10 4 / 2013

ASIAN AMERICAN DISNEY PRINCESSES:
by Kim (annakimskywalker) & Donnie (donniekompany)
11x17 inkjet prints


Most of us grew up watching Disney classics featuring the beautiful Disney princesses we all know and love. Disney was and continues to be a staple in the lives of many children. However, despite how much we admired these princesses, it was difficult relating to them because they didn’t physically represent us. Take a look at any Disney princess product and you will see the preference towards the White princesses, white washing of princesses of color (skin color, facial features, etc), and the shoving of these princesses to the side.

In the 76 years since Snow White was released, there have been 12 (soon to be 13) Disney princesses, only 5 of whom are women of color (Jasmine in 1992, Pocahontas in 1995, Mulan in 1998, Kida in 2001, and Tiana in 2009). It took 55 years to portray a woman of color as a princess, and these portrayals also came with problematic and inaccurate representations of their respective cultures & histories (not to mention Tiana was a frog more than half of the movie).

How are young APIA children supposed to believe in “happy endings” when we don’t see them happening to people who look like us?

All of the above was the inspiration behind this photoshoot. We believe physically showing some of our favorite princesses as Asian American women will allow us to build more of a connection with the princesses who weren’t women of color, but who still possess qualities we admire and/or see in ourselves.

**These are just 5 of the 15 we recently showed at our university’s Asian American Studies Expo.

Andrea as Sleeping Beauty
Henna as Belle
Cat as Cinderella
Young as Snow White
Jenny as Tinkerbell

Photography/lighting: Kim
Hair/makeup/wardrobe: Donnie
Editing: Kim & Rachelle

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