These Women Dressed Up as Plus-Size Disney Princesses to Prove Royalty Comes in All Sizes


amyeloisew/Instagram

Have you noticed that there's not much diversity amongst the Disney royalty? For starters, it wasn't until much later that we even got racially diverse princesses, like Mulan, Pocahontas, or Tiana. Even so, they're still the only representation of their culture in a sea of white princesses. And another thing -- have you noticed that all the princesses are tall and svelte? For those who grew up on Disney flicks, this likely influenced their own body image. 

  • Instagrammers Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) and Amy Wooldridge (@amyeloisew) recreated their own diverse and equally beautiful versions of Disney princesses to "challenge [Disney's] current way of thinking," Elman tells CafeMom.

    Growing up, Disney movies made Elman's "heart hurt a little," as she wrote on Instagram, because no princesses looked like her. Since Disney princesses are obviously the "epitome of beauty and happiness," this made her feel like she therefore wasn't.

    "I think, currently, their characters send a specific message about beauty and happiness," Elman tells CafeMom. "All these characters have a happy ending, so what does that mean for people who don't look like them?"

    So body-positive activists Elman and Wooldridge dressed up as Snow White and Rapunzel, respectively, to give us the princesses we need. 

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  • Like many other kids, Elman would want to dress up like a princess, but she could never find a costume in her size.

    Actually, that same problem persists in adult costumes too. Elman and Wooldridge struggled to find any Disney princess costume in their size. In fact, Elman wanted to be Jasmine to show off her stomach scars, but "no surprises that people still continue to assume fat women don't wear crop tops," she wrote.

  • Additionally, Disney's binary depiction of good and bad -- i.e., princesses and their villains -- also influenced how she felt about her body as she grew up.

    Disney villains, like Scar from The Lion King, created a stigma around scars, making society think of them as bad and unwanted qualities. So when Elman earned her scars from her multiple surgeries, she felt like that meant she wasn't beautiful.

    More from CafeMom: 10 Disney Princesses Reimagined as Moms Like US -- They Mostly Need Naps

    Wooldridge felt similarly when it came to how villains were portrayed. "... the fatter (and thus 'uglier') characters were the villains or the comic relief," she wrote on Instagram. "Ursula or LeFou. Queen of Hearts or Philoctetes. In fairytales, it seemed that the thin and beautiful got the happiest ending, and the fat and unconventional, for the most part, didn’t."
  • "In all honesty, I'm tired of seeing the same bodies represented again and again," Wooldridge wrote.

    "It’s time we had a fat princess," she continued. "A princess with scars. A trans princess. A princess with a disability. A princess that hasn’t had her body drawn from the same stencil as all the others."

    Elman tells CafeMom that she hopes her and Wooldridge's photos prove to Disney and others how powerful it is for everyone to feel represented. 

  • She's right about that. People flooded the photos with comments about how much they "love this and the message."

    "The kind of princesses I wish I'd have known of when growing up," someone else commented.

    More from CafeMom: Photographer Transforms Newborns into Tiny Disney Princesses & the Photos Are Magical

    Let's hope Disney takes note of this message, and that some more diverse princesses (and princes, for that matter) are headed to a theater near us.

body positivity body image disney