A group of thirteen-year-old girls have been praised online for their inspired protest at the Women’s March in LA, which saw them reimagine Disney Princesses.
This weekend, on the 21 January, millions of people took to streets all over the world to send a united message: women will be not be silenced any longer.
In the wake of Time’s Up, these protests marked the second annual Women’s March to show support for women’s rights, the #MeToo movement and, particularly in the US where the march originated, to speak out against President Trump’s policies on racial divides and immigration.
Photos from the rallies in Los Angeles, USA, show a number of inspiring sights and signs, but one group of thirteen-year-old girls, in particular, have been praised for their woke approach by taking the stifled, constrained catchphrases and identities of Disney Princesses and giving them empowering new identities.
The six Archers School for Girls students took on different princesses from Sleeping Beauty to Tinkerbell, dressing up and creating signs to match their character, with each one taking an element or iconic phrase from a Disney story and subverting it.
Sleeping Beauty, who famously slept for a hundred years until a man she’d never met crept into her bedroom and kissed her without her consent, was given a much-needed update with a sign that read “Stay Woke” cleverly playing on the character’s quite literal inability to do so.
One young woman portrayed Ariel from The Little Mermaid who gave up her ability to speak for a man. She took one of the character’s most-loved songs Part of Your World and highlighted the lyrics, “Bright, young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand.”
Speaking to Buzzfeed reporter, Brianna Sacks, the girls explained how they wanted to take the submissive stereotypes associated with Disney Princesses and command ownership of it on their own terms.
“We’re sick of being seen as princesses so we made our own take on it”, said Ava Rothenberg (Sleeping Beauty).
Commenting on why she chose to dress-up as Ariel for the march, Naiobi Benjamin said, “I chose Ariel because in the movie she gives up her voice for love. I wanted to represent her reclaiming her voice, with the understanding that you don’t have to give yourself up to get what you want.”
One of the few Disney films that eschews the traditional happily ever is Frozen, which concentrates on the love that two sisters have for each other and themselves over that of a man.
Jacqueline Marks explained why she chose to dress as Frozen’s Elsa, saying “She is one of the few Disney women that follows her own ambition, and whose story’s focal point isn’t falling for a prince.”
This story particularly resonated with Marks because she identifies as part of the LGBT+ community. She continued, “I relate to the queen because she learns not to care about others’ opinions. She restores summer and finds peace and love both within herself and her family. To me, this is truly inspirational. She stays strong and fierce.”
Social media users have (quite rightly) been quick to praise the teenagers for their smart, strong and imaginative protest.
In response to the images shared of the ‘woke Disney Princesses’ one Twitter user wrote, “THESE GIRLS ARE MY HEROES! #LAWOMENSMARCH #TheFutureIsFemale”
Another simply said, “You kids bring me hope.”
Although it is true that many of the original Disney Princesses aren’t what you would call raging feminists, it’s worth mentioning that they aren’t all negative role models.
We can’t help but love strong-willed, inventor Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who cares more about nourishing her mind with books than relationships with admirers from her village, or Princess Jasmine, who refuses to submit to her family’s wishes of an arranged marriage.
Nevertheless, we absolutely adore the smart defiance of these young women’s protest. They are truly inspiring.