Anyone can be a Disney fan.
I’ll never forget growing up and loving Disney and a specific Disney princess. While Hercules will always be my favorite Disney film, it was Mulan that inspired joy within me. Ironically, it wasn’t the first film that lit a fire in me, despite it being amazing, but the second film that enticed me into singing and performance.
Yes, if you didn’t know, there is a sequel to Mulan. The second film follows the heroic Disney princess on the journey to protect three other princesses attempting to protect their kingdoms (and hearts). And two songs in the movie would always get me singing and dancing. “Lesson Number One,” which expressed the physical and mental power of women and “Like Other Girls” when the princesses expressed their desire to enjoy the simple pleasures of life as women.
But no matter the power of my love for Mulan and Mulan 2, the world was not ready to embrace the idea. I remember being ridiculed and mocked for expressing my love of the film/character or for singing these songs. As a young boy, I was told that my love of Disney, and a Disney princess, was wrong.
It’s sad to say that ideas and stereotypes about how boys should be raised and how men should act still dictate our daily lives. We men are often told to be rough, tough, and unable to appreciate pretty things, whimsical content, and childhood fairytales.
But as conversations about gender norms continue and new combatants against toxic masculinity reveal themselves (and often through shaving commercials like Gillette’s or Harry’s), one artist is doing his part by simply making beautiful art. While there is no shortage of kids who grew up on the 1990s’ Disney renaissance, the artist below is getting attention for reflecting that beautiful connection between a fan and a princess.
While Marciano Palácio is known for depicting several pop culture characters in his artistic style, such as Riverdale characters, Supernatural characters, American Horror Story characters, and more, his most famous series of artworks is the “Disney Princess for All” series. The series shows that little boys, and men for that matter, can be Disney fans too. Forget what society and gender norms tell you.
Talking to Hornet, Marciano Palácio shares that he wanted to represent the men who grew up loving Disney and the Disney princesses as well as speak to the little boys who are doing the same today.
“In 2016, I made an illustration of Princess Jasmine meeting a little girl. It was like she was facing a younger version of herself in that little girl, and I liked it! As I have a huge amount of female followers, I wanted them to see their own younger selves in this little girl, but also, as a little boy who loved Disney princesses, and as a man who still loves these characters, I started to think what it would be like to draw these Disney princesses meeting little fan boys, representing other guys like me.”
“It was really great, because after I posted it, I saw that other male artists started to draw little versions of them finding the princesses. I think this is the reason we do what we do as artists — this chance to touch people, to inspire them to feel something about their life, so they can feel represented or warmed in a little place in their hearts,” he says.
“And it’s also really cool to spread the message that it’s OK for boys to feel inspired by strong female examples!” says Marciano. “Women, as with men, can be really awesome role models for everyone, no matter their age, sexual identity, race or anything else.”
And that’s a beautiful message to share. We thank Marciano Palácio for sharing that message and his art. I also hope to see much more of it and of him in the future. (And I’m crossing my fingers that Mulan’s next!)