I Fucking Hate: David Trumble's "World of Women" Cartoon

About Christina

First things first, look at this. LOOK AT IT.

From Left: Marie Curie, Anne Frank, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Harriett Tubman, Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton, Jane Goodall (AS A GODDAMN PINUP), Gloria Steinem, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony.

What you just saw, in case you're the kind to quickly scroll down to the pictures and captions instead of reading the actual words (in which case, why are you "reading" this blog, silly?), is David Trumble's satirical approach to criticizing the broad, flattening strokes with which Disney paints its heroines by applying such strokes to actual, real-life heroines. So, I Fucking Hate it, and you are meant to, too. What you're supposed to hate is Disney, but in this case Disney isn't the only villain. Trumble, although he has wonderful intentions of visually and wittily telling us all what we already know about Disney princesses (Does anyone over the age of 4 really think that they're unique and multifaceted role models?), instead winds up joining ranks with them and perpetuating their silliness. He intends to be satirical, as he eloquently writes in his explanation of the piece, but the piece as it stands alone merely reduces amazing, multidimensional, human women into bizarre caricatures of themselves. "Holocaust Princess" does not criticize Disney, but rather offends the viewer and earns Trumble a spiky seat in Hell.

Now, David Trumble does not know that he's just abundantly and jaggedly spiked his Hell-seat because his intentions, he says, are good. He seeks through this work to criticize the simplified version of female heroism peddled so successfully by the Disney Princess marketing empire. "The statement [he] wanted to make" with these cartoons "was that it makes no sense to put these real-life women into one limited template, so why then are we doing it to our fictitious heroines?" But, friends, that's not what his work actually does. After all, if what Disney does with fictional women is shitty, then how is the mere emulative application of this same shitty practice satirical? His theory might be well-intended, but his execution is wildly unsuccessful. Yes, his pieces anger me because of their diminution of powerful women, but they also anger me because they're bad at what they're trying to do.

After all, if this representation in and of itself isn't satirically criticizing the people who, in creating it, believe that it is just or at least justifiable...

NOT satirical, JUST racist bullshit. (Also, I just learned that this character's name is Chief Wahoo. CLEVELAND! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?)

... then how is this representation in and of itself satirically criticizing the people who, in creating its princess inspiration, believe that it is just or at least justifiable?

NOT satirical, JUST sexist bullshit.

Answer: It's not. What it is doing is imagining Rosa Parks's cleavage.

Now, perhaps Trumble could have made his point had he done something with his cartoons and then reported on their reception. For example, what if he had shown pictures of these princessifications' real-life counterparts to children and gotten their responses to their images and then compared these to responses to the princess versions of the real women? That would be interesting and enlightening to read. Or what if he included a diagrammed version of the ways in which he reduced each woman to a flat, vapid representation ("Subtract courage, experience, and grit; whittle waist; add manic smile and disproportionately bulbous eyes") along with the princessification? Or, simply, what if he asked people to identify the women he dishonors with his cartoons and then compared those recognition rates with the recognition rates of Disney princesses. Now that could be a telling criticism. Dammit, man, do ANYTHING with this work but ask me to look at these self-righteous, unthinking pieces of sexism identical to any other reduction of strong females and heroic female traits into caricatures and call it feminist satire.