Awesome Humans 15 Jul
Why I chose to champion a Disabled Disney Princess in my fight for representation
By Hannah Diviney
On December 3rd 2020, I made a decision that would change my life. With the help of Change.org, I launched a petition lobbying for Disney Studios to create a Disabled Disney Princess. At this moment, it has a mind-blowing 35,748 signatures from all over the world, when in the beginning I was convinced it wouldn’t get more than 100, only gathered by my family and friends. The decision to build this campaign came from a hole deep inside me that had been there since childhood. A hole shaped by the fact that growing up as a disabled kid, I never saw anyone onscreen who looked like me. There’s a particular sort of loneliness that comes from never having any frame of reference or imaginative space given to what your life could look like one day, so I decided to work on changing that for the disabled kids of the future.
Alt text: Hannah standing with a walker fully dressed in her Princess gown of light blue and pink. Completing the outfit with her tiara. Picture: Hannah Diviney (@hannahthewildflower)
The decision to hone in specifically on creating a Disney Princess with a disability was a pretty strategic choice. After all, they’re perhaps the most well known children’s characters across the world and films with them at the centre automatically spawn everything from toys and books to bedspreads, lunchboxes and themed birthday parties. The power of a disabled Disney Princess, if created, would be astronomical in showing disabled kids that they can be the hero of their own stories, have friendships and find love. Beyond that, though, it would also be a powerful teaching tool for able-bodied kids too in lessons of tolerance, empathy and acceptance. Representation at the scale of children’s entertainment has the power to remove the stigma and ‘otherness’ from disability, which honestly would be more valuable than I can explain.
When I imagine our disabled princess out in the world, I see her as the kind of character who dresses very casually. Her go-to outfit would have to be the Seated Tummyless Straight Fit Jean and the Femme Linen Shirt from EveryHuman unless she’s attending something fancy. Ballgowns and long floaty dresses aren’t really conducive to getting around in a wheelchair, you know what I mean? I think she’s a very imaginative character and likes building worlds of a story to escape, much like me. I’d love your support for my petition and cannot wait for the day sometime in the future, hopefully soon, when I get to introduce all of you to our magical disabled Disney Princess.
Alt text: Woman sitting on a white podium rolling the sleeves of the Femme Linen Shirt in white.
Hannah Diviney is a writer and disability advocate living in Sydney, Australia. You can find more of her work/adventures on Instagram @hannahthewildflower or on Twitter @hannah_diviney