Once Upon a Webcomic: A Softer World

It’s time for another “Once Upon a Webcomic.”  This one centers around another comic I adore, “A Softer World.”

First time I've ever wished for a Disney version.The alternate text of this comic on its original page is fantastic.  It reads “First time I’ve ever wished for a Disney version,” and Joey Comeau (He’s the writer of the series, but not the photographer; that would be Emily Horne.) has a great point.  Because our culture has censored so many of these old stories for modern children, we often forget that fairy tales are almost never truly happy stories, and it is only ever through great hardship that characters are sometimes (but not always) able to find their happy endings.

Take, for instance, the familiar story of Rapunzel.  In its original version, Dame Gothel (the witch) cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and casts her out into the wilderness upon discovering that Rapunzel is pregnant and must have been consorting with a man.  When the prince comes for Rapunzel, the witch tells him that he will never see her again.  In despair, he attempts to commit suicide by leaping from the tower, but instead blinds himself when he lands face first in the thorns below.  Confused, disoriented, and in pain, he wanders off into the wilderness.  Rapunzel gives birth and eventually finds the prince.  Her tears heal his blindness and they live happily ever after.  Of course, this happy ending is only achieved after the couple has experienced great trauma and misfortune.

In many cases, fairy tales are darker than our culture seems to remember.  Like Comeau, I always find it interesting when people express a desire for a “fairy tale” romance, because it reveals, as he points out, that they have probably never read any actual fairy tales.

Bizarre Disney Princess Wedding Gown

I am getting married this June.  That being said, I understand why a woman would want to look like a princess on her wedding day.  Childhood fairy tales tell us that princesses are usually beautiful and kind, and the Disney versions suggest they always get their happy endings.   With this in mind, it makes sense that Alfred Angelo, the designer who created my wedding gown, has teamed up with Disney to fashion a line of Disney Princess inspired wedding dresses.  In this collection, each gown is modeled after a specific princess.

Most of the gowns are lovely.  One of them, however, has some confusing associations.

Most of the princesses included in the line make sense.  Even in the original versions of their tales (or, in the case of Tiana, the story that inspired her tale) all of them got their happy endings.  Yes, there was some violence; for example, Cinderella’s stepsisters got their toes chopped off.  One of these princesses, however, is not like the others: The Little Mermaid.

In the original Hans Christian Andersen version of this story, the princess many of us know as Ariel has anything but a happy ending.  In fact, she fails to win the love of the prince and dies.  I am aware that the dresses are specifically based on the Disney versions of these tales, but the connotations from the original story still exist.  Do so few people know the original version that they actually want to look like the Little Mermaid on the day they get married?  If they do know the story, why do they want to look like someone who is unloved and dead?  Frankly, I’m a little shocked and a lot confused.

Despite this, many of the dresses are lovely and not bewildering.  Click here to see the full collection.

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