Princess Fat-Shaming

June 19, 2009 § 14 Comments

Via Latoya at Racialicious, I see a series of photographs by Dina Goldstein entitled “Fallen Princesses”. Goldstein says of her project:

These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues.

It’s a cool idea, artistically speaking, and some of the images are very thought-provoking. I especially liked the irony in the portrait of Snow White, an exhausted-looking young mother burdened by four kids.

But the project has some disastrous issues. Latoya’s post (go read it) and the subsequent comment thread are a nice breakdown of some troubling ethnic and racial stereotypes that Goldstein presents in her reappropriated version of Jasmine. And I’m also uncomfortable with Goldstein’s depiction of the “fallen” Little Red Riding Hood, boringly titled “Not so Little Riding Hood”:

red riding hood

Commenter Brenda DeShazer writes:

Excellent, let’s reinforce the stereotype that fat people gobble huge quantities of burgers and sodas.

For reals. I see two glaringly problematic stereotypes embodied in this photograph: that fat people eat indiscriminantly and “unhealthily”; and that being fat is the ultimate downfall.

This is the polemic “realistic outcome” that Goldstein came up with? Seems to me that she herself has fallen back on unoriginal (and clearly offensive) stereotypes.

§ 14 Responses to Princess Fat-Shaming

  • E.G. says:

    I don’t understand why Goldstein saw obesity as the ultimate result of Little Red Riding Hood’s ordeal. I mean, this woman is devoured alive by a wolf, and then saved when a woodcutter cuts open the wolf’s stomach–definitely a story with much more creative possiblities in reinterpretation.

  • Phoebe says:

    I think one of the main problems with this project is its description – “a more realistic outcome.” I don’t think that any of them are more realistic per say, so much as more interesting than happily ever after. I love the Rapunzel image. I think it’s heartbreaking and interesting, but I don’t see how that’s the more “realistic” outcome to a story of being locked in a tower.

    Well, there’s that problem… and the blatant stereotyping.

    I think it was a really interesting idea but, for the most part, it was executed poorly.

  • […] Women’s Glib, Princess Fat-Shaming […]

  • K Rienke says:

    I don’t see *any* of these as working. The ‘outcome’ seems disconnected from the actual ‘moral of the story’. (In the French Beauty and the Beast is about keeping one’s word, not about being pretty.) In many cases, even from the Disney ‘low-fat’ version.

    The artist says she didn’t know these stories as a child, so she may just be working from the Disney visuals and skipping the plot.

    • Mara says:

      I’m pretty sure the artist read the original stories. Also, the French Beauty and the Beast is NOT about “keeping one’s word.” It was a tale for to-be brides in the 17th century France where women were often married off to men they didn’t know and those husbands seemed like “beasts.” The story is about dealing with “beastly” men. Maybe you should read the originals first.

  • mdilloway1 says:

    I thought the photos were prettily executed, but for the most part I got the whole story at a glance; they’re thematically shallow. The photographer saying that they’re more than they are (” a more realistic outcome”) is weak.

    I agree with Phoebe, they could have been done better. I wonder what Cindy Sherman would have done with this theme.

    Snow White was the most interesting. It made me imagine another life for her, especially with the Prince– liked that he was watching polo or somesuch on the tube instead of football, too.

  • […] between the fawnings over Obama and his family, celebrity gossip, and random blog posts there was this post about Diana Goldstein’s Fallen Princesses. Being the Disney girl and the fairy tale girl […]

  • […] Princess Fat-Shaming Via Latoya at Racialicious, I see a series of photographs by Dina Goldstein entitled “Fallen Princesses”. […] […]

  • gingerlady says:

    i agree that some of these photos seem to be working strictly from the low fat renderings of the stories. while these shaved down versions are probably what the photographer’s kids are confronted with in their daily lives, i think that looking into the allegories could have been really rich. when i think of the little red story, i think of violation, and the idea that to save a life you might have to take one.

  • flufffox says:

    I see this as an addiction to unhealthy food. Something a lot of people currently have issues with, no? And yes, I see this is “fallen”. However, I do not the fatness as fallen. The addiction to unhealthy food is though.

    Also, though I like the concept I don’t think these photos are worth much artistically.

  • […] may want to check out a discussion on Racialicious about presenting Jasmine in a war zone and Women’s Glib’s discussion of the representation of fatness as “fallen” (and the stereotype […]

  • […] issues of Red’s obesity and Jasmine’s racial stereotyping have been brought up and flogged to death, so I will not […]

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