The Disney Princess & the Meme

Last week we looked at the various ways screen-grabs and screen-shots from films can be used creatively to think about a specific film. But images of films can also be appropriated for other more original uses. As we’ve looked at WordPress and Twitter, I wanted us to venture into Tumblr today to see what it can offer us as a platform for creative multimedia compositions. To narrow our scope, I’ve chosen the “Disney Princesses” and here are a couple of examples of what people on the web have been producing with said images. You’ll notice right away that rather than merely choose Tumblrs that merely aggregate content about Disney, these are more interested in thinking about the films in broader ways.

Disney Tumblr 1

The Disney Princess: photo-set of Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The Disney Princess
Here we find a site wholly dedicated to Disney Princesses and focuses its attention on the ways all of these films traffic in similar story-lines and imagery. Is this a type of film analysis? Is this a type of creative riffing? What do the choice of films and images tell us?

The Official Princess Club
The “Princess Club” is an ongoing online story (comic?) that features a couple of characters from Disney films, in doll-form. Billed as “the baddest bitches on the block” it changes up the characters we think we know while exploring a new type of genre (it’s modeled on snapchats, with captions superimposed over photos of the Disney dolls). How would you describe this Tumblr? How is this a different form of storytelling?

The Official Princess Club

Armoured Tiaras/Queer Crowns and Kisses
“This is a blog to recognize that animation and princesses are wonderful and important to the lives of lgbt+ youth. I am focused on talking about future representation in disney, as well as interpretations/ retellings of previous movies! this is actually a silly blog, but i am very serious about queer kids and princesses.” This Tumblr curates videos and images like the following “femslash” of Jasmine and Ariel:

Disney Racebent submission featured: If Kristoff from Frozen (2013) had been visually styled as a Sami to match his clothes and occupation.

Racebent Disney: “A tale as old as time, with some slight changes in the cast.”
This Tumblr aggregates different images and videos of race-bending in Disney films. (There’s a fuller explanation of the reasoning behind the blog here though it’s unclear whether it’s from the same person who keeps this Tumblr). What do the images in this Tumblr help accomplish?

Disney and Intersectionality
“This is a Disney Princess appreciation blog that isn’t afraid to analyze or break down disney. I advocate the need for more Princesses of Color (and other characters in general) in Disney films actively if not aggressively. If you can’t handle talking about race, this might not be the blog for you. This is a body, queer+ and trans positive blog. All princesses kick ass.” Much like the ones above, it looks to use Disney iconography to tackle contemporary issues.

Disney and Intersectionality; using gifs to make pointed commentary. Pocahontas (1995)

Feminist Disney re-captioning The Little Mermaid (1989)

Feminist Disney
“What is “Disney feminism”? It’s using positive messages in Disney to turn the lens inward and examine what could be better.It’s embracing and understanding intersectionality. If a Disney movie does not treat a marginalized group well, I will not ignore it or try to make excuses for it. It’s time to be vocal about what needs to change. Feminism means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. It’s kinda little, and sometimes broken, but it’s still good. ” (Starting to see a trend here?) You can see this Tumblr’s compilation of re-captioned Disney scenes here.

As you visit these sites and look at their examples:

– Think of what it means to borrow these characters. Think back to our copyright discussion; in all of these cases, is this fair use?
– What do these sites require of an audience; do I need to have watched these films to understand these sites? Does it strengthen the political points they make?
– Why would Tumblr be a good venue for these types of projects? What do you associate with Tumblr as a web platform?
– Which of these examples best make use of the internet as a composition medium? What about as an engagement platform? How do they use fan communities online to create conversations that go beyond the films itself?


About Manuel Betancourt

Manuel is a New York City-based writer, editor, and critical thinker. He's a pop culture enthusiast and an eternal Buffy fan. His work has appeared in Film Comment,, Backstage Magazine, Vice, INTO,, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Catapult, among others. He's a regular contributor to Remezcla and Electric Literature. | @bmanuel
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One Response to The Disney Princess & the Meme

  1. I felt like this applied to our discussion about the standard of beauty and how it should be changing. Albeit not in regarding to princesses, I feel like Barbie is around the same level.

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