Me Too My Sleeping Beauties:
Briar Rose, Snow White and Brunhilda

Three panels: 30"H x 40"W each, 
acrylic on wood with mixed media, 2023.
Our culture is awash in images of fairy-tale princesses with happy-ever-after endings. Thanks to Disney cartoons, everyone knows the story of “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White”. Before them came the 1800’s Wagner’s Ring Cycle opera with the tragic heroine, Brunhilda; and the even older stories from the Brothers’ Grimm. What tends to get overlooked is the deeper and darker message behind these tales: the idea that a maiden is just an empty, blank cipher. She has no personality, no thoughts, dreams, hopes, or desires of her own. She can make no moves, take no actions, or voice any objections until a man comes to sexually claim her. 
I decided to make three paintings that capture these fairy-tale maidens during the part of the story that often chronologically takes the longest (in some versions of the tale, Sleeping Beauty is trapped asleep for over 100 years), yet the time asleep is often skipped over the quickest— when they are completely and utterly at the mercy of whomever comes to rape them. The fact that these stories always have the princess awake to find themselves being kissed by a complete stranger—and are then delighted by this fact—strikes me as sheer male fantasy. That is why I have decided to finally give these princesses a modern voice as part of the “Me Too” movement.
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