The students wondered how the artist put together the images, especially the 3-D quality that makes it seem like the viewer is looking into a box the doll might come in.
Four photographs by Maple show the artist dressed as a different Disney princess, being active in a realistic, modern-day setting, from Sleeping Beauty performing surgery to the Little Mermaid leading a business meeting whose coworkers can’t look her in the eye.
As a marketing major, Proehl said she could relate to the latter photo.
“I’ve felt like this, like Ariel trying to act in charge,” she said of the fairy tale character who gives up her voice and life in the sea for a prince on land. The witty images “show how women are not seen in the workplace,” Proehl said. “But in these scenes, they’re making a commotion.”
“Disney princesses have such sexist stories,” MacArthur said. “They’re always being saved. But here, they’re in charge. Maple really gets that point across.”
“Remember when we wanted to be Disney princesses?” Proehl said to MacArthur. “Not anymore!” they said, laughing.
MacArthur and Proehl wrapped up their visit and walked down the stairs from the second-floor gallery, where “Power Play” occupies the main room until the winter break. As a troupe of middle schoolers and their teachers passed them on their way up to see the exhibit, Proehl said, “I’m glad these kids are getting exposed to this art.”