Jirka Väätäinen is an art student at Bournemouth University, and Yahoo News service shows me that he has used photo manipulation to render versions of the Disney princesses as if they were "real life" women. He's posted his images at a blog here.
This interested me a great deal, so I wanted to have a quick look at the original cartoon images, and JV's images, and see how realistic they look. For initial reference, here's a "group shot" drawing that has several of the princesses featured in Väätäinen's work:
Let's start with Princess Jasmine:
This is Väätäinen's rendering of the princess.
Have a look at Disney's version here.
What differences can you spot?
There's one glaring difference, which is the difference between the drawing's waist size and the "real person" waist size. It was interesting that when I googled to find the Disney image, I found several cosplay practitioners displaying their Jasmine costumes proudly, and a few looked really very similar to the JV image (although some were obviously White). None of them looked remotely like the drawings.
Curiously, I couldn't find any images showing Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) dressed the same way as she's shown in JV's image of her - I did see several children dressed in a version of the outfit, and that one "group shot" drawing of the princesses together displayed above, but no scenes from the movie, which surprised me.
One thing did surprise me about Väätäinen's Sleeping Beauty, which is that she's blonde. From the famous telling of the story, the wish was for a daughter whose hair was "as black as ebony". She's also got a longer torso than the drawing and, in her corset, actually looks less curvy than the drawing as a result. Although you'd have to argue that Sleeping Beauty the drawing is probably more realistic as a real person's proportions than Jasmine, she's still upholding an improbable (if not impossible) ideal.
Pocahontas, who's next on the sequence from Yahoo, is where we don't need a comparison piece from Disney to see that there's something... not quite possible about the body shape ideals that they display:
Not only is it a body shape and body ideal that is impossible to achieve naturally, it looks as though here, it's impossible to achieve unnaturally and make it look real.
When that's what our kids have to contend with, what chance have they got?
One thing that I found worthy of note, is that Pocahontas seems to be another one where it's grown-up cosplay more often than children. One such image was very adult, ifyaknowwhatImean...
Yahoo next shows us Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. Leaving aside the extremely dodgy relationship model that the story gives us, what about the images?
Disappointingly, we don't get a full-body image from JV, so we can't compare proportions in that way. Google images mainly focuses on Belle in her yellow princess' gown, while JV has again chosen her more workday clothes as his model, so finding comparisons was harder. This was the best I could do, and to be fair, it doesn't look that bad for proportions - and JV's image is pretty close. SInce I've started commenting on this - the google image search this tim had a fair number of both children's versions and grown-ups, with some apparently falling into the "sexy" category that typifies US commercial women's Hallowe'en costumes (a trend that I was dismayed to notice this year has crossed the Atlantic).
Next up is Esmersalda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
What is going on with that shoulder!? Her left arm also looks twisted into an impossible position (I don't know if a double-jointed person could manage it).
Here's a comparison still from the movie:
All the stills I could find featured Esmeralda in a corset or bodice, which doesn't appear in JV's image, and of course her waist is slimmer in comparison to the rest of her body as a result. It may also go some way to explaining why JV's image seems to have a weirdly twisted torso. The above image (and several others) have Esmeralda's breasts lifted and squeezed by her costume, and it looks as though JV has attempted to match that, leaving a strangely distorted figure. If anything, I think that this comparison shows the torturous and tortuous lengths ot which women are expected to go to look beautiful, rather than the impossibility of achieving a particular body shape.
For the record, I found only two cosplay images, both of them relatively unrevealing. No kiddies pics.
Ariel, "The Little Mermaid", next.
While one might quibble about the twisted arm position, JV's image is remarkably normal-looking** (if you ignore the fish tail!) - but it looks nothing like this:
There doesn't seem to be room in her body for her internal organs! That's really all I need to say on that. Costumes were mainly children's costumes of Ariel's human form.
I'm skipping over the Sea Witch image, because (apart from the fat-shaming point that she's evil and not thin) there's not a lot to say on that.
That leads us to Megara, a character from Hercules.
Looks real, although quite slim, doesn't she?
Let's look at the original:
Dear God in Heaven, you could scale JV's image by 50% sideways and still not be close! And his image was on the slim side to start with. A lot of young adults seem to like dressing up as Megara, playing with their "norty" side, we may surmise, perhaps?
The last princess that Väätäinen has rendered thus far is Mulan. Like Belle, Mulan is not a full-body image, just the upper torso and head. Here's an image for comparison. I don't have any obvious remarks to make, although the body shape of the movie image's lower torso seems almost as if her sash has been pulled extra-tight to make her thin enough!
Again, there seemed to be mainly adult cosplay versions of Mulan, I didn't see very many children dressed as her.
**Normal here meaning "inside the standard deviation of the normal bell-curve"
This piece was originally posted at A Femanist View