We’ve all heard about those famous “Princesses,” the ones who appear in animated films before arriving on the toy shelves at your local store. The stories are drawn from fairy tales, folklore, myth, and occasionally from history, but they all seem to fit into a similar mold, the plucky young maiden who may have some ambition, which often involves a handsome prince. Surely there must be notable women who don’t fit the Princess stereotype, the ones that the executives at the House of Mouse will never greenlight; what of them?
Fortunately, Jason Porath has your back. A former effects animator at Dreamworks, Porath has created Rejected Princesses, a website devoted to notable women who are too awesome, awful, oddball or horrifying to ever appear in an animated musical. The site is not at all appropriate for children (Jason’s a bit, shall we say, blunt and colorful in his language, and some of the featured ladies are sure to raise a lot of uncomfortable questions from young readers), but several of the stories, particularly the real-life women, might serve as subjects for school assignments for high school students.
One notable feature about the series is the diversity; the first round features Native American, Sikh, Hindu, Greek, African, Soviet and Italian women; some are cold-blooded killers and others grievously wronged, more than a few are just too strong to ever settle for happily ever after. For example, let’s take Mariya Oktyabrskaya, the only female tank commander in World War II. Porath tells the story:
During World War 2, her army officer husband Ilya was killed in action. In response, Mariya sold literally all of their belongings in order to buy a tank. She then wrote Stalin the following letter:
“My husband was killed in action defending the motherland. I want revenge on the fascist dogs for his death and for the death of Soviet people tortured by the fascist barbarians. For this purpose I’ve deposited all my personal savings – 50,000 rubles – to the National Bank in order to build a tank. I kindly ask to name the tank ‘Fighting Girlfriend’ and to send me to the frontline as a driver of said tank.”
Stalin wrote back pretty quickly and said yes.
You’ll have to visit the site to read what happened next, or to see the other 11 Rejected Princesses currently on display. A new entry will be posted every Wednesday, and Porath says he has a list of over 200 potential candidates including murderers, despots, warriors, and even a lunatic or two.