This Artist Decided To Show What Disney Characters Would Look Like If They Had Realistic Bodies
Disney gave us a colorful bunch of friends to grow up with. Some were bold, expressive, and charismatic. Others were quiet, deep thinkers, carrying a world of emotions in their kind hearts. But as different as they were on the inside, most of them were very similar on the outside.
So artist Wyethe Smallish decided to try and see what they would look like if they were built differently. "I have my own body image issues that I work on, and a major way that I do that is through my art," Wyethe told Bored Panda. "So as a therapeutic exercise I wanted to alter some characters I really loved growing up."
But what started as a personal project has already touched hundreds of thousands of people—after Wyethe shared her works on social media, they quickly went viral, receiving tons of praise from people who really appreciate such a refreshing take on their beloved characters.
The Disney Princess franchise is comprised of thirteen princesses and a number of associated heroines. Regardless of any actual title(s) they have, each official Disney princess is properly addressed (within the franchise) with the title of "Princess" preceding their name.
They are: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Moana, and Raya.
"Growing up as a little girl, I always looked up to [Disney's] princesses and admired [their] stories," Wyethe said.
"I noticed that they all had the exact same body proportions, and that made it harder for me to relate to them as I grew up."
Having said that, Wyethe really enjoys the Disney character design. "It is a gorgeous style!"
However, she believes that, "as a society in this day and age, body representation not only makes the image more relatable, but it also helps with body acceptance and body appreciation."
"Overall there has been an enormous amount of positivity and appreciation for these illustrations," Wyethe added. "I receive messages every day saying how these images have helped heal their inner child. That makes it so worthwhile to me."
But we should remember that there's more to her art than this series. "While I do appreciate the love I have gotten from these drawings, as an artist this is not what I focus on. I may make more videos from time to time, but I have no desire to pursue this any further than a therapeutic exercise."
The classic Disney movies have long been criticized for the problematic messages they transmit to impressionable girls, including the idea that you need a man to be happy, that you should wait around until you meet the man of your dreams, and that, once you marry the prince, you will live happily ever after.
But the image of feminine physical perfection often takes center stage when it comes to criticism towards the studio. For example, in their paper 'Mirror, mirror on the wall: Whose figure is the fairest of them all?', anthropologist Toe Aung of Pennsylvania State University and independent researcher Leah Williams said, "Disney princesses have extremely small waist-to-hip ratios that are nearly impossible to achieve naturally."
Aung and Williams argue that such characters "might heighten or reinforce our preference for lower waist-to-hip ratios, and the perception that physically attractive individuals with lower waist-to-hip ratios possess morally favorable qualities."
So instead of building girls' self-esteem, the way these princesses look might actually bring the opposite result in the long run.
But since beauty is a subjective trait, Aung and Williams focused on a measurable quality: the female characters' waist-to-hip ratio.
Using screenshots, they determined the "minimum waist and maximum hip widths" for 11 official Disney princesses, and the main characters of the phenomenally popular Frozen as well as seven Disney villains, including Maleficent from The Sleeping Beauty and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
They found the median waist-to-hip ratio of the characters was a ridiculously low 0.535, meaning their waist measurement is just 53 percent of their hip measurement.
That is far below the 0.7 that is widely accepted as ideal and, surprisingly, even lower than that of the traditional Barbie doll, which is 0.56.
Such an hourglass figure is "nearly impossible to achieve naturally," the researchers highlighted.
Note: this post originally had 53 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.