Artist Dina Goldstein is doing a provocative photography project called Fallen Princesses. Of this project, she says:
These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome…. I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.
Among other fairytale princesses is Little Red Riding Hood, who is represented as â€œnot so little,â€ with a basket full of fast food. Does this speak to â€œself-image issuesâ€ and if so, how? Here are some of the comments on the page (the first one is from Brenda, to give you a context for the responses):
Excellent, let’s reinforce the stereotype that fat people gobble huge quantities of burgers and sodas. You suck. Really. No, I mean REALLY. Whatever rationalization you use for this piece, you’re still a creep for the attitude conveyed therein. This is not art.
I’m pretty sure that people who are 50-80-100 pounds overweight are not this way because they’re active, healthy individuals. I think you’re entirely incorrect, Brenda, for claiming that stating that people who eat massive amounts of food end up fat and unhealthy is a stereotype. That sounds like an actual fact, to me; most people who eat healthy and who live active lifestyles where they exercise like they should are not morbidly obese
Brenda has a point. I assume she’s complaining that it portrays fat people as consuming *huge quantities* of food all the time, that’s the issue. Eating a lot of bad food makes you fat, duh, nobody’s arguing that – I’m just tired of seeing fat people being shown as lazy, stupid, or thinking only about food.
However, Brenda and I are both guilty of jumping to a similar conclusion – that a fat person with a lot of food is going to eat it all themselves. The story of Red Riding Hood is that of a girl taking food to Granny, so why did we both assume it was all for Red in this image?
I really enjoy all of the photos in this series. But to the conversation going on above about portrayals of fat people, and the causes, I think there’s a middle ground between Brenda’s comment and the objections to her comment. Large quantities of soda and fast food can absolutely make a person fat…but that does not mean that consuming huge quantities of food is the only cause of obesity. Health problems, genetic predispositions, all sorts of other factors can contribute to someone being overweight, even “50-80-100″ pounds overweight, even on a diet that many would deem healthy and even with daily, intensive exercise. I think the juxtaposition of a fairy tale character with some of the consequences of fast food society is incredibly thought provoking. I just hope that everyone is not looking at the fat people around them and assuming they have a hidden basket of fast food causing their appearance.
And here is the chat Weetabix and I had about it earlier today.
Weetabix: did you see this? I was going to post on BFD about this, but I don’t think I’m going to have time now.
Mo Pie: oh, very interesting!! And she is also wearing klompen
Weetabix: yes, she is. I was thinking about comparing/contrasting to the rest of the princess photos
Mo Pie: that is because you have a big brain
Weetabix: the rest show some kind of failing on the part of the princess, although the Jasmine picture isn’t necessarily a failing, almost a conception… also, Red Riding Hood wasn’t a princess, so that’s interesting too… the Rapunzel is heartbreaking
Mo Pie: yes it is… wow
Weetabix: if you read the comments on the Red photo, there’s quite the discussion on obesity and then someone wonders if it wasn’t the fact that Red ate the wolf instead of the other way around
Mo Pie: heh. maybe she did eat the wolf. fat = empowerment!
Weetabix: but I suspect that it isn’t the case: the rest of the photos are about what happened after, not altering the original premise.
Mo Pie: yeah, good point.
Weetabix: that would be a very optimistic way of looking at it
actually, now that I’m thinking about it, you could just post our chat as the entry!
Mo Pie: hee. I could! I will title it Weetabix = Very Smart, Mo Pie = Has Not Had Coffee Yet
Weetabix: also, if I were the artist and wanted to show that she ate the wolf, it would be “recent fat” of having a distended stomach, not obviously “living fat” with the weight in her boobs and stuff
Disclaimer: I also have not had coffee yet!
Mo Pie: oh, now you’re just showing off.
Weetabix: But I’ve been awake for hours, so it doesn’t count, and also, two hours ahead of you
Mo Pie: no, you’re right, I think that “just ate the wolf” is obviously not the intention.
Weetabix: The Rapunzel one destroys my argument, though, because it seems as though it’s a statement on these women choosing the wrong path
Mo Pie: well, we don’t know what Jasmine is fighting for, she could be righteously avenging Aladdin’s death or something!
Weetabix: and taking a step back, it seems as though the Red Riding Hood character is just a cheap shot. If she didn’t eat the wolf, then there’s no real linking to the original fairy tale (unless she really was a glutton, as was suggested by a commenter on the thread)
Mo Pie: yeah, that’s true. the only link is the “basket of food” thing.
Weetabix: That’s true! Maybe the art is about reversing how we see these deified Princesses, not about making them into autonomous figures that have directed themselves somewhere unseemly
Mo Pie: I can’t get that really fantastic Sara Bareilles song out of my head. â€œCinderella’s on her bedroom floor / She’s got a crush on the guy at the liquor store / Cause Mr. Charming don’t come home anymore…â€
Weetabix: Did Red drop breadcrumbs or was that Hansel and Gretl? I don’t remember anymore.
Mo Pie: it was Hansel and Gretl who dropped the breadcrumbs… Red was just taking a basket of food to her grandma
oh, I think I see the connection… because in the original it is “what big ears you have.. what big eyes you have… what big teeth you have..” so it could be the concept of “big”?
Weetabix: Now you’re showing off. That’s brilliant!
I guess it seems too elegant to me, because I can’t see the connection between Cinderella turning into a barfly or Rapunzel getting cancer
I want to just say that the artist was being provocative and trying to show Red Riding Hood as something that the public would respond to as being “not cute”
Mo Pie: well with Rapunzel her thing was her hair, and I think the photographer thought, well, how could she lose her hair?
Cinderella just had issues, man.
Weetabix: Rapunzel could be a mohawk-wearing Drag King?
Mo Pie: well, I love the direction the artist went, though that would be cool too.
Weetabix: I kind of get Belle being a plastic surgery addict, because supposedly she was so amazingly beautiful, even her name means beautiful.
Mo Pie: yeah, in the original story she was named Beauty
Weetabix: I guess, taking all of these things into account, I believe the artist is saying that these outcomes are not good outcomes, for any of the princesses (or fairytale women).
Mo Pie: yeah, that seems to be universal
Weetabix: So I’m falling on the side of Sizism there
Mo Pie: heh, or maybe the obvious conclusion is that she was originally named “little” red riding hood, and now is not little, and we are reading too much into it
Weetabix: well, way to be obvs.
Mo Pie: and it’s just a fat joke! but with klompen!
Weetabix: Clearly we’re too aggro about this. And we all lived happily ever after?
Mo Pie: the end!
Posted by mo pie