While Disney princesses are getting progressively more feminist and bad-ass, there was a time when the princesses were known for sitting around and waiting for a prince to come rescue them.
Jason Porath, former DreamWorks animator, runs a blog called Rejected Princesses dedicated to females of our history who for some reason wouldn’t make the cut for a mainstream animation. Regardless of the fact that their stories weren’t turned into major motion pictures, Porath features these “unsung heroines” on his blog.
All work below courtesy of Jason Porath
Hatshepsut, the Unforgotten Princess (1508-1458 BC)
Every week, Porath picks one badass female from history, mythology or literature, and gives them a Disney-like look along with a detailed background of their real-life personalities. “It’s a sort of an alternate-reality glimpse into, ‘What if they got their moment in the sun’?” Porath told NPR.
Pictured above is Hatshepsut, arguably the greatest pharaoh in history. Porath says he used such distorted perspective in order to picture the whole world kneeling before her.
Ida B. Wells, Princess of the Press (1862-1931)
Ida B. Wells is yet another unsung princess. She was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, women’s rights activist and leader in the civil rights movement. Her most prominent work includes documenting lynching in the United States.
Porath says the idea for Rejected Princesses came totally out of the blue during a lunchtime conversation:
“There was an article going around about how the Frozen princesses weren’t good role models, and I asked, ‘well, we can SURELY do worse than them — who is the least likely candidate for an animated princess you can think of?’ I asked it on my Facebook shortly thereafter, and got around 150 replies from my friends,” he toldLegion of Leia.
Suggestions started flying in and Porath just couldn’t resist. His love for rare and weird collided with him being a feminist and a total information junkie. In that creative messiness, the blog was born.
Khutulun, the Wrestler Princess (1260-1306)
Born into the family of Mongol Empire’s ruler, Khutulun was an extraordinary addition to the fearsome Mongolian military. Growing up with 14 brothers, she perfectly mastered the skills of horse riding, shooting bows, and… wrestling.
According to the artist, he doesn’t seek to picture his characters as shiny, happy, kick-butt heroines. His most important goal is to get the facts straight. Thus, every artwork requires a lot of research and the drawing in based mainly on his findings.
Mariya Oktyabrskaya, the Tank Princess (1905-1944)
Apparently, Porath has a thing for badass females and Mariya Oktyabrskaya is definitely one of them. Mariya was a Soviet tank driver during the WWII and the first female tanker to be awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union award.
Mariya is also one of the Jason’s favorites so far. He says he would love to do a buddy movie about Sergeant Mariya Oktyabrskaya and her tank, Fighting Girlfriend.
Ching Shih, Princess of the Chinese Seas (1775-1844)
While most of Porath’s unsung heroines were wading on the ground. Ching Shih was ruling the waters. Lady Ching was a prominent pirate leading a crew of around 80,000, including women and children.
Petra Herrera, the Soldadera Princess (late 1800s-early 1900s)
Another tough woman on Jason Porath’s list is Colonel Petra “Pedro” Herrera. During the Mexican revolution, she was a demolitions expert and leader of an all-female brigade.
Noor Inayat Khan, the Spy Princess (1914-1944)
Noor Inayat Khan was a British secret again during WWII and worked as a radio operator in occupied Paris. The only radio operator out there. According to Porath, the average lifespan of such occupation was six weeks but Khan lasted almost five months. She was numerous times imprisoned and escaped the Gestapo, secret police of Nazi Germany.
Hypata: The Martyr Mathematician (350-415 C.E.)
There are few women whose legacies have been more of a political football than Hypatia of Alexandria. She was not only possibly the last scientist with access to the books of the Library of Alexandria, but the first female mathematician in recorded history. She also was an expert astronomer, philosopher, physicist, and overachiever. Unfortunately, Hypatia was killed by a mob of Christian zealots in particularly grisly fashion, turning her life story into a point of contention for centuries to come.
Boudica: The Headhunter Queen (20-60 C.E.)
At the height of its power, Rome once seriously considered giving up its British holdings entirely. The reason? Queen Boudica, whose brutal revenge spree made her the Roman bogeyman for generations. She killed 70,000 people, burnt London to the ground, established herself as the most famous headhunter of all time – and to this day, Britain loves her for it.
La Jaguarina: The Queen of the Sword
In April 1896, hardened military veteran US Sergeant Charles Walsh, in front of a crowd of 4,000 onlookers, turned tail and ran. Mere minutes earlier, during a round of equestrian fencing, he’d been hit so hard he’d been nearly knocked off his horse – so hard that his opponent’s sword was permanently bent backwards in a U shape. In response, Walsh did the honorable thing: jumped from his horse, claimed that the judge was cheating, and fled the scene, to the jeers of the massive crowd.His opponent? A woman known as La Jaguarina, Queen of the Sword – an undefeated sword master who later retired only because she ran out of people to fight. Had she born 25 years later, according to the US Fencing Fall of Fame, she might be recognized as “the world’s first great woman fencer.”
Guidt: Princess of Beta Israel
One of the most complex figures ever represented on his blog: Gudit, a Jewish Ethiopian queen, hero to some and villain to others, who took over the country and dramatically ended a millennium-old dynasty dating back to King Solomon.
Tomyris: The Promise Keeper (6th Century BCE)
Tomyris was a woman who was legendary 500 years before the birth of Jesus. When the aggressive ruler of the world’s largest empire set his eyes on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, crushed his armies, and defiled his decapitated head in a manner so humiliating she was a household name for centuries.
Check out more of his work on his blog: www.rejectedprincesses.com