Sexy Disney Princess Warriors And The Limit of Tasteful Fan Art
Stretching the limits of what this blog will cover animation-wise, the topic of today’s post nonetheless commands attention. We’ve all seen what fans are capable of doing to beloved characters for their own amusement. Heck, deviantArt is filled to the brim with established characters contorted into all sorts of different manners; anime-isation is a popular one among others. However, where does the limit of tasteful fan art lie and what harm can it cause? The topic of today’s post straddles that limit and challenges what some would consider acceptable.
Meet the Disney Princess Warriors
Yes, (individual shots to follow), they are a sight aren’t they? (Thanks a bunch Geekologie!) While there is no denying artist Mike Roshuk’s artistic talents, one must nonetheless consider in what taste his creations lie. Are they classified as fan art? Absolutely; there’s little reason to see any legal conflicts with them. That said, where do they stand on the emotional and scale of good taste?
What They Produce
There is a ton of blogs devoted to the portrayal of female characters in a diverse range of media (this one is a favourite), but it is video games that seem to be attracting the most attention as of late. If it isn’t the stature of girl gamers within the community, it is the portrayal of female characters in games that garners attention and provokes debate (or rather, harrassment).
While the obvious argument is that a lot of games are created to appeal to males (and rabid, hormone-addled teenage ones at that), that does not excuse the logic that the portrayal of female characters in either subservient or slave-like roles is necessary and even required to be successful.
Video games have been shown to have [relatively] minimal impact on player’s emotions and their ability to separate fiction from reality. There does not appear to be a lot of data regarding the impression that such games can have on their opinions however. If male gamers (and especially impressionable ones at that) are fed a constant stream of content portraying female characters in such roles, then there is the possibility that such views carry over into their opinions of girls and women in the real world.
Where They Subjugate the Characters
Although this is less of a concern when it comes to animation and animated content (because you usually have to seek out the more depraved stuff relating to those), when the two cross over, we have the issue where characters representing a particular ideal are poisoned by a view of females that is completely the opposite.
The Disney princesses (horrible brand that they are) are a diverse range of strong female characters that have long represented the strength of Disney storytelling. Combining them with what represents the worst of video game storytelling seems to be an odd move for someone attempting to highlight their character strengths.
Why That’s a Concern
Now obviously that is part of the reason for creating these pieces in the first place; the idea of contrasting character idioms and traits is a common one in the fan community. But what we have here is the use of some of the most well known characters of the last 100 years. It also destroys the characters for the joy of turning them into something that, quite frankly, denegrates them.
The recent Merida hubbub certainly highlighted the concern expressed in many quarters about the overlap that a teenage character like Merida occupies; ostensibly ‘mature’ on the one hand but appealing wholly to kids and tweens who are not.
These ‘warrior’ versions of Disney princesses, while clearly never intended or wilfully aimed at kids, would certainly be seen as being acceptable for teenagers. There is no nudity after all, and they’re certainly no worse than what many teenagers are seeing in video games and elsewhere.
Why They Are Concern for the Disney Princesses
I’m reminded once again of this:
It’s by Krisztianna and highlights how simple elements of a character’s design can influence the character itself. Most fan art retaines a degree of respect for the character and their design. Sure it’s fun to try different styles but a central tenant of fan art is that the core of the character themselves is never compromised; if it is, you’re not really creating fan art any more are you?
It’s why we see so many fan-created original characters out there. Subjugating the actual characters to a ruinous extent is usually frowned upon, but creating one of your own is fair game for whatever you want.
In the case of these fan art creations, the legitimacy of the characters themselves is compromised and instead of something meant to illustrate the strong and forceful nature of the character, we have instead, models wearing artefacts that are merely reminiscent or alluding to something that is far superior.
I’m curious to hear what YOU think of all this. Do you agree or disagree. Leave a comment and share your thoughts!