I’ve been thinking a lot about princesses lately.
Going by Disney alone, we’ve got blonde princesses, brunette princesses, red-headed princesses, French princesses, Arabian princesses, Chinese princesses, Native American princesses, bourgeois princesses, former proletarian princesses, pescine princesses, and there’s even African-American princesses coming soon to a
store theatre near you.
So where’s the fat princess?
Well, in fact, she’s right here.
Just look at that ample bosom, those bulging hips, that round little face. No mistaking her, she’s one of us.
That’s right – Princess Fiona from the Shrek franchise. She may not be Disney, but she’s still royalty.
But wait – let’s do the math here. Our beloved fat princess is also…an ogress? Wow, it’s really comforting to realize that the only animated character I can find that fits closest to my body size and shape that isn’t Ursula the Sea Witch…
(Now isn’t she divine?)
…is also an OGRESS. A particular breed of magical being known for ugliness, filthiness, bad temperedness, people-eatingness, and in this particular franchise, for being green and smelly. Let’s leave alone the loveableness for now.
A few years ago, someone I was once friends with called another (heavy) girl “Princess Fiona” as an insult. Think about it – Fiona isn’t just “ugly” and green. She’s fat, too. She’s “one of them” in the Shrekverse, an outcast. According to canon, she was sent away to the castle because her parensts couldn’t handle the fact that their daughter was born an ogress. It’s like a fairy tale version of fat camp.
I would like to look at this through the lens of Ogre-ness being a metaphor for fatness. Which means I’m going to have to do the obligatory “What this teaches our children” spiel. Bare with me.
What this teaches our children is that:
a) You just plain old won’t be accepted if you’re fat or don’t look the norm (even though they tried to make it okay to “be yourself” at the end of both movies. Still, the stigma will always be there for them.)
b) A fat woman will only be able to find a(n) ______ (fat, ugly, classless, mannerless, etc.) man to marry because he’s the only type of guy who will accept her. It’s as much an accepted stereotype as the old idea that only a black/latino guy would go for a heavier woman.
c) That the only animated princess that a chubby little girl can relate to isn’t even human. Great.
And don’t even get me started on the her representations of within culture and marketing. How about YOU spend over an hour trying to find a perfect body shot of Fiona using Google Image Search. Mostly you’ll find head shots of Fiona the Ogre, body shots of Skinny Fiona, and picture upon picture of (skinny women) modeling Fiona costumes. And do you think they could make the Fiona the Ogre products (the ones you can actually find) a little less, I dunno, crappy looking?
(Think they qualify as being fat dolls?)
Hey, I love Disney as much as the next next disillusioned girl who thinks her Prince Charming is going to come and rescue her some day, but maybe they (or Dreamworks or 20th Century Fox or some other big studio) should buck up and finally dish out the plus-size human princess heroine us fat girls have been waiting for since childhood.