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Not So Happily Ever After

When the Fairy Tale is Over, Real Life Creeps In

Photographer Dina Goldstein has done a photo series called Fallen Princesses. It revisits some fairy tale heroines and gives her take on life after happily ever after:

As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of fairy tales. I explored the original Brothers Grimm’s stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.

Photographs after the jump.

It is an interesting series. You can visit Dina Goldstein’s website here to see a few more photos from Fallen Princesses not shown here, as well as her other work. I don’t know if this is a work in progress or a finished piece. Considering the tone of it I think it would be interesting to include a few more photos dealing with some other issues like prostitution, breast cancer or mental illness. A Princess who has had a mastectomy I think would be an incredibly striking and disturbing image.

I wonder if Disney has contacted Goldstein about her use of their Princess. Disney doesn’t like people messing with their characters. That in itself could make an interesting photo, I bet Disney wouldn’t like their Princess portrayed as slaves owned by the Disney Corporation.


July 8, 2009 - Posted by | Daily Whims | , ,


  1. this is awesome.

    Comment by Rev. Random | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. So, this has been floating around a few places, and has stirred up a lot of controversy about stereotypes and what it means to be “fallen.”

    Like Jasmine: is that a racial stereotype?

    Or Little Red Riding Hood: more fat hating?

    But for me, the Repunzel and Belle pics are the most interesting, because those are certainly very real issues. And it goes with that whole idea of “happily ever after” and what it means (and what it doesn’t include).

    I thought it was a really cool project myself, and I appreciate anything that gets people talking.

    Comment by TheHobo | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hobo, I agree that the Belle and Rapunzel ones are the best. They kind of stop you in your tracks.

    The Jasmine one – yeah, I laughed and then felt a little bad for laughing.

    The Red Riding Hood one more fat hating? Whatever. There are too many other groups crying “persecution!” with more reason for me to shed too many tears on this one.

    Comment by SeaKat | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  4. I always feel a little funny about the fat hating debate (by the way, just watched the Simpson’s ep where Homer gains weight to go on disability) because on the one hand, I understand how hard it is to lose weight and how that kind of size effects every aspect of your life, from your ability to travel (by car, plane, etc) to the quality of health care you get (some places just can’t accommodate morbidly obese people).

    But people of that size have some serious issues going on, and yet they are the last group we’re allowed to consistently make fun of. I know very overweight people who actually mostly eat very healthy–no baskets of fast food.

    On the other hand, going back to the photo project–what happens to Little Red Riding Hood? She gets eaten…so it’s interesting that she then becomes the symbol of gluttony herself.

    And Rapunzel looses the thing she is best known for, and Belle becomes a Beast in search of beauty, and the child-like Snow White is overwhelmed by raising kids…

    And even Jasmin–that is, sadly, a reality of the area her story takes place in, and makes a very interesting commentary both on the stereotyping of the movie (and how the “ethnic” characters didn’t have regional accents) and of how we overlook what women in that region of the world have to go through (although as one friend pointed out, at least she’s not being stoned to death for not wearing a Burka).

    So…I still think that was a really clever photo project. 😛

    Comment by TheHobo | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  5. Totally agree w/all of your points. I know several morbidly obese people – and most of them do eat pretty healthy foods.

    But at the same time – you DON’T become 100 lbs. (or more!) overweight overnight. And you DON’T become 100 lbs. overweight from eating carrot sticks and salad w/o dressing for every meal.

    I suppose the only people who can truly cry “victim” are the young kids who are insanely overweight from early youth and never had the chance to make healthy decisions for themselves.

    Comment by SeaKat | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  6. Agreed.

    I just wish more people would look at extreme obesity as an actual problem and not just a sign of laziness…it’s a self-destructive act, an actual eating disorder like anorexia is, and it’s got the same mental and physical issues as being addicted to drugs…only worse because you can detox from drugs much faster than you can lose weight.

    Healthy or not, food becomes something else to people with that severe of an eating problem.

    And as someone who lost 95 pounds (at my thinnest) I know that it’s a lifelong problem, much like dealing with any addiction–I am never going to be perfectly okay with food. And in fact, I have gained back weight and am struggling with trying to get back down to a healthier one.

    So, you know…not saying they haven’t done it to themselves, just saying, so have drug users and anorexics, and we give them sympathy and help. Fat people should get that same consideration–and push to get help.

    Comment by TheHobo | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  7. Wow, Hobo – I had no idea. First of all, congrats on your achievement! Secondly, I’m really sorry if anything I said upset you. 😦

    I feel the same way about anorexics and drug addicts as what I wrote above. I have a negative feeling about any people who claim victimhood when they put themselves in that situation. You can’t fix a problem until you (a) admit it’s a problem and (b) address the destructive behaviors that create the situation.

    The thing is – when you have the media showing negative images of people w/meth faces, or needles hanging out of their arms, etc., you don’t get a legion of drug addicts claiming that the media is drug-bashing and hateful and cruel and it’s not their fault… but show a negative image of an obese Red Riding Hood carrying a basket of hamburgers, and many people commented about how stereotypical, and cruel and nasty, etc. they were.

    And I think that’s where I get frustrated. For every friend that I have who is extremely overweight and who does their best to make better choices, go for walks, etc. – there’s someone like my f-i-l, who has adult-onset diabetes and high cholesterol thanks to his huge gut. He not only eats crap food in amazing portions whenever he can (i.e. when his wife isn’t watching,) he says his doctor has told him that it doesn’t matter what he weighs, because the medication is keeping his cholesterol and blood sugar numbers in line. He’s smart enough to know better; he just chooses not to use his brain. He’s willfully fooling himself…and probably killing himself in the process.

    It’s frustrating. And it’s an epidemic.

    Comment by SeaKat | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  8. Oh, I wasn’t the least bit offended. 🙂

    And I understand your point entirely. I almost wish we did treat it more like drug addiction, maybe more like alcoholism (which is also accepted and has that “safe levels” idea…that is, I’m only slightly alcoholic = I’m only a little overweight–not enough to have to give it up entirely, but enough to start monitoring and changing your levels). Because then maybe more people would treat it like a real issue and not JUST an appearance thing. Look, I’m no hot mamma, and I ain’t, thanks to massive amounts of weight loss, ever gonna be.

    But I could be healthier, and I spent a great deal of my life being very unhealthy.

    So, the Red Riding Hood image stood out to me as someone who is living a very unhealthy lifestyle…and as a symbol of gluttony, that was pretty potent for me.

    And I too get very frustrated by people who have hurt their health so extremely that they NEED meds to control it, when it can be so much better and more easily controlled through proper diet…

    Anyway, yeah, I think we’re all on the same page. Don’t try to defend obesity to me. The BMI “overweight” on the other hand, sure, no problem, so long as you can exercise and eat right I don’t actually care what anyone weighs. I just want people healthy.

    Comment by TheHobo | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  9. Agreed!! 🙂

    Comment by SeaKat | July 8, 2009 | Reply

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