michelle elman

Fairytale princesses have long been under the spotlight not just for their beauty, but for how they represent women. And those discussions aren’t always pleasant. They’ve been named by many as a bad influence for always representing such a narrow (and largely unattainable) range of personalities and traits — very thin, fair-skinned, quiet, vulnerable. So many of us grew up loving the princesses in our favorite animated movies, but realized as adults that we needed something more. We’ve got an answer, thanks to body-positive champions Michelle Elman and Amy Wooldridge.

Elman and Wooldridge teamed up to dress as the kind of princesses I think we’d all like to see a bit more of. Elman specifically bares scars on her torso and head from 15 surgeries she had earlier in life. The Lion King left a lasting impact on her thanks to Scar, the villian. “So many villains have scars but never the princess,” she says, according to Cosmo. Add to that the weight gain she experienced due to being bedridden, and she couldn’t have felt more excluded. Wooldridge had similar experiences, feeling scared that by not being the thin princess, she wouldn’t get her own happy ending.

Since they weren’t able to find the princesses they can relate to in the movies, they decided to become them. For a series of photos, Elman dressed as Snow White, and Wooldridge dressed as Rapunzel. If you ask me, the results are pretty darn gorgeous.

I’m not saying you should boycott children’s movies and their many beautiful princesses. I’m saying there’s a serious lack of diversity of representation. Assigning the word “beauty” with one definition means that most of us will never feel worthy. Only once we understand that all women are beautiful can we truly accept each other and spread kindness wherever we go.

My hat’s off to these two young ladies! And, reader, in case anyone hasn’t told you today, you’re beautiful.

Main image: Michelle Elman/Facebook