Boys will be boys? Girls will be girls? Sorry, folks, but those gender role ideas are so last century. Despite the griping in some corners of “traditional culture,” the world is quickly catching up to the reality that fluidity is the only norm when it comes to how we view genders. Which is a good thing, since in the past, people could actually end up in jail for not acting like their birth gender.
It’s great to live in an era where Rupaul’s Drag Race is a runaway mainstream hit where guys “act like girls.” And nobody even hesitates to accept a character like Game of Thrones' Brienne of Tarth when she kicks major butt “like a man” as they used to say. It’s actually totally awesome to see our classic notions go down – and what better way to celebrate this liberation than to tinker with some classic Disney characters?
There are loads of great artists out there flipping female and male roles in Disney movies. Such re-imaginings aren’t just for fun – it might just be high time for some of these movies to really get made!
Take a gander at 15 Crazy Gender-Bending Disney Redesigns.
15 Snow White
If you want to talk about classical gender roles, this venerated Disney symbol even carries her qualities in her very name. Snow White instantly evokes images of gentleness, purity, and delicacy which has traditionally been assigned to women. Which, when you think about it, can kind of get downright creepy!
Thankfully, artist Rachel Mucha has turned that around with this awesome take on Snow White as a young lad. We daresay she’s added a hint of that “village dope” vibe, perhaps to compensate for the “simplicity” trope connected to the traditional Snow White. And isn't the way he's bonding with that bird cute?
Check out more truly imaginative gender-bent Disney at Mucha’s Pintrest page. You can view the full gallery here.
We cannot tell a lie, but as everybody already knows, Pinocchio sure can. As a classic archetype for the wayward young boy taking a lot of wrong paths, this fan favorite wooden-puppet-in-search-of-a-soul has a special trademark. For every untruth he utters in his rapscallion existence, that very famous nose of his grows. And grows very long.
Whenever Pinocchio fibs, his sniffer elongates to comical effect, busting the poor kid every time he tries to get one over on people. It’s probably well past time to acknowledge that his expanding schnoz is more than likely a metaphor for male parts. Once you realize that, it really can't be unseen. Which is why we are grateful that the artist we know only as Lynia drew this image of Pinocchio as a girl. Does that help?
Not only is Maleficent one of the most iconic ghastly gals of all time, but her original design was based on the classic real-life monstrous actress known as Vampira. Disney used the famous female’s striking features to cook up the look of poor Sleeping Beauty’s evil nemesis.
The character’s “womanhood” was straight up lifted from an actual human being. Nevertheless, we are happy to report that the cosplay designer known as hakucosplay has realized the lady as a classical gent. And the results are jarring.
The final rendering is a vision of that guy at the nightclub who you were both instantly attracted to while being simultaneously terrified of. Which is sort of Maleficent’s whole deal, right?
You can see more of hakucoslplay’s designs here.
12 Peter Pan
Speaking of wayward boys, the ultimate fantasy for adventuring young lads has always been to never grow old, to live forever, and to frolic and fly and battle pirates. Of course, the person described before is none other than Peter Pan.
Living in Neverland with his Lost Boys and the often overlooked Tinker Bell, few things speak to implanted gender roles than the free-spirited piper with none of the adult responsibilities, but all of the privilege. When he’s not having fun with Captain Hook, he’s dissing Tinkerbell and leading Wendy on like nobody’s business. It’s therefore refreshing to see DollDevine.com offer up their design for Pan as a young lady.
This image feels warm and trustworthy. When you think about it, old Peter could use more of that. Check out more DollDevine designs at their website.
When it comes to being straight as an arrow, nobody in the world of Disney is more on target than Brave’s own Merida - or so we thought. The Scottish princess is famous for her long and luscious red hair, he always-wry smile, and of course, being a natural in the field of archery.
As a strong female character, she’s already got a bit of “traditional male tropes” built into her persona. After all, anybody would be happy to have this fierce fighter in their corner during trouble! But it’s interesting to see this take by an unknown artist found on Pinterest.
The look on this dude version of Merida is positively dour. He’s looking almost emo – definitely hates his parents – and whoever is talking to him, they’re totally bugging him. In a word, this knave looks less than brave.
Cinderella isn’t just the name of one of the most compelling of Disney princesses, the very word has come to singularly symbolize aspiration. Everything from underdog baseball team that wins the World Series to the tiny startup getting gobbled up for a gazillion dollars can be explained as a “Cinderella Story.”
Of course, it’s a bummer that in the olden days, the best a gal could hope for was to marry some rich dude. Luckily, times have changed. Figures like Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart have proven ladies don’t need to hitch up to royal men to build their empires.
Artist Olivia Ruggiero imagined this boy version of Cinderella, upending the idea of who needs a “sugar daddy” – or will it be “sugar mommy” now? Check out a story Olivia wrote around this image here.
9 Beauty and the Beast
Why gender bend just one Disney character when we have the perfect couple to shake things up? Please “be our guest” in this vision of the unforgettable love story of Beauty and the Beast.
The original story was first written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Since then, it’s been made into a whole bunch of movies – including the huge 2017 version – and always, it’s the “strong man” who needs to be understood for what he is by the “sensitive woman.”
Now, Italian artist Miranh gives us a gander at a beastly gal overshadowing a diminutive dude. Her “Handsome and the Beast” work adds a species-swap element that’s easy to warm up to.
Have a look at more images from Miranh’s series here.
8 The Incredibles
Here we go from the gender-swapping couple to multiplying by a bit, resulting in this effort to switch up an entirely family. The Incredibles roared onto screens as the perfect “first family” of animated superheroes, winning over just about every kind of audience one could imagine (with a much-anticipated sequel on the horizon).
The 2004 film did have a sort of hangover from the 20th century when it comes to how mom, dad, sister, and brother act. But roles can be reversed, as the artist calling himself Neal-Illustrator (aka Neil Schmitt) proves.
Seeing the Parr family’s mirror images as "he’s" and "she’s" makes them even more powerful to our minds. Does it even matter who is what gender? They’ll be kicking butt either way! Check out more Neal-Illustrator art here.
Nothing quite warms the heart like an epic tale of redemption. In the Disney film Frozen, Elsa the conflicted ice queen ultimately manages to melt away all of the bad feelings caused by fear and insecurity. The transformation in the film happens entirely because of the relationship with her sister Anna. Together, they reverse the magic which brought eternal winter to their lands.
Brazilian artist Julia here reverses Elsa’s gender, making us wonder what Frozen may have looked like if it were two brothers instead. In this image, he’s still a natural snow king, packing the same mixture of fury and beauty, proving such qualities transcend gender. Either, way, this one is a real “winter is coming” kind of character. Check out more of Julia’s work here.
Like many Disney characters, Tarzan actually comes from stories that were around before the House of Mouse up and made a movie out of them. This jungle-dwelling dude is so big in geek culture that we don’t always associate him with Disney, even though an awesome animated feature came into view back in 1999.
Let’s face it – we all think of Tarzan as totally manly. The big lug is even famous for pounding his chest like a gorilla, or maybe a WWE fan. Let’s burst that bubble, shall we? Mexican artist Karla has given us a gander at what a role-reversed Tarzan/Jane would look like.
The image sells it: a brutish monkey lady has captured the imagination of a waifish “John” deep in the heart of the darkest rain forests. See more of Karla’s work here.
5 Roger and Jessica Rabbit
Forget about Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s time to ask, who re-framed Jessica and Roger? This one is especially powerful because it is undeniable: Jessica Rabbit is the most lusciously designed cartoon vixen of all time. She’s not only “all woman” in her demeanor, she was purposely crafted to embody everybody from classic Hollywood pinup gal Rita Hayworth to the classic Tex Avery cartoon "Red Hot Riding Hood."
It’s pretty amazing how this updated image transforms Jessica into an almost Don Draper from Mad Men type of classical debonair gent. Roger, meanwhile, is reduced almost into a kewpie doll of a cartoon rabbit. The whole design here could even be a postcard from the '50s or '60s, really capturing the flip side of the tropes Jessica was imbued with in the first place.
4 Alice & Hatter
Look, we all go a little mad sometimes, don’t we? Obviously, any of those who encountered the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland as a child can certainly attest to that. The brain-bending journey to a world of murderous playing cards, tea-drunk rodents, and hookah-smoking caterpillars has introduced many a kid to full-blown insanity and perhaps years of pointless therapy. Is it really that big of a deal if these classic characters also do a little gender-bender number on us?
This version of he/she-ing has a definitely English taste to it resulting in these idealized Dandies. Which makes sense because the original book was totally British, right?
Alice becomes just a Cockney “Al” and the hatter is that crazy gal at the local pub ordering a pint of bitter.
3 Cruella Deville
It needs to be said – 101 Dalmatians' Cruella Deville is the worst monster ever in any Disney movie and even any movie. Seriously, a fur coat made out of puppies? This vile and vain villainess has offended every dog-loving moviegoer for decades now, earning even a The Simpsons parody where the evil Mr. Burns takes her place. That veiled gender-swapping of Ms. Deville will need to take a back seat now that we’ve seen this version of her realized as a man. And not only a man, but a perfectly nefarious one - like James Bond bad guy level.
Looking into this fiend’s eyes captures all of Cruella’s creepiness in a way that makes us want to adopt spotted canines just to be sure they are protected. This disturbing take on the dog-napping jerk comes courtesy of artist Azoreit, whose work you can see here.
Time to take an even deeper dive into the world of gender-swapping Disney characters. Why should land creatures have all the fun when a boy can become a girl “under the sea?”
As we all know from The Little Mermaid, it’s the princess Ariel who is half classic “perfect woman” and half pre-sliced sashimi plate. The 1989 animated version of the timeless Hans Christian Andersen is a total fan favorite. Now imagine the half-fish love interest was a prince instead.
The artist calling himself Fernl gives us a gander at this version of a little merman, right. Doesn’t he just look like one happy guppy in this shot? The boyishness of his expression is a wonderful reflection of the original gender realization. Take a look at more arty goodness from Fernl here.
And now it’s time to say goodbye to all our gender roles. Long before there was a Disney, long before there were almost any fictional characters, the ultimate manly hunk butt kicker was Hercules. The name itself has pretty much come to mean “I am so much freaking stronger than just about anybody here.” So – ready to see the original man’s man into a girl’s gal? This take adapted from the Disney version of Hercules is pretty unbeatable. This comes by way again of Miranh (more art here), who gave us the previous Beauty and the Beast entry. It’s a brilliant frame to choose. Check out Phil measuring the massive round bicep on Hercules’ arm – but his gaze is fixed on something else massive and round on her chest. Hey Phil! Her eyes are up there, buddy!
Do you know of any other awesome gender-swapped Disney redesigns? Let us know in the comments!
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