While Donald Trump may think that a woman’s beauty is the only thing that matters, the rest of us in the 21st Century know this is bullshit. Two Argentine women in the publishing industry were fed up with that antiquated (and incorrect) notion, and especially with the way it manifests in classic children’s books that paint female protagonists as weaklings who need to be saved. How could anyone think that after seeing this professional MMA fighter beat up this guy who tried to mug her?
This unfair representation of female characters is what drove Nadia Fink to write a series of books starring what she has called anti-princesses. And better yet, she looked to real women to inspire new generations. “We wanted to break with the stereotype that a woman’s beauty is based on what she looks like, and show examples of women who had inner beauty,” Fink told BBC Mundo. “We wanted to show example of women who didn’t sit around waiting for a prince to save them. Instead, they changed their own lives.” The books are published by Sudestada y Chirimbote.
Very fittingly, Fink chose Frida Kahlo as the subject for her first book. Chilean singer and visual artist Violeta Parra was the second. Fink, who works for Sudestada magazine, worked on an assignment that gave her the opportunity to familiarize herself with the lives of Kahlo and Parra. She wanted to find a way to tell their stories to children. Both women suffered a lot and had tragic endings. Fink ended up glossing over some of these more PG-13 moments, but the book does touch on Frida’s bisexuality, as well as her art. For Parra, the book is frank about how her husband left her because she didn’t want to be a housewife, which is the opposite of the happily ever after messages found in tales about princesses.
Fink purposefully looked to parallel moments often depicted in children’s books, but engineers them to have unconventional outcomes. For example, when Parra needs an elegant dress for an event, she writes “Violeta didn’t have a fairy godmother who appeared to gift her with a superdress.” Instead, Violeta’s mother went the Scarlett O’Hara route and made her a skirt out of a curtain.
For Fink’s next book, she’s going to take on Juana Azurduy, a Bolivian military leader who spoke Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.