the historical context precluding it in some cases as well, such as Belle, Alice & Wendy & Jane (from established stories that already had them fully realized BEFORE Disney got to them), and Snow White, where her famed description itself kind of prevents it from having her as a POC. Megara could have been olive skinned though, as she’s in a movie set in Greece that’s about Greek Gods. Herc for that matter could have been more Greek looking as well. Ariel could have been what the Hell ever they wanted, which is somewhere that whitewashing is pretty disappointing. At least she’s a ginger (even if her hair is spray paint red).

    My question:

    Why criticize the princesses, but not the princes/men? GENDER DISCRIMINATION. Shoe’s on the other foot now people! :) LOL

  • Anna Partrick

    I noticed that too. And it’s super funny to me, cause her film was made during the most racist time in America out of all the films represented! Intentional or unintentional…LOL

  • Anna Partrick

    I noticed that too. And it’s super funny to me, cause her film was made during the most racist time in America out of all the films represented! Intentional or unintentional…LOL

  • Anna Partrick

    And as much as Merida is Scottish and an ethnicity change would be weird in the context of her story, I do think she looks beautiful. I could go for her having dark hair. Not all Scottish people are redheads after all. I’m only a third-generation Scot to be born in America and I’m a blonde! :p

  • t. kerce

    I think they made her older because the subplot of a romance between her and John Smith. They couldn’t very well show a 13 year old having a romantic entanglement with an adult man.

  • t. kerce

    Most of the Fairy tales used are European, usually French or German, with the origins of the fairy tale are reflected in the ethnicity of the princesses. Meg is Greek, Jasmine is Middle Eastern, Tiana is Black (I personally suspect African heritage but that isn’t a for sure since not all people classified black have ancestry that goes back to Africa), Pocahontas is Native American, Mulan is Chinese, Esmerelda is Gypsy which is usually considered to be related to Romanian or Middle Eastern heritage.

  • t. kerce

    Scotland has the highest percentage of redheads in the whole world.

  • Tanisha W

    No offense but what does that have to do with my comment. While there are some stories from other cultures, I said it would be cool to have More stories from different cultures.

    *Not to mention, the European origin of Some of these tales are at least suspect.

  • Anonymous

    YES! It would be MUCH BETTER to expose our children to other CULTURES, and not just other “colors”!

  • Anonymous

    While I understood what they were trying to do, it was irritating to me that they didn’t just TELL OTHER STORIES!! All the cultures they were *adapting* to European stories *already had their own tales*!

  • JoyfullJuneBug

    I like them all ╰(*´︶`*)╯♡

  • P.J. Sparkle

    Aren’t they also intended for kids, who have to be told that this isn’t real?

  • Darkrah

    The only one of these that is not wonderful is Meg, I’m sorry but they should have made her Greek. You know, like she’s supposed to be. Other than that I came here expecting to be offended by each and every one of these with them making Mulan or Pocahontas something other than what they were.

  • Anonymous

    Right? “Historical accuracy”, which isn’t even all the accurate (see the medievalpoc tumblr) is just a silly excuse when it comes to fantasy stories.

    PS- you should pitch that IMMEDIATELY.

  • Anonymous

    Mabinogion Tetralogy shoutout! I’m really liking those, although more as Greek myth-ish archetypes than as actual characters. It might be hard, even for Disney, to bowdlerize those, though.

  • Anonymous

    That’s true. You enter a fantasy setting and you can do whatever you want with the story. However I do think that certain movies have a reason for using particular races of people, when they are working with a real world culture’s specific mythology, eg: Brother Bear, Brave. The magic is based around the culture of it’s peoples, which is why Disney feature the races of those countries/areas at the time.
    I’m more interested in seeing Disney explore a wider variety of cultures rather than just rehashing more European princess tales. Which I’m really happy to see them doing with Mona!

  • Anonymous

    These are… okay I guess. But they were created with a doll maker and they aren’t re-imaginings so much as just skin, clothing and hair color changes. I don’t really feel like they deserve to be featured here. There’s some amazing real race bending artwork out there by young people that would have been better showcased. Or better yet, artwork of original Disney princesses of color people have created.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that it was created on a doll maker is most of the problem here. Why are these being featured? There’s no actual talent being shown here and the idea isn’t even original. There are lots of really good race bending artwork that was actually hand drawn that deserves the spot-light more.

  • Anonymous

    This. ^

  • BK

    wow….they look good