Quick Hit: Disney Princesses as Cover Girls


As explained at Visual News:

Many girls dream of being princesses and many also imagine a fairy tale of their face gracing the cover of popular fashion magazines. Young artist, Tumblr user, and admitted Disney fan, Mary (Petite Tiaras) gives us a mashup of the best of both worlds by designing covers for popular fashion magazines, such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Elle, with Disney princesses as cover girls.

See there for more examples. A big fan of Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate my Daughter, I loved the uncannily accurate satire, and couldn’t help but compare some real Korean magazine covers, compiled together each month by Eiffel in Seoul:


Probably the biggest thing of note though, is the lack of Korean celebrities on any covers except Céci, which is a little disappointing. Lest the editors be accused of cultural imperialism though, Korean consumers actually tend to prefer Western models and celebrities, at least in women’s magazines.

Also, I was hoping that seasoned pop-culture commentator Alice Jeong Turnbull (5), would be more scared than drawn to them (especially that “edgy” allure cover), but instead she told me that they were “nice”. Still, I suppose that’s an improvement over the usual “pretty”!

Happy New Year’s everybody!

9 thoughts on “Quick Hit: Disney Princesses as Cover Girls

  1. Wow, those Disney covers are ingenius! The Korean ones had me confused at first, what with all the English headlines and Caucasian models. It really got me thinking about how rarely we see any other race represented on the covers of US publications, despite the idea that we are such a “melting pot” and the big cities where these publications originate are even more so.

    Also, I loved the reference to “seasoned pop-culture commentator Alice Jeong Turnbull (5)!”

    A happy new year to you and your family!


    1. I hear you about other races in US publications (let alone the covers): in Hovland, R. et.al. “Gender Role Portrayals in American and Korean Advertisements”, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research December 2005 for instance (discussed here), Asians were only 1.9% of the female models. But that was based on magazines from 2000 though, so it would be interesting to see how 2011 ones compare.

      Happy New Year to you too!


  2. James, Thanks for this post. I was trying to pinpoint the research on Korean consumers preferring Western models in your previous post, but couldn’t find it! I think the Conde Nast publications are definitely Western-heavy, probably for branding reasons. But what about home-grown publications like LemonTree, Yeoseong Donga, and Haeng Bok I Gadeukhan Jib? Don’t they usually feature a Korean celebrity or personality?


    1. Erk! I see what you mean – in hindsight, that three year-old post of mine was simply terrible sorry, and deserves rewriting again from scratch. I’ll do that this month, and in the meantime I’ve changed the link in the post to the original journal article I was discussing instead, and you can find the information you seek in that. Unfortunately the link for directly downloading it no longer seems to be working, but you can still read it at the link above at least, albeit only very slowly and awkwardly page by page sorry…

      Anybody with electronic library access, I’d really appreciate a copy!


  3. Not strictly on topic but an interesting tidbit of news just came through-


    The government has decided to support all the resources needed during a woman’s pregnancy and birth if she is 18 years old or younger.

    Predictably, many comments say stuff like: “This is basically advocating young, unmarried mothers” and basically use slippery slope arguments. Ah well.


      1. Well, basically the government gives them a sort of card, and every time the woman visits the hospital (a designated one by the government) she pays with that card. The hospital then gives back the money she spent back to her account.

        Which means that the money (about 1,200,000 won) can only be used in the hospital- for example, she cannot use it to buy, say, diapers.

        Although it is inadequate, I’d say that it’s better than doing nothing.


  4. Re: Lack of Korean models on magazine covers

    I think, the desire may be to subordinate (first capture) the foreign gaze, which holds something of both the exotic, the unattainable “outside” that is increasingly invading the nation insititutionally (and physically, through cosmetic surgery)–and thus, an occupying, oppressive element in South Korean society and culture. To play devil’s advocate. Koreans do not want to actually “BE” foreign–they know all too well the force of “belongingness” that this culture necessitates/evolves.

    Thanks for the brain-teaser~


  5. I think some of the explanation for the abundant English and equally abundant whiteness of the cover models has to do with the way the magazines are produced for the local market, too . . . for example, Vogue Korea actually has relatively local content produced by and for Koreans – it’s basically a translation of the (English) international version with a few articles and photo shoots added. The rest of the articles are straight translation.


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