Disney Princesses As You’ve Never Seen Them Before: Disabled


Sick of seeing those Disney Princesses all perfectly drawn and representing absolutely no one in the real world therefore giving young girls unrealistic expectations of beauty growing up? Yeah, so are we. Luckily, one awesome guy decided to change the way we all view the princess range, by creating a series of artistic impressions of disabled Disney Princesses.

Imagine if all of them had one disability. Imagine the type of impact that would have on young girls around the world who have a disability? Would you still like them as much? Would we still teach our kid to watch their movies? The type of message that would resound if Disney actually included a disabled princess would be profound.

First, there would be a more accurate representation of women in the real world. Second, perhaps it would allow young girls to focus on how a woman conquers life despite a disadvantage, as opposed to aspiring to live in a castle and look for prince charming to sweep them off their feet. Perhaps a story line which is centered around Ariel or Aurora overcoming obstacles would teach girls that adversity doesn’t mean something can’t be achieved in life, it just means you have to work hard.

Alexsandro Palombo is an Italian artist and critic who has a blog called ‘Humor Chic‘ where he regularly displays his art, mostly caricatures of characters already in existence, but subverted in some way to challenge the way society thinks about certain issues.


“I have decided to portray disabled Disney’s characters because they never create a disabled character and I think that they should consider that there are so many disabled people in the planet, it’s a fact,” he wrote to The Huffington Post.

“Two years ago I had a rare form of cancer and some parts of my body are now paralyzed after surgery to remove it,” the Italy-based Palombo continued. “I am now a disabled person, and every day I have to deal with all forms of discrimination and humiliation. Through this series I wanted to give visibility to this problem.”

“Have you ever seen a disabled protagonist in a Disney movie?” he asks on his blog, Humor Chic. “You sure don’t because disability doesn’t match Disney standards!”

“I think that disabled people don’t match Disney’s standards of beauty so my message is very simple: Disabled people have rights and are part of the world.”


“One out of every five Americans has a disability of some kind,” Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disabilities, told the Daily News.

“So when you portray popular iconic figures, like Disney princesses, without any of them having disabilities, you’re cutting out 20% of the population.”

Disabled people are the biggest minority group in the world, and the most underrepresented group in the entertainment industry, according to comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy.
Palombo is not the first to challenge the one-dimensional Disney Princess mold. When Brave’s Princess Merida received an obvious “sexy” makeover, a lot of mothers were outraged that the animation giant would have no qualms about pushing sexualization onto young girls.
Disabled-Disney-Princess-Alexsandro-PalomboTexas Photographer Jaime Moore was sick of the same stuff being pushed onto girls by the media, she created a photography project where she dressed up her daughter as real female heroes that she could aspire to, such as Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel and Susan B Anthony. Her message was that Disney Princesses are damaging for young girls.

And let’s not forget English illustrator and award-winning artist David Trumble who drew real life heroes such as Malala, Hillary Clinton, Anne Frank, Marie Curie, and Gloria Steinem to name just a few, as Disney Princesses.The message seems to be pretty clear in all of these projects, including Alexsandro’s. That audiences are not happy about the portrayal of these characters. The fact that they can so easily be swapped out for real life female figures should show Disney that what they are creating is not aspirational, nor is it contributing to the development of young girls in any way.

Disabled-Disney-Princess-Alexsandro-PalomboHere’s hoping someone at the top of the Disney Executive animation department is taking note of all these cultural discussions that are happening, and work to change things within their hugely influential productions.

Thank you Alexsandro for creating these artistic impressions which go a hell of a longer way to showing people what women look like in the real world, and showing girls that beauty is not something external. In fact, beauty should not be the sole thing that any girl aspires to in life, but they should be equipped with knowledge, empowerment, real role models and positive messages.


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