This Series Of Disney Princess Illustrations Cleverly Promotes Cervical Health Awareness


In case you missed it, January was was cervical health awareness month. We have to admit, we didn’t even realize it, and although this article is being published in February, we still feel it is highly relevant. It’s sad to say that an issue as important as cervical health was not widely covered in the media, but we want to do our part in rectifying that for our readership at least.

According to the CDC, cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States, but thanks to the introduction of regular pap smears and the Gardasil shot, this statistic has now changed, which is why the continued focus on raising awareness about women’s reproductive healthcare is vital. According to, HPV and cervical cancer affect more than 79 million American women.

In 2012, the most recent year numbers are available, over 12,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 4000 women died from it. However, given the continued stigma, shame and political oppression that surrounds women’s reproductive healthcare in general, it can be hard to sometimes find bias-free information.

Which is why a new series of Disney Princess illustrations created by artist Maritza Lugo, in conjunction with messages about cervical health awareness from sex education activist Danielle Sepulveres is something every woman needs to see. The idea of taking such a well-known pop culture phenomenon and attach an important health message to it is brilliant, and will hopefully be effective.


Danielle released the series of images on her Tumblr account, and expresses her disappointment in the lack of coverage about this issue.

“January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. And the majority of cervical cancer incidences are directly related to the HPV virus. Sadly you will barely read about any of this. Instead you’ll hear about National High Five Day or National Cupcake Day (both actual things),” she writes.

“But I get it. Clickbait does not typically come in the form of “let’s talk about sexually transmitted diseases.” But can’t we use January, the beginning of a new year for a fresh start for sex ed as a whole? Do we really want kids sitting through a class teaching them that a girl saying “no” to sex is the one you should keep pursuing? Or just regaling horror stories of when birth control didn’t work instead of properly explaining how to use it?” she continued.

Her emphasis on the broken sex education system in the US is important here. For those who aren’t aware, only 22 states require public schools to teach comprehensive sex education. And only 18 of those require the information to be medically accurate. As for the states which teach abstinence only, it should be no surprise to anyone that they have the highest rates of teen pregnancies. So when you take medically accurate, vital sexual health information away from a young man or woman in the time of their life when it is needed the most, we are failing our youth.


“The statistics on success of birth control can vary greatly based on proper use. Why would you encourage improper use even if you were teaching to wait until marriage, there are times in a marriage that utilizing birth control can be necessary. And can we finally stop holding up STDs as some kind of deserved punishment for shameful behavior? Sex exists. It will always exist. High schools and even colleges teaching that it’s something to be feared or ashamed of without actually providing a useful education about it and everything related to it are doing us all an injustice,” said Danielle in the conclusion of her post.

She also adds that women’s media outlets such as Cosmopolitan magazine, Glamour, The Daily Beast and more were not interested in covering this story. We initially found it covered on Bustle, and feel it is only right that we use our space on the internet to rectify the lack of coverage.

Danielle told Bustle that after seeing so many artists and activists using the Disney Princess range to send powerful messages (about disabilities, domestic violence, or body image, for instance) she figured it could be a good way to channel her message.


“One day it hit me—had anyone ever drawn them going to the gynecologist before?” she told Forbes magazine in another interview.

Now we get to see Jasmine and Aladdin visiting the family planning clinic. Cinderella has blood drawn for an STD test. Mulan gets a pap smear. Belle picks up a prescription for contraception. And Tiana received the Gardasil shot.

“There is a stigma attached to HPV and cervical cancer, and the media plays a part in perpetuating it. I want women to know that even though they don’t have a celebrity ambassador, they don’t need to be embarrassed and they don’t need to feel ashamed,” Danielle said.

“We need better comprehensive sex education as whole in this country, we need doctors who aren’t afraid to speak up, and we should point out the success in Australia that has come from the vaccine,” she continued.

We couldn’t agree more. January may be over for another year, but awareness about cervical health and reproductive issues should be ongoing.




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