Visual artist Saint Hoax created a series of images of iconic Disney princesses as domestic violence victims. You can see the shots below, and if you're into trigger warnings, consider this a trigger warning:
Hoax told The Huffington Post that the works had a purpose behind them. "Disney princesses are perceived as ideal females. They belong to a fairytale land where happy ever afters are bound to happen. But what happens after the happy ever after?"
"By portraying Disney princesses as victims of domestic violence," he continued, " I'm proposing the idea that no girl/woman is safe from being emotionally/physically/sexually abused ... As a Middle Eastern artist, I always have the urge to voice out the injustice and inequality that takes place in my region ... Victims of abuse are not alone and it's never too late for them to take a stand."
Though his sentiments and intentions sound good, I have a few issues with this.
1. It's "happily ever after," because "happily" is an adverb modifying "lived," but that's neither here nor there.
2. Living happily ever after means there wouldn't be domestic violence or abuse to begin with, because that's not living happily. That's living in fear.
3. A portion of domestic violence (I say "a portion" because the numbers vary per source, and I'm bad at math) is committed by women against men. Would it have killed Saint Hoax to show the Beast with a shiner?
4. I'm a comic, and I see a lot of shock comedy with no punchlines or real meaning. People just say the C-word or something racist and think that because it gets a reaction, that's a good as getting a laugh. This is sort of similar: It's shocking, sure, but it's unoriginal and bears very little beneath the surface. Disney princesses have been used in shock art for a while. It's getting old, it's sensationalist and tacky.
5. Raising awareness is important, but domestic abuse victims seeing these images are usually in far too complex a cycle of said abuse for them to make that much of a difference. It serves as a reminder more than anything else; while the fact that it appeals to childhood ideals is great, it will likely trigger more negative reactions from victims and survivors than any actual action.
6. There are more kinds of domestic abuse than physical domestic violence. These images, as helpful as Saint Hoax wants them to be, don't address the more common and prevalent forms of abuse: mental, emotional, and sexual. Not every form of abuse will leave bruises you can see, but they all leave scars. (I hope I didn't just inspire some form of perverse Lion King art for his next work.)
7. Saint Hoax encourages domestic violence victims and domestic abuse victims to leave, but that's simplifying a really complicated issue. The issue shouldn't be, "Why can't she just leave? She's a princess, she has enough money for a cab, right?" The issue should be, "Why is this guy abusing her? He's a prince, doesn't he have enough power? Why does he need to manipulate and beat Aurora?"
8. Saint Hoax encourages domestic violence and abuse victims to leave, but offers no insight anywhere on his website of resources for which these women to actually get help. Not even a phone number, brah? You're so helpful! That said, if you're being abused in the United States, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
9. These images of abused women throw home some gender stereotypes, some of which lead to domestic violence in the first place.
10. Dude, Princess Jasmine has a tiger. An overprotective tiger. If you think Rajah would let Aladdin get away with that, not even a genie can help you.