Princesses Kicking Ass

Here are two things I love:

1. Women who look like they can kick some serious ass.

Even better is women who really can kick serious ass, but since I don’t see people fighting that often, I usually have to go by looks. When I see a woman who looks like she can for real mess you up, I get a weird combination of excited and jealous, and sometimes, if I can, I work out right away in an attempt to become as tough as the woman I just saw.

2. Reimaginings of popular stories.

I don’t know why, but I thoroughly enjoy reading or watching a new version of a familiar story with has one or two key elements changed, either by just being blatantly rewritten or by being told from a new perspective, so that the original message of the story is completely subverted. I loved The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I really liked Gregory Maguire’s Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and I bet I’d like Wicked if I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed Was by Geoff Ryman. I had a hard time getting into Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea when I read it in grade 12 English, but I like the story a lot. Good reimaginings like those ones make me tilt my head to one side and say, “Huh,” and I always appreciate when a story does that.

So imagine my delight when I found my new favourite thing on the internet today. These pictures make me want to get outside and kick some ass while someone reads me new, tough, kick-ass versions of old Disney classics. I think my favourites are this one,

Snow White as a supertough street fighter

I would just run away.

this one,

Pocahontas as a warrior for the environment

Weird back story, but she carries two serious blades in her pants.

and this one

Tiana as a military soldier

I haven't seen Princess and the Frog, and now I probably won't because it can't be as good as this version.


It appears that I’m not a fan of flowy skirts in battle.

The artist actually created functional fighting clothes while still staying true to the characters’ original attire. We can’t see all of their feet, but I would guess that none of them has on stiletto shoes. Well, maybe Rapunzel or Aurora, but probably not. Even the flowy skirts look like they wouldn’t cause any problems. They might not provide the best crotch-cover in a fight, but I don’t think these fighters care much about showing their panties.

Snow White is probably my absolute favourite, because,

1. look at the size of her shoulders,

Snow White again

Also, her eyes spell death.

and 2. they’ve taken the ridiculous collar from her dress, and turned it into a hood! I really love hoodies.

And these women actually look like they can seriously fight, and fight hard. Like if you punched them, your knuckles might break, and if they punched you, your entire body would probably break. They all have breasts, because a lot of women have those, but their tops look like they would successfully keep their boobs out of their way without squishing them uncomfortably. I don’t see a whole lot of body diversity, unfortunately. That’s disappointing because when you depict tough as only being thin and able-bodied, you perpetuate harmful and false ideas about body shape and health. It would be nice if some of these women were stockier or fatter or had visible disabilities, but still looked just as tough. Tough women depicted with actual muscle on their bodies, however, is still not that common, so at the moment I’ll just enjoy seeing that, and imagine all the cool, kick-ass things these reimagined Disney characters are doing.


3 Comments on “Princesses Kicking Ass”

  1. Q. Pheevr says:

    This reminded me of a couple of things:

    Girls kick ass: A feminist critique of the new action heroine and the male gaze,” by Bitca on E2, and, more recently, “Fantasy armor and lady bits,” by Ryan (which I found via Abi Sutherland on Making Light). I think some of the comments Bitca makes about characters like Lara Croft could apply to some of these princesses as well; their outfits seem to be designed as much for gratifying the male gaze as for the practicalities of kicking ass. (Not that I know much about the practicalities of kicking ass, mind you, and the costumes on the three that you’ve picked out here seem a lot more practical than Aurora’s or Jasmine’s or Ariel’s.) On the other hand, Ryan suggests that there’s a balance to be found between practicality and projecting a particular image/attitude (which might itself be some combination of sexy and tough).

    It would be interesting to see what kinds of stories might be told about these characters.

    • Copcher says:

      Yes, these costumes definitely provide a lot more conventional sex appeal than they need to, probably at the expense of function. When I said “functional fighting clothes,” I more meant that they wouldn’t get in the way of fighting. They certainly don’t offer much protection. That might actually be another reason that I like Snow White’s the best; she mostly just looks like she has regular clothes on (which also appeal to the male gaze, because of fashion), and would also be able to kick ass while in those clothes. She doesn’t have on a special fighting suit that does very little to protect her skin or internal organs.

      • Q. Pheevr says:

        Yeah, that makes sense. Snow White’s outfit is definitely the one that I can most easily picture someone wearing in real life, and I think it’s my favourite, too. (It’s probably the hoodie.)

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