"Ariel and Elsa, this is how I wish my daughter saw you."

In my house, 2014 feels like it’s been sponsored by Disney.

Frozen. Frozen. Frozen. We have Elsa costumes, we have the DVD on high-rotation. The CD’s playing in the car. We have Elsa and Anna action figures, we go to Frozen parties, we eat Frozen cake.

The look on my daughter’s face here pretty much sums it up:

But that’s not all. When my almost-5-year-old isn’t tugging on her hair, willing it to grow so she can have an ‘Elsa plait’, she’s ‘being’ Ariel. Ariel the Little Mermaid, who’s been swimming around pop culture since 1989.

My daughter has many, many questions about Ariel.

“How can she hold her breath underwater for so long?” She’s a mermaid.

“Can I be a Mermaid when I grow up?” That would be a no.

“Do sharks eat mermaids?” I would guess, yes.

I fought the Disney princesses for a long time. And then they beat me. My pre-preschooler instincts were that they were lousy role models, and that they promoted a very particular, very narrow view of what women were – in need of saving.

Source: Loryn Brantz.

But parenting stiffens your spine in so many ways, and chills you out in so many others. Now that I live in Princess Land. I’ve made my peace. Or have I given up?  I suppose I have decided that are many, many more serious things to worry about than the influence of Ariel, Elsa and her mates.

So I don’t want to be”one of those” parents who’s trying to steal away the magic and fantasy of childhood.

BUT. I wish they ate more, these girls.

I wish that the women who are my daughter’s idols, her moon and stars, her (cough, splutter) role models, had even vaguely realistic bodies, instead of waists the size of gnats, wrists like twigs and ankles that would never, ever make it full a whole night of dancing with a prince, handsome or otherwise.

Which is why I LOVE these illustrations, by photographer Loryn Brantz, where she’s taken the princesses and just made them ever so slightly “normal” in the waist department.

Like this:

Ariel, BEFORE. Source: Loryn Brantz.

Ariel, AFTER. Source: Loryn Brantz.

Because I genuinely don’t understand why the Princesses need to be QUITE SO THIN. Yes, yes, I can just about live with the idea they have to look beautiful and glamorous, and aspirational (just like a “real” princess), but I can’t think of a good reason why they are not just slim – in the ‘this is the western standard of beauty and princesses are beautiful’ kind of way – but in a teeny-tiny, sylph-like, so-light-they’re-almost-invisible way.


And Disney are not backing down on the thin-ness. After flirting with a slightly more human shape with Merida in Brave, they reverted straight to type with the almost feminist Elsa and Anna, neither of whom would have a chance of standing up on those spindly legs in real life.

Sigh. So hope with me that obsessing over these icons isn’t setting up my daughter for a lifetime of “Why don’t I look like that”. And instead enjoy Lauren’s imagined world where the princesses get dinner, as well as a handsome prince.


Loryn Brantz is a two-time Emmy Award-winning illustrator and design professional. She lives in New York where she strives to create works that make people giggle no matter what the medium. You can check out her work here. You can also connect with her via her Facebook or Tumblr accounts.

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