The Princess and Public Pedagogy

20170331_141158.jpgThere’s a Ted Talk by Christopher Bell that’s really stayed with me. He talks with enormous pride and passion about his daughter, an athletic comic book fan, and their combined disappointment in the lack of superhero merchandise ‘for girls.’

“Since 1937 Disney has made most of its money selling Princesses to girls. Unless, of course, the Princess your daughter is interested in is Princess Leia. In 2012 Disney purchased Lucasfilm for four billion dollars, and immediately they flooded the Disney stores with Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Yoda, and not Princess Leia. Why? Because this Princess messes up the public pedagogy for these (Disney) Princesses.”

Watch the Ted Talk here. And please note a trigger warning, as it includes an upsetting story about bullying.

Keeping it Real


So what in holy muthaflippin flip-flops is this? In short, it’s a photography project.

The fictional Princess has really saturated popular culture in the last few years, but I’m not convinced they are particularly inspiring role models for young girls.  I find them a bit vacuous and, as much as I love a glamourous sparkly frock (and I really do)  they seem to be selling little more than a predominantly thin, white version of pretty, straight wife-material as the ultimate aspiration. (Excuse me while I do a massive Y A W N).

On the flipside, of course, there are those who do find value in what Princesses represent, so it’ll be interesting to explore different perspectives.

Over the next few months I’ll be photographing REAL women and girls in Yorkshire. Partly to challenge the limitations of Princesses as role models, but mostly to celebrate amazing women and girls in all their diversity.

Stay tuned…

Maria x