From Beauty and the Beast to Cinderella, Disney fairy tales have one thing in common; the princess always gets her happy-ever-after. But, in 2017, things are very different - particularly under Donald Trump’s presidency.
In a bid to highlight the stark realities faced by women in the USA, illustrator Martiza Lugo has teamed up with writer Danielle Sepulveres to create a series of thought-provoking images. Each one features a Disney princess as she visits with her doctor or gynaecologist to discuss a range of women’s health issues.
However, as quickly becomes apparent, the princesses are no longer able to access the same care they could when President Obama was in the White House.
In one image, a doctor informs a visibly upset Jasmine that she has suffered a miscarriage. However, as Aladdin attempts to comfort his partner, the doctor is seen pressing an envelope – emblazoned with the words ‘Miscarriage Funeral’ – into her hands.
It is estimated that one in six pregnancies will end in miscarriage – yet, despite how common it is, many grieving parents find themselves the subjects of undeserved stigma. And, in Texas, the state has been trying to implement a new requirement that all foetal remains from miscarriage at medical centres receive a proper burial or cremation.
The caption on the image, which is shared on the @mindsaymohan page on Instagram, reads: “Trump just nominated former U.S. Senator from Indiana Dan Coats for Director of National Intelligence and he’s just one of many Republicans who back strenuous measures against Planned Parenthood and restricting a women’s right to choose. Indiana is a state along with Louisiana and Texas that have been trying to sign into law a mandate that would essentially force women to provide funeral services for aborted tissue and miscarriages.”
Another image shows Beauty and the Beast’s Belle as she attempts to pick up her birth control prescription, only to be informed that her refill has been denied.
“Belle was super happy to get birth control,” the caption reads, pointing out that American insurance companies may no longer be required to cover the cost of contraceptives.
“As someone who was dependent on it, finding out she was denied her refill will only make Belle's life a little harder. Birth control helps women in so many ways and it isn't just for preventing pregnancy.”
In a third image, Elena of Avalaor – aka Disney’s first Latina princess – attempts to visit Planned Parenthood, only to find her way blocked by “the evil stepsisters of the GOP”.
Another shows The Princess and the Frog’s Tiana as she attempts to procure her HPV vaccine, only to learn that it’s no longer available.
“In our final rendition of Disney Princesses versus the GOP, we remember that last year we had Tiana getting her HPV vaccine in part to promote Cervical Cancer Awareness month,” the caption explains, “and to combat some of the fallacies that perpetuate about the vaccine itself, which include the idea that only girls should get it, it promotes sexual behaviour, or that it’s ineffective.
“But this year there’s an even bigger issue at hand. And that’s Trump’s overall attitude towards vaccines. His insistence that vaccines cause autism has not waned, in spite of all scientific evidence to the contrary.”
The images, drawn by Luo and captioned by Sepulveres, make for poignant reading – and they really hammer home the negative effects that repealing the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) will have, particularly on on women.
“Disney Princesses are a hugely recognisable part of our culture and beloved by so many, but there’s a lot of misinformation floating around about women’s healthcare which needs to be rectified, so we wanted to take the princesses and use them to draw attention to accurate education,” Sepulveres told Scary Mommy.
“We chose to revamp the project this year within the context of the new administration because the fears of ACA being repealed will make being a women a pre-existing condition and could potentially have disastrous effects on rates of STI infections, gynaecological cancers and abortion. This year we wanted to prompt people to not only make their appointments with their doctor, but to call their reps and donate to Planned Parenthood because the implications of what a Trump presidency could do to so many of us is terrifying.”
Sepulveres went on to reveal that reactions to the series have been largely positive — and that the women who see it are sharing it and encouraging others to step up and support organisations like Planned Parenthood.
“It’s sparked some constructive discussion and of course it’s also led to some negative commentary online because the internet is nothing if not a vast wild place full of various opinions,” she said.
“While I’m thrilled that the majority support us, it’s been most disconcerting to me to see comments from women who insist that we all have and will always have the same access to comprehensive healthcare, which in no way takes into account geographical location or socio-economic status and shows that they’re failing to pay attention to the GOP who quite literally keep saying repeatedly they want to take it away from us.”
While the fate of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain, there’s no denying that women’s rights are at stake; just days after his inauguration, Trump threw abortion rights into jeopardy when he signed a global gag order, which bans US-funded groups around the world from providing – or even talking to women about – safe abortions.
The 70-year-old politician has also stated publicly that he supports an abortion ban exception for “rape, incest, and the life of the mother”.
Women’s rights advocates have spoken out against Trump’s decision, insisting that it will put women’s lives in danger.
“The global gag rule has been associated with an increase in unsafe abortions and we expect that Trump’s global gag rule will cost women their lives.”