I just heard about Dina Goldstein's raw photo shoot featuring the real-life problems that could face the Disney princesses.
The photos are artistic, intense, brutal. From an overweight Little Red Riding Hood slurping on McDonald's to Belle on the plastic surgery table, the collection moved me. Not because I want to see princesses meet certain demise or because I have anything against happily ever after, but because I'm interested in stories that are real.
In real life, happiness is the time spent being thankful you aren't going through hell anymore. In real life, we don't know happy unless we've been sad, really sad, or really angry, or really sick. Once we've been all of those things, we learn to appreciate moments when nothing is wrong --- and see them as happiness instead of the status quo.
Some of the princesses seem to have brought things upon themselves and have essentially victimized themselves, such as Belle with the plastic surgery. Some are just seeing happily ever after from a different point of view, such as Snow White balancing a baby on each hip while the prince watches television. Some are realistic portrayals of how the story really went, such as Sleeping Beauty, still young and beautiful, sleeping in a nursing home next to her 80-year-old morose prince.
I applaud Goldstein for taking the time to create this series. I want to print it out, I'm so afraid it'll be gone when it's time to show it to my daughter and remind her those fairy tales she grew up with were unrealistic and featured fairly weak female characters. When it's time to remind her again that happy endings aren't grandiose -- they're still moments in the storm. Snow White, for all her frustration, probably felt happy at the end of the day when she gave all those babies a bath and tucked them into their little beds next to the mice and bluebirds of happiness.