Two women are teaming up to use Disney characters to show how important women’s healthcare really is
While the current political climate is far from a good thing, there are some positives coming out of the rise of President Donald Trump. Among them is the resistance that continues to pick up steam, and from that, some incredible art drawing attention to the issues that vulnerable groups, like women and minorities, are likely to face under Trump’s presidency.
Illustrator Martiza Lugo and writer Danielle Sepulveres, are doing just that. Their new collaboration combines images of Disney Princesses with messages about what women stand to lose if Republicans who are trying to restrict women’s access to birth control and other healthcare get their way.
The two women have worked together before — they created a campaign using images of Disney princesses to bring awareness to cervical cancer.
“Together we did a series of the princesses going to the gynecologist as a reminder to make annual appointments and to try to combine familiar pop culture with an important message,” Sepulveres told Scary Mommy. Their new project picks up where the last one left off: The princesses are seeing their doctors and gynecologists, but this time, there’s no Affordable Care Act, and the princesses aren’t able to access the same care they could before.
There’s Disney’s first Latina princess, Elana of Avalor, being met with pro-life protesters outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Aladdin and Jasmine, who were excited to start their family in the last series, now face the heartbreaking prospect of planning a funeral after a miscarriage, something Vice President Mike Pence pushed for when he was governor of Indiana.
Belle tries to fill her birth control prescription, only to find out that coverage for birth control is no longer mandated and her insurance won’t help with the cost.
Tiana is denied vaccines — Trump, who has perpetuated the proven falsehood that vaccines cause autism, appointed vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lead discussions in Congress about the necessity of childhood vaccines.
And Pocahontas, who has been made ill by contaminated water, is denied insurance coverage due to her pre-existing condition. It’s a clear nod to the treatment of Native people at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation who have been locked in a brutal and ongoing battle with law enforcement and oil companies since last summer as they try to protect their water source from having an oil pipeline placed under it.
“Disney Princesses are a hugely recognizable part of our culture and beloved by so many, but there’s a lot of misinformation floating around about women’s healthcare which needs to be rectified, so we wanted to take the princesses and use them to draw attention to accurate education,” Sepulveres said. “We chose to revamp the project this year within the context of the new administration because the fears of ACA being repealed will make being a women a pre-existing condition and could potentially have disastrous effects on rates of STI infections, gynecological cancers and abortion. This year we wanted to prompt people to not only make their appointments with their doctor, but to call their reps and donate to Planned Parenthood because the implications of what a Trump presidency could do to so many of us is terrifying.”
She says reactions to the series have been largely positive — that the women who see it are sharing it and encouraging others to step up and support organizations who could combat the Trump administration’s attack on women’s health, like Planned Parenthood.
“It’s sparked some constructive discussion and of course it’s also led to some negative commentary online because the internet is nothing if not a vast wild place full of various opinions,” Sepulveres continued. “While I’m thrilled that the majority support us, it’s been most disconcerting to me to see comments from women who insist that we all have and will always have the same access to comprehensive healthcare, which in no way takes into account geographical location or socio-economic status and shows that they’re failing to pay attention to the GOP who quite literally keep saying repeatedly they want to take it away from us.”
And for fans of Sepulveres’ and Lugo’s work, the women are almost certain they’ll create together again in the future, but not until they’re inspired to raise awareness again.
“If I could work with Maritza daily on collaborations I would,” Sepulveres said. “We’ve done three awareness campaigns together now and I can confidently say we will do another one in the future, but we haven’t decided yet what it will be.”
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