Well-behaved women seldom make history.
Jason Porath, a one-time special effects animator for Dreamworks Animation, has been working on this unique project for quite some time now. He's been assembling a collection of stories for strong women of history who, although deserving of recognition, will never (likely) receive the title of "princess". He also created illustrations for each character are created in a style reminiscent of popular animation, just to underline the fact that these are alternate role models (of sorts) that won't ever have a family animated movie made about them.Part art project, part standup routine, part book report, this site imagines what if we made animated musicals about the women of history and myth who refused to behave. Rejected Princesses is not for kids.
Asked in an interview how Porath got the idea for the project, this was his answer:
The origin of this came from a lunchtime conversation at my old workplace. There was an article going around about how the Frozen princesses weren’t good role models, and I asked, “well, we can SURELY do worse than them — who is the least likely candidate for an animated princess you can think of?” I asked it on my Facebook shortly thereafter, and got around 150 replies from my friends. I hastily sketched a couple as jokes — Elizabeth Bathory, an early version of Lolita, and weirdly enough, Charybdis — but kept in my head that I wanted to do more full-fledged pieces when I got the time.
And now his wonderful collection of passed-over women of history will be in a book. You may wonder where the word "rejected" came in, though. Who's rejecting these women?!
In quick order, as suggestions flooded in, it grew from being a list of hysterically poor fits (like Lolita and Beloved) to being fascinating women from history and mythology. I am a huge lover of the obscure, rare, and weird – I’m also a feminist, so the two interests collide with this series. Lastly, I’m a total information junkie, one of those people who gets lost in Wikipedia very easily. This is a rabbit hole I’ve tumbled down and have yet to see the bottom.
From Porath's website:
Nope, but I think we can assume that nobody’s going to want to do kids’ movies about a lot of these people. They’re either way too awesome, way too awful, or way too weird. For a here is a more in-depth explanation. longer explanation of why “Rejected,”We recommend reading the more in-depth explanation, linked above. It explains the context, how these princesses are different and the very difficult circumstances that make creating more diverse "princess" movies a huge challenge. Importantly, it also explains how Porath is not against animation studios or playing a blame game. Instead, he's taken the opportunity in being his own boss to spend time producing something both important to him, as well as something that would have very little chance of seeing a box office, due to the aforementioned studio realities.
You will find uncompromising language and less then family-friendly situations discussed among these stories but don't let that deter you. Porath has good reason and has even set up and area on his website to encourage lesson plans for children that take what he is presenting and make it more G-rated for education.
This project is entirely about not bowdlerizing powerful and difficult stories. I absolutely refuse to tone these stories down, or to write in a voice that is not my own.
You may have realized at this point that fairy tales aren't going to be the priority here, but that doesn't mean that they, and myths, legends and wonder tales, aren't related. In fact, every image shown in this post shows a woman connected to a folktale, fairy tale, myth or legend of some kind - and this isn't the whole collection of women that are (we didn't have room!).I understand that, but I strongly feel the original, base version of these entries should remain uncensored. That said, in the future I would like to make a version that is more all-ages friendly for just such a purpose – however, I’m not able to give it much attention at present. If you have such an inclination, however, feel free to clean up any of my work, send it to me, and I’ll post it online for all to use.
Beyond that, historically based magic and wonder tales make good fodder for new fairy tales. It's something to think about - and be empowered by.
To finish up, here is just one of the complete stories for the "rejected princess" shown below, giving you a fair idea of how the stories are written and presented, not to mention how fascinating they are, as well as portals to a very different - and educational - rabbit hole.
We applaud Jason Porath for encouraging us to fall down it.
Iara - Brazil's Lady of the Lake