Recently Dina Goldstein’s Fallen Princesses project popped up in my internet browsing, probably as a result of one of the many posts questioning and critiquing this series on some of my favorite feminists blogs. I’ve been wanting to write this post for days but have found myself unable to – simply because, like many others, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about these images and what I want to say. These images are hard to comment on, probably because there are so many of them, and each one conveys a radically different message (a message that is highly open to the viewer’s determination, no less), but I’m going to try my best.
Let’s start with the one I found most offensive: Not So Little Red Riding Hood. At first (and second, and third) glance I found this picture to be horribly fatphobic, especially after the author explained her vision of this image in the comments as a, “personal comment on today’s fast food society.” As a personal comment on today’s ‘fast food society’ this image irks me at first in the sense that it perpetuates the myth that weight is inescapably tied to the quantity and quality of the food one eats (ignoring, of course, the wide range of genetic factors that go into one’s weight.) On a more base level the inclusion of this picture into a gallery of “Fallen Fairytales” attaches a value-judgment to being fat – to be fat is to have fallen, in some way, from the standards that one is meant to adhere to. To be quite honest conflating fat with bad is just as harmful of the old fairytale adage that tells us the women who are thin and beautiful are always good and moral, because along with that belief comes the inescapable conclusion that it’s opposite, fat and ugly, are evil or bad. Far from an attempt to undo fairytale stereotypes, Dina’s artwork seems to confirm them by adopting fairy-tale values to comment on a more modern situation.